cotyledon orbiculata macrantha

realjill(z9 FL)March 28, 2003

anyone out there in my area(tampa) have any of this ? i have only seen it once- (stole some,lol) and wonder about your experiences w/ it- thanks!

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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I'm on the opposite coast, with completely reversed rainfall patterns and degree of heat, but couldn't resist commenting as this is one of my favorite Cotyledons, although I think it is a separate species, listed as C. macrantha, rather than a variety of C. orbiculata.

It does very well here in coastal California gardens in full sun and very good drainage, and often blooms in mid to late winter where. I have problems keeping it happy in less than full sun and heavy clay loam in my own garden, while the various foliage forms of C. orbiculata seem to be more tolerant of the same conditions. All of the Cotyledons seem more prone to snail and slug attack if grown in conditions that don't quite suit them, and they seem to do best when planted on mounds or slopes to ensure good drainage. Most will only handle light frost here, and are seldom seen away from sight of salt water, unless grown as movable container plants. I wouldn't have thought this would do as well in hot humid summer rainfall areas, but I guess your sandy soils compensate for this. It is very easy to rot this out in the ground with too much summer watering here, although less so in sandy soils.

How does/did this plant hold up to your sauna like summers in Tampa?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2003 at 5:14PM
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realjill(z9 FL)

Thanks so much for your response Bahia! Actually, I have it in containers, where it has done wonderfully- My larger one did flower this past winter- I just cut the stalk down and planted some in the ground this week. We will see if it makes it through our rainy season. They are in full sun and we live on the water, although it is brackish river water, rather than salt. The original cutting (that I stole!) was also container grown- I have never seen this anywhere else in this state- It has the most amazing colors here- the only pic I could find of it on the web shows it very light green w/ a red edge- mine have a lot of pale pink. Do yours?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2003 at 5:45PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

You would probably also enjoy growing the true Cotyledon orbiculata in its various forms as well. They can range from powdered sugar foliage to slightly green, along with either paddle shaped leaves or more cigar shaped, with similar flowers. The genus grows over such a large area within South Africa, and is immensely variable in leaf form and color, as well as size of plant. Kalanchoe thyrsiflora is a similar leaf shape that would probably do well for you, and is often called "Flapjacks". The flowers on my C. macrantha are more of a deep reddish orange when blooming.

PS, maybe you should atone for pinching this plant without asking by giving some to friends and neighbors! I would much prefer that someone asks me for cuttings rather than help themselves...

    Bookmark   March 29, 2003 at 2:01PM
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realjill(z9 FL)

Yes, I would enjoy having other forms of this plant, but I can't seem to locate any sources.
I have posted a message on the cacti and succulents forum also- It seems that everyone has flowers that are red or orange- mine was a pale pink on a very tall (3') stalk.
As for my atonement....I have atoned!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2003 at 5:58AM
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Very interested to read this. Have grown it from seed and now have it in a container outside for the summer, as am in Eastern Scotland. What sort of compost should I use, and how old /big before it flowers?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2003 at 4:48PM
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realjill(z9 FL)

I wish I could give you more info Louise, but mine has been growing in just plain potting soil, with no amendments, for the past 5-6 years- I may have thrown some fresh topsoil into the pot now and then over the years, but that's it! It just flowered last summer, for the first time........ Good luck and enjoy

    Bookmark   July 5, 2003 at 10:45PM
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Here in Northern California I have the "blue" form growing in several pots by design and other places just by accident. It really will take over if given the room, so I do not grow it in the ground on purpose.

The forms vary a great deal, and not all the plants from the original look exactly alike. Amount of sun, amount of fertilizer, amount of care(less is better) all slightly alter the look of the plant. The flowers on a pot in the greenhouse are definitely "pinkish" as compared to the red/orange/yellow out in the hot sun. The amount of "powder" on the leaves is reduced because I water with a heavy handed hose, but winter in the greenhouse sees the powder return.

The third picture shows a broken stalk from the pot in the first picture. It was thrown in the top of another pot and has since dug down to suck up the fish emulsion in the pot.....much more red defined borders, turning green around the gills from the fish emulsion and less sun....growing like a weed in 2 weeks time.

Here's a link for some good pictures.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2003 at 11:34PM
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realjill(z9 FL)

Mine is the round-leaf form- and the leaves are very large- some about 4 inches round- and looks most like your bottom pic !

    Bookmark   July 6, 2003 at 6:59AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

A favorite plant of mine, although if grown in too much shade it is unlikely to ever bloom well, the problem I have in my own garden. I wouls suggest that a fast draining fairly sterile soil mix similar to a cactus mix is the ideal, although they can handle loamy clay soil in the ground if not allowed to stay too wet in winter during cold weather. Only marginal frost tolerance, expecially in combination with wet soils. There is a tremendous amount of variation in foliage form, size, color, and the form, C. o. oblongata almost looks to be a different species until it blooms. C macrantha has similar foliage in an apple green shade, and flowers are also similar.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2003 at 3:48AM
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verity(NSW Aust)

hi, i bought my cotyledon orbiculata from a nursery in tilba village, new south wales, having been told it was from south america and would to 50cm...however, it has already grown to 53cm (from 20cm) after only 2 months! i was worried about it at first, because the bottom leaves were dropping off and drooping, perhaps because it only gets partial full sun during the day, but it has produced a very long stem (with leaves) sprouting from the base cluster (very tall cluster, not rounded) with 3 bunches of multiple flower buds. is it normal for it to be growing at such an alarming rate?!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2003 at 8:38PM
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