T. schaeferianus is native to Cape Provinces and Namibia where the plant grows in rocky or in sandy areas.
T. schaeferianus is a prennial succulent belonging to the Crassulaceae botanical family. The plant has a branched habit, forms tufts and can reach 7 cm tall and 10 cm wide. The stem is thick, fleshy, gnarled, grey-green in color covered with a fissured bark. The leaves are short-lived, obovate, fleshy, with an acute apex, bright green and borne at the apexes of the branches. The plant is a caudiciform so it forms a thick and woody subterranean caudex, from this the plant branches. Blooming occurs from the late spring to the summer and buds are borne at the apex of the branches. The flowers are funnel-shaped, lavender pink or white, carried on short stalks.
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 7 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 of the genus Tylecodon is an anagram of “Cotyledon”, another genus of succulent plants from South Africa. Tylecodon were considered part of the genus Cotyledon up until 1978, when they were classified as a separate genus. Its name honors Dr. Fritz Schafer, a Namibian physician and botanist.
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