Conophytum fraternum (N.E.Br.) N.E.Br.
Conophytum praecox, Mesembryanthemum fraternum
This species is native to South Africa. It occurs in shaded cracks and crevices on quartz in the Northern Cape province.
Conophytum fraternum is a dwarf succulent with pair of fleshy leaves fused into an inversely conical body, truncate to irregularly concave above. It produces offsets readily to form a flat clump. Bodies are up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) tall and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter. The epidermis is smooth, pale whitish-green, thickly green-spotted, and sometimes banded with red. Flowers are solitary, diurnal, long-tubed, white to pale pink, and appear in fall.
The specific epithet "fraternum (FRA-ter-num)" is the neuter form of the Latin adjective "fraternus," meaning "brotherly, fraternal."
How to Grow and Care for Conophytum fraternum
Light: This succulent needs bright light but does not like too much direct sun. To avoid sunburn, place your C. fraternum in a position to receive a few hours of full sun in cooler periods of the day. The plant stretch if it needs more light.
Soil: C. fraternum thrives best in porous soil mixes that allow water to drain away quickly. Use a commercial potting mix specially designed for growing succulents, or make your own.
Temperature: High temperatures are not a problem, but the plant can be damaged when the temperature goes below freezing. C. fraternum can withstand temperatures as low as 30 °F (-1.1 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10a to 11b, 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C).
Watering: When it goes dormant in the spring, C. fraternum requires little or no water. When it begins to grow again in the fall, it is safe to water deeply, allowing the soil to dry before between waterings. If leaves start to wrinkle during active growth, your plant needs water.
Fertilizing: This small succulent is a light feeder and does not need fertilizer unless repotted every two years.
Repotting: The best time to repot C. fraternum is at the beginning of the active growth period, but the repotting can be done almost any time while the plant is actively growing.
Propagation: This species is usually grown from seeds. Like all Conophytums, it is also easily propagated by division. The best time to divide C. fraternum is in late summer or early fall, before it begins to break dormancy or after it has flowered. Sow the seeds in fall in a pot with a well-drained soil mix.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Conophytum.
Toxicity of Conophytum taylorianum
C. fraternum is non-toxic and safe to grow around children and pets.
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