If you saw Conophytum maughanii outdoors for the first time, you may mistake them for a green, weird looking stone. But, after reading this article you will understand the beauty of this amazing plant (not stone).
So let’s start from scratch.
What is conophytum maughanii?
Conophytum maughanii is a dwarf succulent which comprises two fleshy stone like leaves. You could spot them fused into a soft body.
That body would tend to take either a globose or short cylindrical shape. On the other hand they could grow as solitary plants.
Further chances are that they could form in small clusters as well. Conophytum maughanii are native plants in South Africa.
How do I identify a conophytum maughanii?
Conophytum maughanii is usually a soil embedded subterranean species which consists of windowed leaves.
They would usually have a solitary body. However chances are that they could form in small clusters along with a few heads too. They usually grow stemless.
However, these plant leaves could be very fat. Further you will feel they are jellylike and soft to the touch.
Those leaves would be 20 mm in width and 10-15 mm in length. They are wider than their length.
They would tend to take a cylindrical shape when you look at them sideways. Further they could tend to take a square shape also. It is your point of view.
In terms of the leaves color, it could be yellow green to pale orange. Those colors would turn into purple red during the summer season (when it reach to the dormancy).
During the spring season, the skin would become slender and start to lose its color. When the summer season arrives, these plants would go dormant.
When they are in their dormancy, you could spot them retreating to a dry papery cocoon spun from their skin.
When they are in their natural habitats, those shields act as a defensive mechanism to withstand the hot and dry weather conditions before they approach the Autumn season and start flowering.
Their Leaves would be fused with their centers. Their body could be bilobbed. When I say the body, it is each leaf pair.
One stem would have only one pair of leaves at a time. On the other hand, if we consider a regular plant, it will usually consist of one to several leaf pairs.
Conophytum maughanii plants bodies would be about 1.5 cm (0.6 inches) in height and (0.8 inches) 2 cm in width.
Conophytum maughanii plants are usually slow growing sets of plants. They would prefer to grow compact in pots for a few years. Further it is said that it is somewhat difficult to grow them as well.
One look care guide
|Botanical Name||Conophytum maughanii|
|Common Name||living pebble|
|Mature Size||1.5 cm (0.6 inches) in height and (0.8 inches) 2 cm in width.|
|Sun Exposure||Full sunlight to shade|
|Soil pH||Acidic – mildly acidic -5.6 -6.5|
|Bloom Time||Fall / Winter|
|Flower Color||pink to white blooms|
|Hardiness Zones||USDA zones, 10b-11b|
|Native Area||South Africa|
|Average price||USD 20|
How do you take care of a Conophytum take maughanii?
This is a quite hard plant to look after. Therefore you need to know what they prefer and what they are not.
In general, Conophytum maughanii plants prefer to have a bright environment. Best is to provide these plants a couple of hours of full sunlight when the weather conditions are cooler.
They would thrive in shade during the rest of the day. Keep in mind to slowly expose these plants for bright sunlight once they complete their dormancy.
Conophytum maughanii could thrive in colder temperatures. In fact, they can thrive in low temperatures such as 23 degrees Fahrenheit ( -5 degrees Celsius).
Is it cold hardy?
These plants are cold hardy until ( -5 degrees Celsius) temperatures. In fact, they could thrive in light frost conditions as well.
Conophytum maughanii plants would prefer to grow in USDA zones, 10b-11b.
You need to change the watering pattern depending on the season. Literally you should water Conophytum maughanii plants minimally in the summer season.
You may occasionally mist them during summer. You could enhance watering them during Autumn and in Winter.
That is because they could have dried up leaves from their dormancy when they reach Autumn and winter seasons.
Having said that, it is important that you let the soil become dry from the watering session before you water them again.
Conophytum maughanii’s water requirement is minimal if you overwater them there could be epidermis breaks which could ultimately lead to unsightly scars.
To elaborate further on this, I would recommend misting these plants once every fortnight during October and November.
Their flowering season would also fall during this period. Hence why you should water them once every fortnight.
On the other hand, when you are watering these plants during late spring, best is to water them once a week. Conophytum maughanii would go dormant in summer.
As such, watering them once every three to four weeks would be enough during summer.
Soil Requirement Type / pH
Just like the other succulents, you need to provide a well-draining soil mix for these plants to thrive well.
