Sunday, March 27, 2016

Spring update on Conophytums (13 pics)

Conophytums are still relatively new to me and the yearly life cycle a mystery. The thing with growing in winter is confusing and the best way to find out what to do with them as a grower is careful observation. These days I know they are about to go to sleep and I haven't watered them since probably February to indicate to them they should save resources. However, the reaction as it should be is what looks like slowly withering and dying. And so, when I see them do what I actually wanted them to do I have mixed feelings. "Is it getting mushy because it's about to dry off the old leaves or is it because it's rotting?" With some of them, I guess, we'll find out in September. Others kinda let you peek inside or are translucent enough to see the fresh new leaves growing underneath. I've been watching them closely and the whole mushiness is actually welcome. This is how it goes. The plant gets a bit wrinkly (stage 1), then soft to the touch, like there's jelly inside (stage 2), then the tips (if the plant has those) get transparent or the color turns from green to yellow (stage 3) and after that the old leaves quickly turn to dried skins wrapped around the new leaves (stage 4). The last stage happens within a day or two, it seems. I don't have that many plants to gather sufficient data. These are just observations with what I have. But I hope it'll help me with watering timing next year. I already see that I should have stopped watering some of them earlier as the process takes them longer. 

Here is stage 4 on Conophytum angelicae ssp. tetragonum. I've got scared and pulled apart one of the heads to see if there's something inside. There is. No worries then.

Here is Conophytum fulleri nearing stage 4. It went like green→wrinkly→yellow→dry.

No idea how well it goes with Conophytum pellucidum ssp. cupreatum v. terrestre.

Conophytum minusculum also looks like it's about to die. We'll know whether it's normal or not in the fall.

Conophytum ectypum ssp sulcatum with white leaf tips. Some of them already drying.

Some wrinkliness and discoloration on Conophytum uviforme ssp. uviforme...

... as well as Conophytum uviforme ssp. decoratum.

Wrinkles and thinning of old leaves on Conophytum ricardianum.

Conophytum bilobum 'christiansenium' - stage 1.

Conophytum khamiesbergense - stage 1.

Conophytum meyeri 'Leopardium' - stage 2, jelly-like.

Conophytum pellucidum v. pellucidum 'pardicolor' ex. de Boer - stage 3.

I'll be growing more Conophytums in the future. The plants are really interesting and exotic and do well on the windowsill.


  1. I find Conophytums prone to scorch in the Spring and give mine shade.

    1. I guess it would be like this in a greenhouse. On the windowsill scorching sun is rare enough. Or any kind of sun...

  2. Hi, just bought some conophytums and this post is really helpfull. I have to hold my self, because i'm tempted to water them.

    1. Growing mesembs in general is an exercise in restraint when it comes to watering :D Have fun with your new plants!