Miniature Succulents for Dish Gardens: Conophytum
Conophytums are my personal favorites ever since I was introduced to these miniature succulents. Though a bit tricky to grow, they are excellent plants for dish gardens. These miniature plants grow in small spreading clumps and usually form thick mat of succulent leaves. Each Conophytum plant consists of a pair of leaves that withers out to make room for a fresh pair in growing season. Some species also branch out – each branch consists of a pair of leaves.
Conophytums are usually grown in dish gardens where they spread slowly but make good ornamental plants for window gardening. They also do well in rockeries where they can be grown in crevices.
Conophytums come from winter rainfall regions of South Africa and Namibia where they grow vigorously in winter and go dormant in summer. Thus the best way to grow Conophytum plants at home is to provide them with the same climate – generous watering under bright sunlight in winter, and barely moist in shady spots in winter. Grow Conophytums in a loose, PH-balanced and a well-drained soil. They are not hungry plants and occasional supply of water-soluble fertilizer in winter in usually sufficient. Ideal temperature for Conophytums is 10 to 25 ◦C.
Most species of Conophytum bear yellow, white, purple or orange flowers in winter with a hint of fragrance. Usually grown from seeds, popular species of Conophytum include: C. obcordellum, C. truncatum, C. pellucidum, C. meyeri, and Conophytum gratum.