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Cotyledon tomentosa (Bear's Paw)


Scientific Name

Cotyledon tomentosa Harv.

Common Names

Bear's Paw


Cotyledon tomentosa subsp. tomentosa

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Sedoideae
Genus: Cotyledon


Cotyledon tomentosa is a perennial succulent shrub, up to 20 inches (50 cm) tall, with densely branched stems. The leaves are flat, succulent, hairy, up to 1.5 inches (3.5 cm) long and with 3 to 10, often reddish teeth arranged in a neat row. There are bright green forms with yellowish hairs and grey ones with whitish hairs. The bell-shaped flowers are light yellow, orange to orange-red or pinkish and appear in spring.

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USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Bear's Paw grows in bright shaded areas where it rarely receives direct sunlight. Outdoors, plant it in slightly sandy, well-drained soil where water does not collect after rain or irrigation. Potted plants require a container with at least one bottom drainage hole. When planting Bear's Paw in containers, select pots only slightly larger than the root system.

Regular deep watering in the summer months, when the plant is actively growing, keeps the Bear's Paw healthy. Water garden plants deeply once weekly when there is no rainfall, supplying about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water. Potted plants require watering when the soil had almost completely dried. Fully drench the soil until the water drains from the bottom hole in the pot and empty the collected water after the pot finishes draining. Bear's Paw only requires enough water in winter so the soil does not dry completely and the plants do not shrivel.

Light fertilization twice monthly is only necessary during the active summer growing season. An all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer, such as a 24-8-16 blend, works well for succulent plants.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for a Bear's Paw (Cotyledon tomentosa).


Cotyledon tomentosa is native to South Africa (Cape Province).

Subspecies and Forms


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