Titanopsis calcarea


Mesembryanthemum calcareum


T. calcarea is native to South Africa, where it inhabits limestone outcrops: the bluish colous is probably a mimicry strategy to be more easily confused with among the rocks


T. calcarea is a mat-forming, perennial dwarf succulent (it barely reaches 5 centimeters in height). It consists in a cluster of small rosettes, not wider than 10 centimeters and stemless. Leaves grow in opposite pairs and have a peculiar, pat-shaped form, very similar to the one of many Aloinopsis similar genera. The base of the leaf is in fact narrow, with a prominent enlargement at the top. The main outstanding feature of this type of leaves is actually the whitish, rounded, prominent bumps, that remind some kind of mythological lizard’s pats! The spotted apex of the leaves is generally whitish-blue, but it may become slightly tinged in orange-red, enhancing the camouflaging attitude of this species. In late Autumn- early Winter, orange-yellow, daisy-like flowers sprout from the central part of the rosettes. From every rosette, a single flower sprouts; in addiction to their cheerful aspect, enhanced by their bright yellow colour, a remarkable feature of them is their dimension: they reach a diameter of 2 centimeters, almost covering the single rosette, of which the diameter doesn’t exceed 2,5 centimeters.


Along with its odd aspect, what makes T. calcarea so appreciated by succuletn collectors is also its extreme adaptability: this species is in fact very easy to grow. Here below are our cultivation tips:

Put it in a bright spot: it generally likes also intense sunlight. An additional precaution could be to keep it away from direct sunlight duting the hottest hours of summer days though it will resist anyway, being very tough and adaptable to all light conditions.
Although it’s deemed to tolerate temperatures down to -10ºC, we advice to keep your T. calcarea above 0ºC, especially if you live in temperate-mediterrean climate areas, where Winter is usually characterized by high air humidity and frequent rainfalls, which are unpleasant conditions for our T. calcarea. It will bear cold more easily if its substrae is maintained completely dry.
Choose a a well-draining and porous soil, even better if further enriched with inert materials such as pumice or lapilli.
Water scarcely, always waiting for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation. It need moderate water in particular in late Autumn and early Spring. In Winter, keep it completely dry and also, in Summer, irrigation should be unfrequent.
Repotting is almost never necessary, given th extremely small dimension of the plant.
T. calcarea doesn’t need frequent fertilizations: it is sufficient to dilute the fertilizer with watering once a year.


The propagation of T. calcarea is usually carried out by seeds or, either, by division of larger clumps. Take off the new clumps in Spring, when the plant is sufficiently big and has developed a good root system.


This species name, Titanopsis calcarea, means “that looks like limestone”. It refers to the bluish, oddly dotted leaves, that can remind some calcareous pebbles.

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