Cotyledon orbiculata is a succulent shrub native to South Africa. The gray-green, opposite leaves with red margins and a powdery bloom will reach up to 5 inches (13 cm) long by about half as wide. In nature and containers, the plants will reach approximately 4 feet (1.3 m) in height. They are very easy to culture and they are hardy in USDA zones 10-12.
Blooming Time: In summer, clusters of orange, bell-shaped, drooping flowers form on 2-foot (60 cm) stalks. Individual flowers are about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length.
Culture: Cotyledon orbiculata need full sun to light shade with a well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we grow them under 25% shade and use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts sand or perlite. To this mix, we add small gravel to increase drainage. During the spring and summer, the plants are watered well, but are allowed to dry thoroughly between watering. We fertilize the plants only once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter months, the temperatures are dropped to 50° F (10°C) and watered only enough to keep the leaves from shriveling.
Propagation: Cotyledon orbiculata is easily propagated from cuttings in spring.
Cotyledon orbiculata was featured as Plant of the Week June 13-19, 2003.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.