Faucaria

 In Category Cactus

Family: Aizoaceae
Habitat: South Africa (Provinces of Cape and Karoo)
Cultivation: Sunny exposure, moderately high temperatures, poor watering (once every 10 days in the vegetative period): Faucaria does not need much attention to grow well.
Curiosity: The etymology of this plant derives from the Latin fauces by the similarity of the leaves (at least of some varieties) with the mouths of wild beasts: an effect given by the triangular compact form, with thorns (or teeth) along the edges. Also the names of some species take  this similarity, such as the Faucaria felina or the Faucaria tiger.

FAUCARIA KEY FEATURES

The plants of the Faucaria genus are aizoacee that appear in the form of bushes, with the leaves (mostly thick, fleshy and triangular) that gather in rosettes. They do not reach, therefore, large size but overall they are very decorative plants for the peculiarity of the shapes and for the beautiful flowers. Their roots are fleshy; generally do not have branches but can sometimes come out with age. The flowering takes place from September to November: we must not forget that these plants come from the South Africa and thus have an inverted life cycle compared to those which live above the equator. Flowers are generally yellow or orange and large in proportion to the plant; a variety, Faucaria felina presents white flowers and, in the old classifications, was called Candida Faucaria. The petals are long and extremely thin, so that the flower as a whole remembers the shape of the mesembriantem.

VARIETIES AND TYPES

Previous classifications for Faucaria had a total of 33 species: the genus has recently undergone a major revision that has reduced the current classification to only 6 species and 3 subspecies. Most of the old species have been brought into the various subspecies of the feline Faucaria.

  • Faucaria boscheana
  • F. felina
  • F. felina subsp. Britteniae
  • F. felina subsp. Felina
  • F. felina subsp. Tuberculosa
  • F. gratiae
  • F. nemorosa
  • F. subintegra
  • F. tigrina

TIPS FOR CULTIVATION

The Faucaries in general are easy to cultivate but need a slightly richer soil than the one required for the cactaceae.

These are our tips for cultivating:

  • Sunny exposure is the most recommended, although the plant lives well even under medium conditions.
  • The average temperature should be quite high and in general the plant should remain above 10 ° C. An adult and healthy exemplar could, however, survive even short frosts.
  • Watering must be scarce all year : from April to October, it can be watered once every 10 days, in winter irrigation can be less frequent.
  • The soil must be well drained and fairly balanced as components: a mixture of peat and inert materials, such as sand or lapillo, is the best choice.
  • Fertilize in spring and summer once every 15 days, however using little fertilizer.
  • Being small plants, they do not have frequent repotting needs.

Faucaria reproduces well both by seed and by cuttings. As a cuttings, fleshy leaves are in fact perfect because they root very easily. Cuttings can also be used when we realize that the plant is too old, since small plants do not have a very long life cycle; with age, in addition, the plant tends to change its appearance or to face various problems – for example, small branches may come out or roots can easily ruin.

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