Conophytum: Home Care, Propagation, Transplantation

From among the many succulent plants, those that look like pebbles stand out. They are called so among the people - "living stones". Scientifically they are called conophytums . They are native to stony deserts located in southern Africa.

Genus conophytum belongs to the family Aisoaceae.

Their distinctive feature is the above-ground part represented by 2 fleshy fused leaves. They have a heart-shaped shape, or similar to a knobby ball, or presented in the form of a truncated cone with rounded edges. The short stem is in the soil. The color of such leaves can be blue, green or brown, and small spots may be present on their surface. This allows the plant to practically blend in with the numerous stones among which it prefers to grow.

The conophytum's flowering is unusually beautiful. It begins almost simultaneously with the period of active growth. Flowers are rather large, have a rich color, and the form resembles a daisy or a funnel.

This plant has a clear life cycle associated with a period of rest and vegetation, which fall just at the time when in the home of the flower is observed time of rain and drought. These periods may not vary much from species to species.

However, for most species, the growing season is winter and the dormant period is from the beginning of the spring to the beginning of the fall months or from the end of the winter to the middle of the summer days.

This plant has an unusual feature, namely, young leaves grow inside old leaves. At the same time, the old leaves dry out over time and become increasingly thin. And they are a kind of protection for the young leaves.

Care for conophytum at home

Conophytum: home care, propagation, transplantation

Temperature regime and light

This plant will normally grow and develop in a dry and cool (10 to 18 degrees) room, in which there must be quite good ventilation.

Lighting prefers diffused lighting. Do not allow the conophytum to overheat. It also needs to be protected from direct sunlight, due to which burns can appear on the surface of the leaves, especially for young specimens. Young plants should gradually be accustomed to sunlight.

Earth mixture

Suitable soil should always be loose.

So, to prepare a soil mixture, you should combine river sand, leaf humus and red clay, taken in a ratio of 2:2:1. For planting will do and purchased soil mixture, designed for succulents and cacti. We must remember that peat mixtures cannot be used for planting.

Feeding

Feeding is relatively rare, usually 1 or 2 times in 12 months. Potash fertilizer with not much nitrogen is suitable.

Take ½ of the recommended dose. Newly transplanted plants should not be given any fertilizer.

Conophytum: home care, propagation, transplantation

How to water

Pour the "living stones" through the tray, making sure not to let the liquid get on the leaf surface. Sometimes spraying is carried out. But in this case it is necessary that the flower was as if enveloped in a mist, and no water droplets appeared on the leaves.

Dormancy period

When growing conophytum you should not forget about its life cycle. So, you should stop watering completely for the resting period. Again, watering should be started after the onset of a period of active growth. So, at this time, a new leaf should appear from the old dried leaf. The plant also blossoms during this period.

In different species it lasts from June to September.

In the autumn period watering should be carried out once every 7 days, and in winter - once every 4 weeks is enough. Slightly increase the frequency of watering at the end of the active growth period (February-March). At this time, new leaves begin to form within the old leaves.

Leaves should become faded and shrunken, and this is a quite natural process.

Perfect transplanting

Conophytum: home care, propagation, transplantation

Frequently transplanting such plants should not be done. As a rule, transplanting is done once every 2 to 4 years. Repotting can be done regardless of the time of year, but the best time for this procedure is the end of the dormancy period. Before transplanting, the conophytum should not be watered. From its root system you need to remove all the old soil, and if you want, you can wash it.

Low and not wide containers are suitable for planting. It is important to make a good drainage layer of expanded clay at least 1.5 centimeters high at the bottom. After transplanting, the first watering is done after half a month and the fertilizing should be stopped for a while.

These plants are long-lived.

Thus, they can live from 10 to 15 years. However, as they grow older, they grow apart. Their stem becomes longer, making conophytums lose their spectacular appearance.

Transplantation methods

Conophytum: home care, propagation, transplantation

To propagate such a plant you can cuttings as well as seeds.

To propagate by cuttings, you must carefully cut off a leaf with part of the stem and plant it in the soil for rooting.

The first watering is done only 3 weeks after planting, during this time the cuttings should grow roots. Some experienced growers recommend leaving the cuttings in the open air to dry for 1-2 days. Then the cuttings are treated with heteroauxin powder or colloidal sulfur.

Seed propagation is more complicated. This plant is cross-pollinated.

The seeds are small and take a very long time to mature, about 12 months. The plucked fruits with the seeds inside are placed in a cool, dark place. Soak them for a few hours before sowing.

Sow them at the beginning of the active growth period in the autumn. They are placed on the surface of moistened soil, and covered with sand on top.

It is recommended to cover the container with foil. Until the first shoots appear, the substrate should always be slightly damp.

Germinate seeds best in a cool environment, but they need to ensure a variation in daily temperatures. So, it should be 17-20 degrees during the day and not more than 10 degrees at night.

Six months after sprouting, you should remove the foil.

The plants are placed in a cool, well-ventilated place. After 12 months, the formation of the plant is completed, and the first flowering occurs in 1.5-2 years.

Pests and diseases

Rather resistant to diseases and pests. On rare occasions a worm or spider mite may settle.

Also the plant can begin to rot due to excessive moisture. Poor watering, high temperatures and a lack of nutrients negatively affect the growth and development of the "living stones".

The plant can also become rotten..

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