Tylecodon paniculatus (L.f.) Toelken
Butter Bush, Butter Tree
This species is native to South Africa and Namibia.
Tylecodon paniculatus is a robust succulent shrub with a caudiciform trunk, usually well-branched and up to 8.2 feet (2.5 m) tall. It is the largest species in the genus. The thick fleshy main trank is green with attractive yellow peeling bark and up to 16 inches (40 cm) in diameter. Young branches are fleshy brittle with greyish-green bark. Leaves are grass-green and clustered around the apex of the growing tip during the winter. They are elliptic, up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) long, and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) wide. Flowers are tubular, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long, orange-yellow to red, and borne in upright racemes in late spring to mid-summer, just as the leaves turn yellow and drop off.
The specific epithet "paniculatus (pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tus)" is a New Latin adjective derived from the Latin "pānicula," meaning "tuft." It means "having tufts" or "tufted" and refers to the branched inflorescences.
How to Grow and Care for Tylecodon paniculatus
Light: This succulent can survive direct sunlight exposure without any problems, but it will grow beautifully in partial shade.
Soil: A well-draining soil mix is a key to healthy T. paniculatus. Poor drainage and overwatering most commonly cause root rot in both indoor and outdoor plants. Indoors, it is essential to use pots with at least one drainage hole at the bottom.
Hardiness: Like all Tylecodons, this succulent is extremely tolerant when it comes to high temperatures and also tolerant of cold, frost-free conditions during the winter. T. paniculatus can withstand temperatures as low as 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b.
Watering: As a winter grower, T. paniculatus requires careful watering during winter and spring. Get the soil wet, and then wait until it is dry before watering again. In summer, reduce watering to once per month.
Fertilizing: Use liquid fertilizer for cacti and other succulents during the winter months.
Repotting: You do not need to repot this plant often. You can do it when you see that the container becomes too small or shallow.
Propagation: T. paniculatus can be cultivated either by seed or by cuttings. Sow the seeds in fall and winter. The best time for taking cuttings is the fall.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Tylecodon.
Toxicity of Tylecodon paniculatus
T. paniculatus is poisonous to livestock. It is reported to cause krimpsiekte, also known as cotyledonosis or nenta, in sheep and goats. Keep it away from children and pets.
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