Plant of the Month for May 2011

Delosperma basuticum; photo by Todd Boland
Delosperma basuticum

Description and general information

This succulent alpine is native to the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa/Lesotho. It is perhaps the hardiest of all the Delosperma.

Plants form a slowly expanding mat under 5 cm in height. The succulent foliage is reminiscent of jelly-beans. From late spring to early summer, plants are smothered under 3-4 cm diameter brilliant yellow flowers with white at the base of the petals, imparting a white-eyed appearance to the blooms. 'White Nugget' is a white-flowered selection.

Cultivation

Delosperma as a group, are very drought tolerant. they will grow in quite poor soils. The main criteria is full sun and excellent drainage. They are hardy into zone 4 as long as they are not too wet in winter.

Bloom period

April in the south to June in the north.

Propagation

Easiest by seed but also by cuttings.

Seed

Surface sow seeds in a well-drained mix. They do not require stratification.

Division

Not generally practiced.

Cuttings

Tip cuttings may be taken just after blooming. It is best to use non-flowering shoots. They root in a few weeks if placed in damp sand in a slightly shaded frame.

 

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