Conophytum stephanii Schwantes
Conophytum stephanii subsp. stephanii
This species is endemic to the Richtersveld (from Rosyntjieberg to Steinkopf) in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It occurs in shaded cracks and crevices on quartz outcrops and open quartz grit pans.
Conophytum stephanii is a dwarf succulent with bodies composed of two fleshy, almost entirely fused leaves. It grows in clusters, forming a small mound up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. Bodies are obconical, up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) tall, and up to 0.3 inches (0.8 cm) in diameter. They are grey-green to deep reddish-green and covered with long erect glassy hairs. The solitary flowers are nocturnal, strongly scented, off-white, pale yellow, pink, or maroon, and appear in fall.
The specific epithet "stephanii (ste-FAN-ee-eye)" honors the German plant collector Paul Stephan, who tended the succulent collection at the Hamburg Botanic Garden in Hamburg, Germany.
How to Grow and Care for Conophytum stephanii
Light: This succulent needs bright light but does not like too much direct sun. To avoid sunburn, place your C. stephanii 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. stephanii 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.
Hardiness: High temperatures are not a problem, but the plant can be damaged when the temperature goes below freezing. C. stephanii can withstand temperatures as low as 35 to 50 °F (1.7 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b.
Watering: When it goes dormant in the spring, C. stephanii requires little or no water. In the fall, when it will begin growing, it is safe to water deeply, allowing the soil to dry before watering again. 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 if it is repotted every two years.
Repotting: The best time to repot C. stephanii is at the beginning of the period of active growth, but repotting can be done at almost any time while the plant is actively growing.
Propagation: Like all Conophytums, this plant is easily propagated by division. It can also be grown from seeds. The best time to divide C. stephanii 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 stephanii
C. stephanii is non-toxic and safe to grow around children and pets.
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