Pleiospilos compactus subsp. canus is a cute succulent distinguished from Pleiospilos compactus subsp. compactus by its fruits generally having 12 locules instead of 10.
Pleiospilos compactus subsp. canus (Haw.) H.Hartmann & Liede
Mimicry Plant, Split Rock, Stone Plant
Bijlia cana, Mesembryanthemum canum, Pleiospilos canus, Punctillaria cana
Pleiospilos compactus subsp. canus is a dwarf succulent with pairs of two fleshy, quite thick leaves growing opposite each other and fused at the base. It produces up to three leaf pairs per branch, forming a small clump. The lumpy leaves are gray-green with scattered dark dots and often flushed with pink. They are triangular in cross-section and can grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) long and 0.8 inches (2 cm) wide. The plant produces new leaves annually, letting the old ones dry and disappear in their own time.
During late fall and winter, the yellow flowers appear between the paired leaves on very short or no stalks. The flowers are solitary, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter, with more than 80 narrowly paddle-shaped petals, sometimes white near the base. They open only in the afternoon. Once the flowers start to wither, their color changes to orange. The fruits are usually 12-locular capsules that contain ovoid dark brown seeds.
Pleiospilos compactus subsp. canus is native to South Africa. This subspecies occurs in barren stony slopes and outcrops in the Great Karoo from Calvinia in Northern Cape to the Little Karoo in Western Cape and eastwards into semi-arid parts of the Eastern Cape. However, some records place this plant in the Bloemfontein area in the Free State province.
The subspecific epithet "canus (KAN-us) means "white, hoary" and possibly refers to the pale leaves of the plant, often more creamy grey than gray-green.
How to Grow and Care for Pleiospilos compactus subsp. canus
Light: This succulent requires bright light but not too much direct sunlight. So, a windowsill that receives 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight in the morning and partial shade in the afternoon will be a perfect spot for indoor growing.
Soil: Pleiospilos compactus subsp. canus thrives in porous soil that allows water to drain away quickly. Therefore, use commercial soil for succulents or make your own well-draining mix.
Temperature: High temperatures are not a problem as long as there is plenty of fresh air, but this plant is not cold-hardy. It grows best in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9b to 11b, with average minimum winter temperatures ranging from 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C).
Watering: In order to keep your plant healthy, it is most important to know when, how much, and how often to water. During the dormant period, usually in summer, Pleiospilos compactus subsp. canus requires little or no water. In the fall, once it grows again, water thoroughly but allow the soil to dry between waterings.
Fertilizing: As long as you repot this plant every two years, it does not need fertilizer.
Repotting: Even if it can stay happy in the same pot for years, once in a while, you can repot your plant to give it more space anytime during the growing season. However, the best time is at the beginning of the growing season.
Propagation: Although it is usually started from seeds, Pleiospilos compactus subsp. canus can also be easily propagated by division. Late summer, just before it begins to break dormancy, is the best time to divide the plant, while the fall is ideal for sowing the seeds.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mesembs.
Toxicity of Pleiospilos compactus subsp. canus
Pleiospilos compactus subsp. canus is considered non-toxic, so having it around kids and pets is safe.
- Back to genus Pleiospilos
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
Click on a photo to see a larger version.