Echidnopsis archeri

Synonyms:

Ceropegia archeriana
Echidnopsis similis

Habitat:

Echidnopsis archeri is native to Kenya and Somalia where the plant grows on rocky soils and can spread up to 1800 m of altitude.

Description:

Echidnopsis archeri is a small succulent belonging to the Apocynaceae botanical family. The plant has an erect habit when young and creeping habit in age and can reach up to 6 cm in height and 2 cm in diameter. The roots are fibrous and the stem roots very easily. The stem is 8-angeld, dark green and is made of prominent hexagonal tubercles. The tubercles are marked in the center with white dot in the point where the microscopic leaves fall. The stems take violet shades when exposed to the direct sunlight. Blooming occurs during the summer and the blossoms are borne by short peduncles at the top of the stems. The flowers are small but very showy, bell-shaped with 5 petals of a peculiar velvety red-burgundy with a pale yellow throat. The fruits are narrow, fusiform and contain small winged seeds.

Cultivation:

This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a bright exposure, indirect sun-light, this will help development of flower buds. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The maximum resistance to cold is 10 °C so it is recommended not to expose the plant to lower temperatures. 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 standard cactus soil or a mix of fertile soil and sand. 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. During the vegetative period you can water the plant every 5 days with half a glass of water, checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. 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 3-4 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.

Propagation:

Propagation is usually done by seed but cutting is also possible. 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°. By cutting you can use the offsets during the spring. Cut an offset and then let it 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.

Curiosity:

Its name derives from Greek and literally means “with the appearance of a snake”, referring to its stems which, in most species, with growth tend to crawl on the ground.

Official Web Site:
www.giromagi.com

Italian Blog:
www.giromagicactus.com

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