Oophytum oviforme (N.E. Br.) N.E. Br.
Conophytum mutatum, Conophytum oviforme, Mesembryanthemum oviforme, Oophytum nordenstamii
This species is native to South Africa. It occurs on quartzitic flats or slopes in Vredendal and Vanrhynsdorp in the Western Cape province.
Oophytum oviforme is a dwarf succulent that forms compact clumps of up to 20 egg-shaped bodies. It develops two leaf pairs in a season. The bodies grow up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) tall and 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter. They range in color from green to orange and purple-brown. The second leaf pair is included in the first. The basal part of the second leaf pair is membranous, without keels.
Flowers are solitary, with white to rose-pink petals, and appear in winter. Fruits are 6-locular capsules.
USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °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 how they need to be treated in cultivation.
The basics of care are simple: 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 withstand temperatures down to a 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.
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