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Pleiospilos compactus (Mimicry Plant)

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Scientific Name

Pleiospilos compactus Schwantes

Common Names

Mimicry Plant, Split Rock, Stone Plant

Synonyms

Pleiospilos compactus subsp. compactus, Pleiospilos longibracteatus, Pleiospilos optatus, Punctillaria optata

Scientific Classification

Family: Aizoaceae
Subfamily: Ruschioideae
Tribe: Ruschieae
Genus: Pleiospilos

Description

Pleiospilos compactus is a perennial succulent that grows with 1 to 3 leaf-pairs and may form small mats. The leaves are very variable in shape, up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide, usually grayish-green but covered with dark green dots. The flowers are mostly solitary, usually stalkless, yellow, pale yellow or pink and appear from summer to fall.

Photo via flickr.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Mesembs are mostly adapted to relatively predictable rainfall patterns rather than extreme drought and irregular rainfall. Total rainfall may be extremely low, but water is available at least seasonally or through fog and condensation. This leads to or allows plants which are not especially large and sometimes very small, and affects the way they need to be treated in cultivation.

The basics of care are very simple, with free-draining soil, plenty of sun and ventilation, and regular light watering in the right season. Yet the difficulties are endless, trying to adapt to the Mesembs' own adaptability and to follow their growth habits in your particular conditions.

These plants require a loam-based compost with the addition of extra drainage material such as horticultural grit or perlite. They all like good light conditions and plenty of ventilation.

Some are relatively cold-hardy and can even survive mild winters outside. Most will survive temperatures down to freezing point. There are some Mesembs which begin to grow in the fall as the temperature drops and the days get shorter.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Mesembs.

Origin

Pleiospilos compactus is native to Cape Province, South Africa.

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