Habitat: South Africa
Cultivation: It is recommended to have a full sunshine to have brilliant flowers. Watering should be abundant but not frequent, and fertilization is recommended once every 15 days.
Curiosity: Sometimes it is reported that these plants are mesembriantemi: it is, however, an incorrect or at least overwritten statement. The term mesembriantemi refers in fact to a genre of old cataloging which did not distinguish between delosperm and its closest relatives, such as drosanthemum and lampranthus (now considered distinct genera belonging to the aizoaceae family).
DELOSPERMA KEY FEATURES
Originally from South Africa, but also spread in Namibia and more generally along the east coast of central and southern Africa, plants of the genus delosperma are dwarf ground cover plants that are perfectly comfortable on dry or rocky land and in the sea areas. Some species are perennial, other biennials. They generally have good resistance to cold. The leaves are fleshy and generally have a triangular shape and very elongated; grow along a grassy stem that develops in a very branched way. They remain low in altitude (up to 30-40 cm in the highest species).
Their needs about soil and irrigation are very limited: so much so that they can grow even in the small crevices that are created in the rocks or along the dry walls. They resists well with the brackish and have excellent resistance to cold. The blooms are particularly generous: from each plant many flowers bloom in the shape of a daisy with bright colors like yellow, violet, red or sometimes white. Flowers bloom solitary or small groups and are wide up to 4 inches. They bloom at the beginning of spring but rarely resist all summer and have the peculiarity of opening up to sunlight and closing in the dark. For these characteristics delosperma are very widespread as decorative plants in the seaside resorts and nearly everywhere throughout southern Italy.
VARIETIES AND TYPES
The genus delosperma groups about 150 species and varieties; we list some of the most common ones below.
- Delosperma cooperi – It is probably the most common species and there are different varieties. The leaves are short and very thick, the sticks branch with time . Flowers are lilac-colored. It also resists temperatures below zero for short periods.
- nubigenum – the blooms are yellow and lively and the crowns are particularly large. It reaches a maximum height of 30 cm.D. Angustifolia – with thin leaves creates, growing, vegetation pads. Leaves, dark green, contrast nice with white flowers.
- echinatum – the flowers are both white and yellow. The leaves have tapered shape.
- grandiflorum – is the giant of the category, being able to reach up to one meter in height! Even the red-violet flowers are particularly large.
- sphalmanthoides – reaches a height of 5 to 10 cm., the flowers can be of the giant category, they reach one meter in height! Even the red-violet flowers are particularly large.
TIPS FOR CULTIVATION
As mentioned above, they are very robust and not very demanding plants. However, it is necessary to prepare the environment so that they can give their best even in terms of flowering. Here are our tips:
- The ideal exposure is in full light: the colors of the flowers will be brighter and brighter.
- Delosperma generally withstand short frosts with temperatures below zero and for this reason they can be grown outdoors in many areas of Italy. It is advisable to protect them when the temperature drops below –5 ° C. A robust co-operative delosperma could withstand without damage even at -10 ° C or under an abundant snow layer, but our advice is to avoid risking if possible!
- Like most succulent, the delosperma enemy is the water stagnation. For this we suggest that watering must be scarce even in the summer (every 3-4 days if the plants are in a pot, a bit more frequent if they are in the soil) and be careful to let the soil dry between them; the single watering, however, must be abundant. In autumn and winter, the frequency of wetting can be reduced.
- Concimate once every 15 days with a specific product for cactacea, in the spring and summer only.
- If grown in a pot, use a sandy and very well draining soil.
- Given the speed of development, each year it is advisable to proceed to repot. Choose wide and shallow containers, as plant growth will be mostly horizontal.
For the reproduction of delosperma, it is easy to use the cuttings: the little branches are very easy to root. Sometimes it is also possible that the plant produces suckers, but, as already mentioned, the normal branches are also excellent cuttings.