Pleiospilos compactus Schwantes
Mimicry Plant, Split Rock, Stone Plant
Mesembryanthemum compactum, Pleiospilos compactus subsp. compactus, Punctillaria compacta
The specific epithet "compactus (kom-PAK-tus)" means "compact" and refers to the compact growth habit of this species.
Pleiospilos compactus is native to South Africa. It grows on shale slopes in Great Karoo and Little Karoo.
Pleiospilos compactus is a small succulent with 1 to 3 branches that bear leaf pairs fused at the base. The leaves are variable in shape, more than twice as long as broad, becoming broader towards the apex, measuring up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long and 1.2 inches (3 cm) wide. They are grayish-green and covered with dark green dots.
The solitary flowers are yellow and appear from summer to fall. The fruits are capsules with 9 to 15 locules and mainly with a persistent stalk.
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 that are not especially large and sometimes very small and affects the way they need to be treated in cultivation.
The care basics are simple: 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' adaptability and follow their growth habits in your particular conditions.
These plants require a loam-based compost with 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 the freezing point. Some Mesembs 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.
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