Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Peak’
Cotyledon orbiculata is native to Angola, Cape Provinces, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Northern Provinces and Swaziland where the plant grows in rugged landscapes and grassy low treeless vegetation in sandy or rocky outcrops. The ‘silver peak’ cultivar has garden origin.
Cotyledon orbiculata ‘Silver Peak’ is a perennial succulent belonging to the Crassulaceae botanical family. The plant has a branched habit and can reach up to 12 cm in height. The stem is erect, fleshy, bluish green in color. The leaves are fleshy, opposite, obovate, glaucous green to bluish green in color covered with a white pruina that gives the plant a dusty appearance and is useful to protect the plant from radiation and from drought. The margins of the leaves are tinged with reddish stripes that make this plant unique and very suitable for decorations and compositions. Blooming occurs during the winter and the blossoms are borne at the apex of the stem. The plant does not produce flowers before three years of age. The inflorescence is a paniculate cluster borne by a stalk up to 60 cm tall. The flowers are bell-shaped, pink outside and orange to reddish inside and gave a bad smell. Pollination is carried out by honeybees and the tiny seeds are scattered by the wind.
This is a fast growing plant, but it easy to cultivate. The best sun-exposure is in bright place but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The plant does not like temperatures below 7°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. Temperatures between 10 and 15 °C allow the plants to enter vegetative rest which is essential for the flowering of the following year. Plants should not be placed inside the house where average temperatures of 20 degrees prevent vegetative rest. The soil should be a well-draining and porous soil, so you can use a sandy-gritty soil. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly during the vegetative period. Irrigation is proportional to the size of the pot, the position and the season. In Spring and Autumn the plant can be watered with a glass of water every 7-10 days; in summer it can be watered every 3-5 days. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. The plant is used to growing in poor soils, for this reason it does not need abundant fertilization, it is sufficient to fertilize once in spring and once in summer. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil; it is usually done every spring. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. It is advisable to use rooting hormone at the base of the cut to energize root development. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.
Their name comes from the typical shape of a spoon of its leaves, from the Greek word kòtile (cavity) because of its leaves with a hollowed shape. It has got the same root as the word “cotyledons”, used in botany to indicate the two halves of the same seed or legume. This succulent plant is also often called ‘Round-Leafed Navel-Wort’ due to its fleshy and round leaves, with a small tip at the end
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