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Tacitus bellus (Chihuahua Flower)

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Scientific Name

Tacitus bellus Moran & Meyrán

Common Names

Chihuahua Flower

Synonyms

Graptopetalum bellum

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Sedoideae
Genus: Tacitus

Description

Tacitus bellus, also known as Graptopetalum bellum, is a small, perennial succulent, slowly spreading by offsets and up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall. The rosettes are up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter, composed of dull grey or bronze leaves. They are approximately triangular and up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long. The flowers are star-shaped, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) across, deep pink to red and appear at the top of up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, branched inflorescence.

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Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

The rules for Graptopetalums care are similar to those for most succulents. All require lots of sun to look their best. They require gritty, porous soil with excellent drainage. Water regularly over the summer months, letting the soil dry out between waterings. Minimal water is required over winter. Overwatering is a cause of root rots and the plant can get several pest infestations. Fertilize once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/4 strength.

Graptopetalums are generally easy to propagate, by seeds, leaf cuttings or offsets. Any rosette that breaks off has the potential to root and start a new plant. Even a leaf that drops off will root below the parent plant and produce a new rosette quickly. The new plant feeds off the leaf until it shrivels up and falls off. By then the new little plant has rooted and sprouted new leaves.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Graptopetalum.

Origin

Tacitus bellus is native to Mexico (Chihuahua). It was found by Alfred Lau in 1972 and described by Moran & Meyrán in 1974. 5 years later D. R. Hunt transferred T. bellus to Graptopetalum bellum. According to Prof. Charles Uhl, when the authors include Tacitus in Graptopetalum they hopelessly muddle the already complicated classification of the Mexican species. His advice is to keep this plant in a genus of its own, Tacitus.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

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