Muiria hortenseae N.E. Br.
Mouse Head, Mouse Head Mesemb, Schmoo Plant
Muiria hortenseae is a dwarf compact succulent with several short branches, each with a pair of leaves almost entirely fused into one spherical to egg-shaped body. The leaves are covered in long thin hair. The bodies turn into a drying sheath towards the summer, enclosing the new developing body inside. After several generations of subdivisions, the plant can form a clump of bodies. Flowers are solitary, white or pale pink and appear in late spring and early summer from the tiny slit at the top of the body. They open during the day. The base of the flower turns into a 5-loculed capsule with brown seeds.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Mesembs are mostly adapted to relatively predictable rainfall patterns rather than extreme drought and irregular rainfall. Total rainfall may be extremely low, but water is available at least seasonally or through fog and condensation. This leads to or allows plants that are not especially large and sometimes very small and affects the way they need to be treated in cultivation.
The basics of care are very simple, with free-draining soil, plenty of sun and ventilation, and regular light watering in the right season. Yet the difficulties are endless, trying to adapt to the Mesembs' adaptability and follow their growth habits in your particular conditions.
These plants require a loam-based compost with extra drainage material such as horticultural grit or perlite. They all like good light conditions and plenty of ventilation.
Some are relatively cold-hardy and can even survive mild winters outside. Most will survive temperatures down to the freezing point. Some Mesembs begin to grow in the fall as the temperature drops and the days get shorter.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mesembs.
This species is endemic to a very small area in the Little Karoo, Western Cape, South Africa.
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