Frithia humilis


Frithia pulchra var. minor


Frithia humilis is native to the Northern Province.


Frithia humilis is a dwarf perennial succulent belonging to the Aizoaceae botanical family. The plant has a cluster habit, is stemless or with a very short one and the roots are shallow and thick. The leaves are fleshy, tubular shaped with a convex apex and are smooth and covered with a waxy layer. The leaves are greyish green and the tip is darker because without chlorophyll. The leaves store oxalic acid in crystalline form, this allows the light to be transported to the underground parts of the plant dedicated to photosynthesis. Blooming occurs in May and the flowers have many sepals and many petals and are carried on very short stalks or stalkless. The flowers are 2 cm in idmater, daisy-like, white in color with yellow stirpes on the center. When stressed, the foliage tends to take on beautiful pink tones, making the plant even more distinctive.


The plant has a slow growth rate but it is 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. 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 3-4 years. 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°.


The name Frithia comes from Frank Frith, an English botanist who discovered this genus at the beginning of the 1900s, although it was not until 1926 that N.E. Brown catalogued his genus.

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