Monsonia vanderietiae (L.Bolus) F.Albers
Bushman's Candle, Candle Bush
Monsonia vanderietiae, also known as Sarcocaulon vanderietiae, is a low-growing succulent shrublet with spiny stems branching repeatedly from 0.4 to 1.2 inches (1 to 3 cm) above ground level. It can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall and 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. The branches are olive green to dark grey, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter, with rows of short, solitary, straight spines. The leaves are green, broadly obovate to heart-shaped, up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long and 0.3 inches (0.8 cm) wide. They grow solitary or tufted in the axils of the spines.
The flowers are up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long and 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) in diameter, with pale pink to white petals suffused pink. Flowering usually occurs in summer.
Monsonia vanderietiae is native to South Africa. It occurs between the Sundays River and the Great Fish River in the Eastern Cape province.
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 out 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 while in 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 seeds and is long-lived.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Monsonia.
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