Monanthes subcrassicaulis Petrophyes muralis
Petrophyes muralis ssp. subcrassicaulis
Sempervivum monanthes var. subcrassicaulis
Sempervivum monanthes var. murale
Monanthes muralis is native to Canary Islands where the plant grows on cliffs and walls and can spread up to 800 m of altitude.
Monanthes muralis is one of the twelve species of the genus Monanthes, of the Crassulaceae botanical family. The plant has a shrubby habit, grows in small clumps and can reach 10 cm in height. The stem can be erect or decumbent, woody at the base, heavily branched and is hidden by dense rosettes of leaves. The leaves are obovate to oval, fleshy, spirally arranged, flat to conical, dull green in color spotted with purple and with white margins. Blooming occurs from the early spring to the late summer and the blossoms are borne at the apex of the stem. The terminal inflorescences are made of 1-7 flowers borne on filiform pedicels. The flowers are small, star-shaped, white to yellowish in color with a raised pinkish center that make the flowering very particular and beauty.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant can be placed in both direct sunlight and light shade, but if you first place it in light shade and then decide to move it outside to direct sunlight, do so gradually to allow the plant to get used to it. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The plant does not like temperatures below 10°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 perfect soil is a well-drained soil that let the water to drain away and avoid root rot. To achieve this feature, you can mix the pumice, clay and loam. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering is very important for this species and should be done well. In Spring and Autumn, the plant can be watered with half a glass of water every week; in summer it can be watered with two glasses of water a week; in winter 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 should be fed with a high potassium fertilizer in the summer. You can dilute the fertilizer twice a month in the irrigation water. 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 2-3 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation is usually done by cuttings but by seeds is also possible. 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 21 C°. To fast the propagation, you can try to immerse the seeds in water for 1 day.
Of the approximately ten known species of Monanthes, seven are native to the island of Tenerife. The specific epithet comes from the Latin ‘muralis’ and means “that grows on walls” and refers to the fact that this plant usually grows on walls or on vertical stone cliffs.
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