Monsonia patersonii DC.
Bushman's Candle, Candle Bush, Dwarf Bushcandle
Monsonia macilenta, Sarcocaulon patersonii, Sarcocaulon rigidum
Monsonia patersonii, also known as Sarcocaulon patersonii, is a succulent shrublet with spiny, semi-erect to nearly prostrate branches with mostly straight spines often arranged in a few columns. It grows up to 20 inches (50 cm) tall. The branches are yellow-brown or olive-green to quite dark, smooth, and covered in a waxy bark. They are usually more than 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter. Leaves are grey-green to blue-green, obovate, long and short petioled, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) wide. The spines are soon dry after the leaves drop off, and old spines may also disappear. The young spines are red-brown, while the old ones are whitish or grey.
The flowers are rose, pale magenta, or purple, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and 1.3 inches (3.2 cm) in diameter, and appear in late fall and winter.
USDA hardiness zone 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Monsonia species are generally easy to cultivate. Except for Monsonia camdeboensis and Monsonia vanderietiae, they rarely produce an extensive new root system once transplanted. Transplanted specimens flower sporadically in cultivation but survive for many years.
Seed-grown plants, in contrast, thrive and flower prolifically in cultivation. The ideal cultivation medium for most species is silt collected from the sides of road culverts, to which a small amount of bone meal and some ordinary, sandy garden soil have been added. Seeds should be sown just under the surface of the soil in large seed trays. They should be planted into individual containers when they are about two years old.
All Monsonia species require direct sunlight when in full growth. Seedlings need to be regularly watered during active growth and occasionally during dormancy.
Monsonia salmoniflora has a good deal of potential for the landscaping trade. The species is easily and relatively quickly grown from seed and is long-lived.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Monsonia.
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