Orostachys iwarenge (Makino) Hara
Chinese Dunce Cap, Dunce's Cap
Cotyledon iwarenge, Orostachys malacophylla var. iwarenge, Sedum iwarenge
Orostachys iwarenge, also known as Orostachys malacophylla var. iwarenge, is an attractive ground cover that forms cone-shaped rosettes of fleshy lavender grey leaves. The rosettes grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter and spread by short stolons, forming an up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) tall and 18 inches (45 cm) wide clump. In late summer to early fall, the rosettes are topped with up to 6 inches (15 cm) tall towers jammed with tiny, yellow to creamy-white flowers. Each flowering rosette dies away but is unnoticed among the mass of smaller rosettes.
USDA hardiness zones 4a to 8b: from −30 °F (−34.4 °C) to 20 °F (−6.7 °C).
How to Grow and Care
As with most similar genera of the Crassulaceae family, this plant can survive in fairly poor soil so long as it is well-draining. This genera is very cold-hardy and can survive temperatures of -30 °F (-34 °C). Allow soil to dry to the touch between waterings and avoid getting water on the rosettes. Orostachys actively in spring and summer. It requires some bright light and does not tolerate high humidity well.
Orostachys self-propagates through offshoots, and at a given time, one plant will form a dense mat of many. Propagation is primarily through offset separation.
To separate an offset, remove soil from the offset's base to find the stolon (thick root which attaches the pup to the mother plant). It is best to use an offset that has already established its own roots. Cut the stolon close to the pup (to discourage roots growing from the stolon). Place the offset into a small pot with well-draining, sandy soil. Do not water until new growth is noted.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Orostachys.
Contrary to its common name "Chinese Dunce Cap," this succulent originates from Japan, not China. The name refers to the tall conical shape of its fall bloom stalks.
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