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Conophytum velutinum

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Scientific Name

Conophytum velutinum Schwantes

Synonym(s)

Conophytum craterulum, Conophytum tischeri, Conophytum velutinum var. craterulum, Conophytum velutinum var. velutinum, Derenbergia velutina

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Ruschioideae
Tribe: Ruschieae
Genus: Conophytum

Origin

This species is native to South Africa (only known from a few hillsides near Komaggas).

Description

Conophytum velutinum is a dwarf succulent with bodies of two fleshy grayish-green leaves with a velvety texture. It produces many bodies densely clustered in a small mound. Leaves are almost entirely fused and usually have dark green spots. Bodies are heart-shaped in side view, with keeled or rounded tips, up to 1 inch (205 cm) tall and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter. Flowers are diurnal, pale purple to magenta, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, and appear in fall.

C. velutinum is very similar in appearance to Conophytum cordatum.

Etymology

The specific epithet "velutinum (vel-oo-TEE-num)" is an inflected form of the Latin adjective "velutinus," meaning "velvety," and refers to the texture of the leaves.

Conophytum velutinum

Photo by Janine Hairan

How to Grow and Care for Conophytum velutinum

Light: This succulent needs bright light but does not like too much direct sun. To avoid sunburn, place your C. velutinum 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. velutinum thrives best in porous soil mixes that allow water to drains away quickly. Use a commercial potting mix specially designed for growing succulents or make your own.

Hardiness: High temperatures are not a problem for this plant, but it can be damaged when the temperature goes below freezing. C. velutinum can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.

Watering: When it goes dormant in the spring, C. velutinum 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. During active growth, if leaves start to wrinkle, your plant needs water.

Fertilizing: This small succulent is a light feeder, and it does not need fertilizer unless it is repotted every two years.

Repotting: The best time to repot C. velutinum 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. velutinum 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 velutinum

C. velutinum is non-toxic and safe to grow around children and pets.

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