Cotyledon tomentosa, commonly known as Bear's Paw, is a small succulent shrub with hairy leaves and stems. The leaves have purplish-brown teeth along with the tips. The plant bears masses of long-lasting, pendulous, orange-red, bell-shaped flowers in clusters at the tip of the flowering stalks in spring.
Bear's Paw makes a good addition to a water-wise garden or rockery and is lovely in a container.
Growing Conditions and General Care
Bear's Paws grow 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 a pot only slightly larger than the root system.
When the plant is actively growing, regular deep watering in the summer months keeps the Bear's Paw healthy. Water the 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 has almost completely dried. Thoroughly 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.
The plant grown outdoors in colder regions requires overwintering indoors. Bring the pot inside before temperatures drop below freezing in the fall. The plant will overwinter with bright indirect sunlight. Avoid fertilization and overwatering during this time. Garden plants will only survive if your area does not experience a freeze. You can briefly cover plants with light mulch, such as straw, to help them survive a light frost.
Bear's Paw can propagate in several different ways. However, the easiest way is through cuttings. If propagating from seed, sow in well-draining soil in the fall. You can grow seeds outdoors if you live in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone above 9a. If you live in a cooler area, you can begin sowing indoors under a grow light.
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