Orostachys malacophylla (Pall.) Fisch.
Cotyledon malacophylla, Hylotelephium malacophyllum, Orostachys malacophylla var. malacophylla, Sedum malacophyllum, Sempervivum malacophyllum, Umbilicus malacophyllus
Orostachys malacophylla is a small succulent that forms rosettes of thick, fleshy, green to pale green leaves. The rosettes grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter, slowly producing offsets. Leaves are oblong, obovate, or elliptic, with a rounded tip and absent apical spine. They are up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) long and 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide.
In summer, the rosettes rise like an erupting volcano, bursting into a dense, racemose, or sometimes spike-like and branched, up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall inflorescence. Flowers have white petals, stamens conspicuously longer than the petals, and deep purplish-red anthers. The plant goes dormant in winter, losing all its aboveground foliage when grown outside, but returns in full force in spring.
Orostachys malacophylla is native to Russia (eastern Siberia), Mongolia, northern and north-eastern China, Korea, and Japan. It grows on rock crevices at elevations that range from 3,940 to 5,910 feet (1,200 to 1800 m).
The specific epithet "malacophylla (mah-lah-koh-FILL-a)" means "soft leaves" and refers to the leaves that are soft to the touch.
USDA hardiness zones 5a to 8b: from −20 °F (−28.9 °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 grow in spring and summer. It requires some bright light and does not tolerate high humidity well.
Orostachys self-propagates through offshoots; 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 (a thick root that attaches the pup to the mother plant). It is best to use an offset that has already established some roots of its own. 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.
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