Trichodiadema densum (Haw.) Schwantes
Miniature Desert Rose, African Bonsai
Mesembryanthemum densum, Psilocaulon densum
Trichodiadema densum is not a cactus but could be mistaken for one. Its leaves end in a circle of stiff hairs, giving the plant a similar appearance to some Mammillarias. It is a mat-forming, up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall succulent with thick fleshy roots, woody stems, and fleshy, green, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long leaves. Flowers are vivid carmine-pink, daisy-like, and up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. They appear from fall through spring, opening in the morning and closing later in the day.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 10b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °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 affect how 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 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.
This species is native to South Africa (Cape Province, Willowmore).
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