Orostachys spinosa (L.) Sweet
Chinese Dunce Cap, Dunce Cap, Dunce's Caps, Spiny Dunce's Cap, Spiny Pennywort
Cotyledon spinosa, Cotyledon erubescens, Crassula spinosa, Orostachys erubescens, Sedum erubescens, Sedum spinosum, Umbilicus erubescens, Umbilicus spinosus
Orostachys spinosa is a small, slow-growing succulent that forms rosettes of thick fleshy grey-green leaves with soft white spiny tips. The rosettes grow up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. Leaves are arranged in a crowded symmetrical pattern. They usually curve inwards, but the longer outer leaves sometimes open, giving a sunflower-like effect. The cauline leaves and bracts are narrowly oblong to linear or linear-lanceolate, up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long and up to 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) wide. The flowering stem is up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall and produced from the center of the rosettes. The tiny flowers are greenish-yellow and appear in dense cylindrical, up to 8 inches (20 cm) long racemes. This succulent is monocarpic, and the rosette dies once it flowers, but new offsets are usually developed first.
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 to -30 °F (-34 °C). Allow soil to dry to the touch between waterings and avoid getting water on the rosettes. Orostachys plants grow actively in spring and summer. They require some bright light and do not tolerate high humidity well.
Orostachys self-propagates through offshoots and at a given time. Thus, 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 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.
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