genus which includes numerous species of succulent plants, of small size, originating in southern Africa. The plants are made up of small, thick, fleshy, tightly joined leaves, almost completely without petiole, facing upwards and flattened, so as to make the whole similar to a small stone, with a thin groove in the middle.
They have a varied colour, usually bluish-green, tending sometimes to grey; in late summer, they produce small, delicately perfumed, pink, red, yellow or white flowers, which bloom at night, from the centre of the leaves. Most conophytums have leaves with a diameter close to 5-7 millimetres, some species have leaves with a diameter of several centimetres; in general, these plants tend to clothe and develop close to each other, forming dense carpets.
these plants need to be placed in a very bright place, but protected from direct sunlight, especially during the hottest months of the year. In summer they should be kept in a well-ventilated and shady place; during the cold months they can bear short periods with even harsh temperatures, but it is advisable to grow them in places with an average temperature of 10-15°C.
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conophytum are plants growing in winter, so from September-October to February they should be watered regularly, letting the soil dry between one watering and the other, it is advisable to check the plant before watering: if it tends to be very swollen and turgid, it is better to reduce the watering, if, on the contrary, it seems to shrink, it is better to increase them; with the arrival of the heat, they go to rest, the leaves tend to dry up, in order to allow the development of the new leaves, which will begin to grow in autumn.
In this period, it is good to avoid watering the plant, slightly moistening the soil every 15-20 days, and vaporizing, sporadically, the leaves with demineralized water, we shall start watering again in autumn. From September-October, till January, we can mix with the water of the water of the fertilizer for succulent plants, every 10-15 days, using about a third of the recommended dose.
These succulents need a fresh, light, loose and very well drained soil; a suitable soil can be prepared by mixing a part of peat, a part of fine sand and a part of sand, perlite or pozzolana, with coarse grain. These plants have contained dimensions, but tend to form ample colonies, and are therefore to be placed in pots not too small.
Conophytum Notable: Multiplication and Pests and Diseases
Multiplication: it happens by seed in autumn; the seeds of conophytum germinate easily, the seedbed is to be kept humid and in a luminous place, but not directly exposed to the sun rays.
Parasites and diseases: Conophytums are usually attacked by cochineals or mites, although most problems are due to water imbalances or excessive exposure to the sun.