Tylecodon pygmaeus (W.F.Barker) Toelken
This species is native to South Africa. It grows on quartz gravel flats northeast of Bitterfontein to between Soutrivier and Varsrivier in the Western Cape Province.
Tylecodon pygmaeus is a small succulent with an underground tuberous base that produces one, rarely few smooth erect branches with grey bark, often with dark grey striations. The tuber is smooth with pink-brown flesh and up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) in diameter. Branches are erect, up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall, and up to 0.3 inches (0.8 cm) in diameter. Leaves are disc-shaped to almost terete and club-shaped, up to 2 inches (50 cm) long and up to 2.8 inches (4.5 cm) wide, covered with shiny translucent globose to heart-shaped crystal-like hairs. They are dry at blooming. The flowers are upright, pale yellowish-green, often tinged pink, with cylindrical, up to 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) long corolla tube and arranged in a sparse glandular-pubescent inflorescence with up to 2 inches (5 cm) long peduncle. They appear in summer.
The specific epithet "pygmaeus (pig-MAY-us)" is a Latin adjective meaning "short" or "of reduced stature" and refers to the small size of the plant.
How to Grow and Care for Tylecodon pygmaeus
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. pygmaeus. 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 highly tolerant when it comes to high temperatures and also tolerant of cold, frost-free conditions during the winter. T. pygmaeus can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.
Watering: As a winter grower, T. pygmaeus 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. pygmaeus 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 pygmaeus
T. pygmaeus is adapted to avoid animal predation being poisonous. Keep it away from children, pets, and livestock.
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