Habitat: Nursery hybrid, that doesn’t exist in nature.
Cultivation: Bright exposure, regular watering in summer and no watering in winter, well-drained soil.
Curiosity: Lenopetalum “Chocolate and strawberries” is a hybrid between Lenophyllum and Graptopetalum. It’s called “Chocolate and strawberries” for the unusual colour of its leaves, blackish-red with an orange hint, that remind a little bit chocolate and strawberries mixed together.
Lenopetalum “Chocolate and strawberries” is a tiny plant, very appreciated among succulent lovers for its extreme rarity and for the highly decorative potential of its rosettes, made of oval, crowded, slightly pointed succulent leaves, tinged in blackish purple red, very unusual and attractive. The genus Lenopetalum actually doesn’t exist in nature: it is a hybrid between a Lenophyllum species and another genus, Graptopetalum. Both genera involved in the crossing are native to southern USA and Mexico. Plants of Lenopetalum consist actually in a bunch of succulent, fleshy stems, orange-reddish, very dark, and provided with numerous gut-shaped, pointed leaves. Leaves are more blackish than stems, though they still show a purple-reddish tinge. Flowers, instead, are very abundant and crowded on the inflorescences, which are clusters called, in botany, racemes. Single flowers are star-shaped, with five bright yellow petals, that create a beautiful contrast with the reddish black of the leaves below. Withering flowers, also, take on a deep, dark red tinge, midway between orange, brown and red. Being a hybrid, flowers are sterile and don’t produce fertile seeds.
VARIETY AND TYPES
Lenopetalum “Chocolate and Strawberries” is the only species classified in the hybrid genus of Lenopetalum.
TIPS FOR GROWING
Being the crossing between two tough genera, Lenopetalum is not hard to grow. Here below are our cultivation tips:
- Exposure must be very bright: put the plant under direct sunlight or, at least, close to a sunny window, for it to receive some direct light. Sun rays enhance the dark tinges of the leaves.
- Keep your Lenopetalum at minimum temperatures of around 5/8 ° C. In theory, these plants can bear lower temperatures but, to stay safe in Winter, we suggest to move them indoors.
- Regarding watering, follow the general rules valid for succulents: suspend completely watering in winter and water regularly, like once or twice a week, in Summer, waiting always for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation.
- The soil should be light and well-drained, but richer in nutrients than other succulents: we recommend to mix a standard soil for cacti with peat.
- Fertilize during the growing season once using a specific fertilizer for succulent, diluting it to half the doses written on the label.
- The plant has a medium growth rate: repot it once a year during the spring.
Lenopetalum, like Graptopetalum, can be propagated by the division of the stems clusters or by cuttings. Cuttings can be obtained either from the stems and from the leaves. Usually, leaves cuttings put roots more easily than stem cuttings. Also, dividing the stems from each other from the base and replanting a separated offset with its root system well-conserved is another possible way, perhaps the easiest.