Pleiospilos bolusii (Hook.fil.) N.E.Br.
African Living Rock, Living Rock Cactus, Mimicry Plant
Mesembryanthemum bolusii, Pleiospilos barbarae, Pleiospilos beaufortensis
Pleiospilos bolusii is a small succulent with two or four opposite, quite thick, almost triangular leaves fused at the base. It grows up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) tall and up to 6 inches (15 cm) wide, solitary or forming a small clump. Leaves are grey-green with many small dark spots. A new pair of leaves is produced each year, replacing an older one.
The yellow flowers are daisy-like, up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) in diameter, often coconut-scented, and appear solitary or in groups of up to 3 from the center of the leaves in late winter and early spring. They open in the afternoon and close at sunset over a bloom period of several days.
This species is similar to Pleiospilos nelii but has longer and more angular leaves and yellow instead of yellow-orange flowers.
Pleiospilos bolusii is native to South Africa. It occurs from Willowmore and Aberdeen in Eastern Cape to Beaufort West in Western Cape, growing in quartz flats in karroid shrubland at elevations between 2,460 and 3,610 feet (750 and 1,100 m).
How to Grow and Care for Pleiospilos bolusii
Light: This succulent needs bright light but does not like too much direct sun. A sunny windowsill where the plant receives 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight during the early part of the day and partial shade during the afternoon is the perfect spot to grow your P. bolusii indoors.
Soil: P. bolusii thrives best in porous soil mixes that allow water to drain away quickly. Use commercial potting mixes specially designed for growing succulents, or make your own.
Temperature: High temperatures are not a problem for this plant as long as there is plenty of fresh air, but it is not a cold-hardy succulent. P. bolusii can withstand temperatures as low as 25 °F (-3.9 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9b to 11b, 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C).
Watering: P. bolusii requires little or no water when it goes dormant, usually in summer. When it begins to grow again in fall, it is safe to water deeply, allowing the soil to dry before between waterings. If leaves start to wrinkle during active growth, your plant needs water.
Fertilizing: This small succulent is a light feeder and does not need fertilizer if it is repotted every two years.
Repotting: This small succulent will stay happy in the same pot for several decades. The common reason for repotting is to divide or to give the plant a larger growing space. The best time to repot P. bolusii is at the beginning of the active growth period, but the repotting can be done almost any time while the plant is actively growing.
Propagation: This species is usually started from seeds. It is also easily propagated by division. The best time to divide P. bolusii is in late summer before it begins to break dormancy. Sow the seeds in fall in a pot with a well-drained soil mix.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mesembs.
Toxicity of Pleiospilos bolusii
P. bolusii is non-toxic to humans and pets.
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