Conophytum persii


Conophytum persii is considered by some authours a synonym of Conophytum truncatum. Here below are other synonyms:

Conophytum albertense
Conophytum brevitubum
Conophytum cibdelum
Conophytum morganii
Conophytum multipunctatum
Conophytum orientale
Conophytum parvipunctum
Conophytum peersii
Conophytum peersii var. multipunctatum
Conophytum purpusii
Conophytum renniei
Conophytum spirale
Conophytum stegmannianum
Conophytum steytlervillense
Conophytum subglobosum
Conophytum translucens
Conophytum truncatellum
Conophytum truncatum var. truncatum
Conophytum wagnerianum
Conophytum wagneriorum
Mesembryanthemum albertense
Mesembryanthemum purpusii
Mesembryanthemum truncatum


Conophytum peersii is native to South Africa, where it inhabits extremely dry areas and grows in rock crevices, shale and quartzite. They are usually found on east, west, or south-facing slopes: north-facing slopes are too hot. They have this typical, pebble-shaped habit, that makes them adapted to grow on rocks, where they don’t have to compete with other plants for water, light and space. For this habit, they are called “obligate rock dwellers”. They would’t be able in fact to survive in a normal habitat, where the competition with other plants would kill them.


Conophytum persii is a dwarf succulent, barely coming out of the soil. It is extremely slow-growing and looks like pebbles. Its consists in smally, oval bodies, greenish-grey, covered in darker green spots, with a central fissure from which flowers ad new leaves sprout off. In fact, the single bodies are actually pairs of fused leaves, and conserve the capacity to carry out photosynthesis (hence their green colour). Every year, a new body (pair of leaves) sprouts from the central fissure, ehile the old one withers. The new body develops inside the old one during the resting period which, in European latitudes, occurs in Summer. It uses the nutrients contained in the older body to develop. The latter gradually withers until the new one sprouts. Flowers sprout from the fissure as well: they are creamy-white, yellowish or pinkish and sweet-scented. They open at night and the blooming season occurs in summer.


Conophytum persii is not difficult to grow. Here below are our tips:

Conophytum persii needs plenty of sunlight: if you grow it indoors, place it on a sunny window shelf. When you move it outdoors, avoid spots which are exposed to sunlight during the hottest hours of Summer days.
Its minimum tolerated temperature is -2ºC. However, to stay safe, we advise to place it indoors during the Winter.
It requires a good ventilation. Stagnant air might enhance the risk of rot.
Conophytum persii is deemed to be a winter grower, unlike other succulents. We though advise to water it scarcely in general, as its epidermis is subsceptible to break. Always wait for the substate to dry up completely before each watering. In Summer, water once a week with very little water.
Choose a well-draining substrate: a standard soil for cacti will do good.
Fertilization should be carried out once a year using a specific product for succulents, rich in Phosporus and Potassium and poor in Nitrogen. Dilute the product with watering at half the doses recommended on the table.
Don’t repot frequently, as C. persii can stay in the same pot even for many years. Also, plants grown in larger pots show less abundant blossomings.


Conophytum persii can be propagated both by cuttings and seeds. The cuttings should be taken off by a grown-up mother plant and must have one or more heads, along with a portion of roots, unless they won’t be able to put new roots. Seeds should be sown in fresh, sandy substrate, to be maintained moist until the germination occurs. The ideal temperature is around 20 to 24ºC.


The name of the genus comes from the Greek kònos (cone) and phytòn (plant) because of the shape of some species.

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