Pleiospilos nelii Schwantes
Split Rock, Cleft Stone, Mimicry Plant
Pleiospilos pedunculatus, Pleiospilos tricolor
Pleiospilos nelii is a perennial succulent up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) tall and up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. This stemless plant has 2 or 4, opposite, almost hemispherical, grey-green or brownish leaves. They have a deep fissure in the middle and many small, dark spots on the surface. A new pair of leaves is produced each year. The daisy-like flowers are yellow-orange, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter and emerge from the center of the leaves. They are large in relation to the size of the plant. The flowers bloom in the afternoon and close at sunset. The flowering period extends from early spring to mid-summer.
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 the 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.
Pleiospilos nelii is native to South Africa.
- Back to genus Pleiospilos
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