T. bulbosum is native to Cape Provinces
T. bulbosum is a caudiciform shrub succulent belonging to the Aizoaceae botanical family. The plant can reach up to 30 cm tall, has a shrubby habit and tends to branch heavily. The stem is woody, thick, brown and is particularly adapt to become a bonsai. The plant has a woody, thick, subterranean caudex turnip-shape that can reach 15 cm in depth and 8 cm in diameter. If the caudex is covered the growth will be lush and fast, although if the caudex is exposed to sunlight the vegetation will reduce in size. Blooming occurs from spring to autumn and blossom are borne at the apex of the branches. The leaves are small, flesy, pale green, elliptical and densely hairy. The flowers are magenta to pink and have a yellow center.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 6°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 15 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. 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. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
Propagation can be done by cutting or by seed. 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. 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 soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.
The name “Trichodiadema” comes from the Greek ‘trichos’, meaning hair, and ‘diadema’, which is a jewel to be put on the head, like a crown or a wreath. This is because of the ‘crown’ of hairy bristles in the leaves of these plants. The plants that form the caudex use their subterranean tuber to store water and cope with long periods of drought.
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