Cotyledon is a genus of 35 succulents in the Crassulaceae family. Native to the Arabian peninsula and throughout the drier parts of Africa. In fact, 10 of its species are mostly confined to South Africa. Members of this genus are shrub-like succulents. Evergreen leaves are variable in shape, even within some species. But the flowers are very similar, apart from color. Generally, flowers are tubular and globular with brown seeds. Additionally, leaves generally grow in opposite pairs. Specifically oriented at 90º to their preceding and following pairs of leaves.
Most plants in the Cotyledon genus are poisonous if ingested. In fact, some have even been reported as being fatal in livestock and poultry. Although, some have also been used topically in traditional medicine. It should be noted, that before the 1960’s, there were about 150 species in Cotyledon. However, since then, the majority of those species have been moved to different genera.
Cotyledon succulents grow best in partial to full sun. Of course, this depends on the specific species. Indoors, they prefer bright, indirect light. Even though they enjoy plenty of sun, they should not be placed in full sun without gradual acclimation. Moreover, too much sun too soon, can result in leaf sunburn.
See Related Topic: Sunburned Succulent care! Save your dying plants
When grown in low light environments, they can become etiolated. Etiolation is basically the plant stretching toward the light. Additionally, the plant will look stretched out and not quite as attractive. However, in low light conditions, they can be grown successfully with grow lights.
Cotyledon has similar watering needs to most succulents. Deep but infrequent watering will work best. Water when soil is dry about 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) down. Overwatering may cause your succulent to rot. As with most succulents, they are quite tolerant of dry conditions. However, overly wet conditions should be avoided. Undoubtedly, a moisture meter is a great inexpensive gardening tool. Absolutely perfect for beginners or novice gardeners.
Like most succulents, they prefer well-draining soil. Succulent soil or potting soil amended with pumice or perlite is best. Whether you select a commercial potting soil mix or making your own, make sure it drains properly. Additionally, drainage holes in your pots are necessary in keeping your plants happy and healthy.
Cotyledons are not frost tolerant succulents. Of course, if you live in colder climates, be sure to bring them indoors when temperatures begin to drop. Alternatively, some varieties will tolerate hotter temperatures better than others. Specifically, keep an eye on plants in blazing temps.
Cotyledon succulents can be propagated through stem cuttings, leaves, or seeds. Of course stem cuttings are the most popular method. Growing from seed can take a long time. Additionally, they also have a lower success rate. If you want to speed up the propagation process, this can be done by leaf and stem cuttings.
Certain Cotyledons have naturally fragile leaves that fall off easily. Propagation is a great way to grow your plant collection. Once you have the process down, you can easily multiply your succulent collection.
Leaf cuttings are taken by carefully removing the leaf off of the stem. First, gently twist the leaf to ensure that you remove the entire leaf. Don’t leave any parts behind. Indeed, this will increase the chances of successful propagation. Then, after removing the leaf, let it dry out for a few days. Specifically to allow the ends to callus over. Additionally, the callus protects the cuttings from potential infection. Next, once dry, set it on top of well-draining soil. Subsequently, mist with water. Furthermore, keep the soil damp until new roots have grown in. Finally, as the leaves begin to take root, return to a regular watering schedule.
Stem cuttings follow almost the exact same process as leaf cuttings. First, take a sharp pair of scissors and cut off the top of the plant. Although, leave a few inches at the base. Sharp tools are preferred to minimize damage to the cuttings. This may be a scary experience at first. But, eventually you will be happy with the results. Finally, when removing stem cuttings, allow them to dry for three to five days before planting in soil or propagating in water. Of course this will vary depending on your climate. Water propagation is one of my favorite methods.
See Related Topic: Propagate Succulents in Water
Rooting hormone is optional. But, it may help the cuttings to grow roots more quickly. When placing stem cuttings in soil, make sure the rosette is upright. Additionally, make sure the soil is well-draining. Furthermore, you can test if your cuttings have rooted by gently pulling on it. If there is resistance, it has established some roots. Finally, the beheaded base should eventually produce new babies. In closing, follow the above suggested watering instructions for leaf cuttings.
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