Cotyledon tomentosa subsp. ladismithiensis (Poelln.) Toelken
Cotyledon ladismithiensis, Cotyledon ladysmithensis, Cotyledon heterophylla, Cotyledon tomentosa subsp. ladysmithiensis
This species is native to South Africa. It occurs in Ladismith and surrounding areas in the Little Karoo region in Western Cape, from Calitzdorp to Ladismith and from Laingsburg to Warmwaterberg and Muiskraalkop, growing on lower gravelly slopes in sheltered ravines.
Cotyledon tomentosa subsp. ladismithiensis is a succulent shrublet with hairy, branched, spreading branches and plump, fuzzy, slightly flattened to almost cylindrical leaves variable in hairiness and with only 1 to 3 teeth. It grows up to 12 inches (30cm) tall and is usually less branched than Cotyledon tomentosa subsp. tomentosa. The lower branches are rigid with brown peeling bark. Leaves are up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. More numerous small teeth may appear on the leaves at first, but these seem to disappear as they mature. Flowers are bell-shaped to urn-shaped with five fused petals, orange to reddish, and appear in clusters on up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall stalks in winter and spring.
The specific epithet "ladismithiensis (lad-ee-SMITH-ee-EN-sis)" means "of or from Ladismith" and refers to Ladismith, a town and agricultural center in the western Little Karoo region of South Africa.
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 they rarely receive direct sunlight. Outdoors, plant them in slightly sandy, well-drained soil where water doesn't 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 draining the pot. Bear's Paw only requires enough water in winter, so the soil doesn't dry completely, and the plants don't 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).
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