Pleiospilos nelii or Split Rock is a clump forming, stemless, perennial succulent native to South Africa. The opposite globe shaped leaves are dark grey-green with many conspicuous raised dark dots. Leaves will reach up to 2 inches (5 cm) long and wide. They are very easy to grow and very showy when in flower. The plants are hardy down to 23°F (-5°C).
Blooming: In the greenhouse, our plants bloom in early spring after the winter dormancy period. The daisy-like flowers are up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) across.
Culture: Pleiospilos nelii need full sun to light shade with a very well-drained soil mix. The container should be at least 5 inches (12.7 cm) deep to accommodate the long tap root. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 1 part loam to 2 parts coarse sand with small pebbles added to ensure good drainage. Very little water is needed during the growing season, and we do not fertilize the plants. In late summer to early fall before nighttime temperatures fall, watering of the plants is stepped up to once a week. When the nighttime temperatures drop to 48°F (9°C), watering is restricted throughout the winter months. If the plants get too much water during this period they will rot.
Propagation: Pleiospilos nelii is propagated by division in early spring before new growth starts. One should not divide clumps too often because they bloom best when crowded.
Pleiospilos nelii was featured as Plant of the Week January 19-25, 2007.
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.