Pachyphytum oviferum


No synonyms are recorded for this name.


Pachyphytum oviferum is native to northern Mexico, where it inhabits rocky cliffs, in rock crevices, at an altitude range of 1200 meters above the sea level.


Pachyphytum oviferum is undoubtely the most famous plant in the genus Pachyphytum. It is a slow-growing succulent that forms a clump of rosettes, like a shrub, with peculiar leaves, shaped like big candies, oval, flattened but rather thick (4-5 millimeters). The cultivated forms may have a single stem, up to 1,5 centimters wide in mature plants, that becomes visible as the plant ages and looses the older leaves. There are several forms of P. oviferum: among them, the most popular is the one with egg-shaped leaves. Usually, leaves are not so big (5 centimeters in length and 3 centimeters in width), but they are thick and fleshy. The plant tends to stay compact when it’s young and becomes prostrate when it ages. If it grows under direct sunlight, its leaves tend to take on pinkish-purplish red tinges. Regarding the leaves, there’s one more feature to add: they are usually covered in a thin, whitish pruine, that protects the plant from direct sunlight and reduce water loss through evapotranspiration. The inflorescence, in botany, is called a “scorpioid cyme”. This is a kind on inflorescence in which an elongated stalk ends in a terminal part with shortly peduncolated and small flowers, arranged in a way that they resemble a scorpion’s tail. The stalk, in the case of P. oviferum, is fleshy and scarlet red, and so are the five petals of the flowers, which are bell-shaped, 1 centimeters long and wide, very vivid and colourful. The blooming season occurs from late Winter to mid-Spring. Usually, each inflorescence bears 7-15 flowers.


P. oviferum is a tough plant and, if you have patience, it will reward you with its extremely decorative leaves and flowers. Here below are our cultivation tips:

Put it in a bright spot, directly exposed to sunlight. However, avoid direct sunlight during the hottest hours of Summer days.
It can resist down to -7ºC if the substrate is maintained dry in Winter. However, to stay safe, we suggest to keep it indoors during the coldest season.
P. oviferum should receive a regular irrigation during Spring and Summer, every 15 days is ok. During Autumn, reduce gradually the watering frequency until stopping completely in Winter. Pay attention: leaves should stay dry. We suggest to water from below the leaves, close to the substrate. Also, remember to wait always for the soil to dry up completely before each watering.
An important thing to pay attention to is the delicacy of the pruine covering the leaves: it’s better not to touch them to preserve it.
Choose a well-draining and porous soil, even better if further enriched with inert materials such as pumice or lapilli.
P. oviferum doesn’t need frequent fertilization: just dilute the fertilizer with watering once a year.
Repotting is rarely necessary, as P. oviferum grows very slowly. Repot when the clump of stems becomes much wider than the pot.


The propagation of P. oviferum can be carried out by seeds or cuttings. The most used method is undoubtely by cutting, as it’s easier and usually successfull. Cuttings can be obtained from older leaves, simply detaching them from the stems and putting them on the soil, without planting them: they will easily put roots. The rooting substrate for the cuttings should be rather sandy and moist. This process should be carried out in Spring.


The name “Pachyphytum” comes from the Latin words “Pachy”, that means “thick”, “big”, and “Phytum”, meaning “plant”. The species attribute “Oviferum”, instead, meaning “similar to eggs”, probably refers to the shape of its leaves, which look like eggs. For the same reason and, also, for the whitish pruine that covers the leaves, it’s also called “Moonstones”.

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