Avonia quinaria ssp.alstonii
Avonia quinaria ssp. Alstoni is a stunning dwarf perennial plant. It’s composed of a turnip-shaped, crowned rootball, with a diameter of more or less 8 centimeters, from which many white stems develop. The stems reach the height of 2-3 centimeters. As in Avonia papyracea, leaves are small and globose, and they are hidden by many silver stipules that cover the stems like scales. Flowers are generally solitary, white with tinges of pink, with a diameter of 3 centimeters (they are the most stunning flowers among the Avonia genus).
Avonia quinaria ssp.alstonii needs a bright spot, exposed to direct sunlight: it likes heat. You can use a cactus mix as a substrate, or either add perlite to a normal substrate, because Avonia quinaria ssp.alstonii needs a well-draining soil to develop correctly. Its bulb should always remain covered, with the exception of its crown. Repotting is generally not necessary, being Avonias dwarf succulents. This plant can survive until -5ºC, but, in winter, to avoid damages, it’s better to keep it indoors. Water Avonia quinaria ssp.alstonii twice a week in summer, with little water. Wait until the soil is completely dry to water again. Avoid watering in winter. Avonia quinaria ssp.alstonii can tolerate underwatering thanks to its big rootball which is a storage of water.
The propagation of Avonia quinaria ssp.alstonii is done by seeds. Sow as fresh as possible, at a temperature between 15 and 20ºC and keep them moist until they germinate.
The name of the genus Avonia comes from the Latin word “avus”, which means “grandfather”, referring to its white scales.
Avonia quinaria ssp.alstonii is particularly long-lived thanks to its rootball. Some plants found in nature can be several centuries years old! Its rootball, dried and reduced in powder, was traditionally used as a yeast to make bread.