You should not let those plants be exposed to waterlogged situations at any given point of time. Ideally their potting medium should comprise with elements such as pumice, perlite or sand.
There should be a significant amount of pumice than the other two components in the soil medium.
Further sand should be ideally a mix of many sizes of particles. Usually, the basic soil mix would be a mix of 1 soil mix to 3 pumice and sand.
Avoid using any big chunks in the potting medium.
Flowering and Fragrance
Conophytum maughanii plants produce pink to white blooms. They could be broad petalled. Further they would consist of a strong scent as well.
Apart from that Conophytum maughanii plants produce a fruit which looks like a capsule.
Pot size Potting and Repotting
Ideally, their planters should have a depth of 1-1.5 inches. Further their pots should have enough draining holes as well.
Unless it would create waterlogged conditions in the pots. Moreover, you should ideally use a pot which has a bigger width than its depth.
That is simply because these plants do not grow deeply. Instead, they would tend to grow horizontally.
In terms of repotting, best would be to conduct repotting in the summer season. Ideally it has to be later part of the summer season since by then only, they complete their resting period and start growing again.
When you finish transplanting, they will resume growing. Keep in mind that you need to avoid repotting them on a frequent basis, knowing the fact that they are anyway slow growing sets of plants.
These plants would thrive well in the same pot for several years. Further, if you grow these plants in larger pots, their flowering would be less compared to when you grow them compactly.
Where to Plant
You need to place them somewhere where they get bright sunlight but not intense sunlight. Ideally, you need to expose them for a couple of hours of full sunlight during morning hours.
Further you need to grow them in a porous growing medium which would drain away faster.
Fertilizer and time of year
In terms of fertilizing these plants, the best is to proceed with an organic fertilizer. Avoid overfeeding them at any given point of time.
Moreover, do not fertilize them during their dormancy since that would be their resting period.
Conophytum maughanii plants go dormant during the summer season where there will be hot and dry weather conditions. They would grow well in winter rain.
Can it be toxic to pets?
Conophytum maughanii plants are nontoxic for pets. As such you do not need to have any hesitation in growing these plants if you have pets at home.
Common bugs and illnesses
You may come across pests and diseases when growing Conophytum maughanii plants.
Root rot would be the biggest issue you may encounter while growing the Conophytum maughanii. Over watering and poor drainage of the soil medium are two factors which could cause this condition.
That is why it is crucial that you water them moderately and provide them a well-draining soil mix.
If there are spots on the leaves underneath, that could be due to a pest attack. To treat them, you may remove the stains whilst using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.
Alternatively, you may wash it with mild soap and water. Further you could rinse the plant well too.
During high temperatures, chances are that pests such as red spider mite’s aphids attack these plants. As such it is important that you keep the surroundings ventilated.
Special Care tips
What is important is to provide the right sunlight level, temperature, and humidity level for them to thrive well.
Be vigilant in watering them as over watering could badly affect them. Moreover, you need to keep these plants under your observation so that you could see if there are any early signs of pest’s attacks or diseases.
How to propagate?
You could use the Conophytum maughanii plant seeds to propagate them. To briefly explain on that,
- First keep in mind that you should start the propagation process in Autumn. After that arrange a well-draining and a porous soil medium.
- Next, you could prepare a planter which is more like a pan since these plants have shallow roots.
- You could place the seeds in the soil layer next.
- Once you place them, you need to gently press them down without making them sink in the pot. To do this, you could use a flat word or even paper.
- You may start watering them lightly at this point.
- Always keep the pot moist and closed whilst the germination occurs.
- Germination would take place within a couple of week’s time.
- You should not expose these specimens for intense temperatures.
- They would thrive in temperatures between 15º C (59º F) and 20º C (68º F) during daytime.
- On the other hand, they would prefer to have a temperature range from 5º C (41º F) to 10º C (50º F) during nighttime.
- When the germination is over, you could slowly accustom the specimen to the air.
Conophytum maughanii plant benefits
You could use these plants for dish gardens. In addition to that they could be great picks as ornamental plants as well. Not only that but also, you could grow them in rockeries .
How often do you water conophytum maughanii?
You need to water these plants minimally during summer. An occasional misting would be enough during summer. However, when they are in their growing periods, you need to enhance watering them.
Should I mist my conophytum maughanii?
You could mist the Conophytum maughanii lightly once every fortnight during hot and dry weather conditions. However if the plant is in a humid climate, avoid misting them.