Othonna cremnophila


There are not synonyms for this plant.


Othonna cremnophila is native to Cape Provinces where the plant grows on quartz crevices on south-facing cliffs and can spread up to 1000 m of altitude.


Othonna cremnophila is a shrub succulent drought resistant belonging to the Asteraceae botanical family. The stem is erect, stout, cylindrical, 60 cm tall, not very branched, pale green in color. The cylindrical stems are covered with a dense, white, woolly layer of trichomes and a powdery bloom which help to prevent moisture loss in the dry cliff-face habitat. The stem in age become woody and pale maroon in color. The leaves grow in tufts at the end of the branches and are obovate, pale green and fall down in late spring. Blooming occurs in autumn and the blossoms are borne at the apex of the branches. The flowers are daisy like and bright yellow in color. The plant has a woody thick caudex turnip-shape that can reach 15 cm in depth and 8 cm in diameter.


The plant has a slow growth rate but it is easy to cultivate. For this succulent the best exposure is direct sunlight, so you can place it outdoors but be careful in the hottest days. 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 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. 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 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.


The easiest and fast method of propagation is to use cuttings. 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. Propagation by seed it is not recommended for this species because it is very slow. To fast the propagation, you can try to immerse the seeds in water for 1 day. Sow the seeds in a sandy loam and keep them in warm, humid conditions.


The genus name Othonna comes probably from the Greek word, othonne, for linen or cloth, referring to the soft leaves of some species. The specific epithet comes from the Greek and means “lover of the cliffs” and refers to the habitat in which the plant is used to grow.

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