Edithcolea grandis N. E. Br.
Persian Carpet Flower
Edithcolea grandis is a succulent with leafless, richly branched stems and attractive pale yellow flowers with red-brown spots. The stems are sharp-toothed, 4 or 5 angled, grey-green to red with brownish spots, up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter. The bisexual, hairy-margined flowers are up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) in diameter and born at the ends of the shoots. The fruit contains a large number of seeds.
USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Persian Carpet Flower is occasionally cultivated as an ornamental in desert gardens worldwide. It has gained a reputation as a particularly difficult plant to keep alive, because of its very specific growing needs with much light and relatively high, above 60 °F (15 °C), winter temperatures.
This plant requires moderately watering through the growing season, but enjoy plenty of water and some fertilizer in hot weather. This helps them to flower freely. Allow the soil to dry out before watering again. Water sparingly in winter according to temperatures.
Since roots are quite shallow, use a succulent mix or add extra perlite or pumice to regular potting soil. A gritty, very free-draining compost is suitable, and clay pots help the plants to dry out between watering.
Repot every 2 to 3 years in spring, well before the first new growth emerges.
Propagation by stem cuttings is the easiest used method. Allow cuttings to dry a day before planting. Stems must be laid (not buried) on gritty compost and will then root from the underside. It can also be grown from seeds. The seeds should be sown in spring in moist, sandy peat moss.
This plant is very susceptible to root rot at low temperatures, and mealybugs and damage from these may well initiate fungal attack. If you do have problems with a stem or with basal rotting, you can reliably isolate the healthy parts, dry them off, and reroot them in moist compost.
The stem of Persian Carpet Flower is eaten as a vegetable in Ethiopia and Somalia.
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