Delosperma echinatum - Pickle Plants. Copyright: Succulents Network
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Place your specimen in the brightest location as possible. A few hours of off-peak sunlight will be highly beneficial for the plant, as it’ll significantly reduce the risk of over-watering and root rot. Due to its intolerance to low light, avoid placing one in areas where a newspaper can't be read without the use of artificial light.
If you've recently purchased an indoor Delosperma, chances are it hasn't acclimatised to the potential direct sunlight you'll give it. If you're interested in placing yours in a brighter environment, gradually increase the light levels over a few weeks to prevent the risk of environmental shock or sun-scorch.
Allow all of the soil to dry out in between waters, reducing this further to once every few weeks in the autumn and winter. Not only will a reduction of water reinforce the dormancy period, but it'll also counteract the risk of root rot due to the shortened days and cooler nights. Over-watering symptoms include rapidly yellowing leaves, wilting, mushy leaves or stem and plant death. Again, study where it's situated in your home. If it doesn't receive bright or overhead light, a relocation is mandatory to get your specimen back on track! Alternatively, under-watering symptoms include deflated leaves, little to no growth and gradual foliage decline. Be sure to study its environment; a position that offers too much sunlight will dry out the soil far too quickly and will eventually scorch the plant's leaves.
This is not a necessity; however, a quick hose down from time to time will hydrate the leaves and wash away dust or potential pests.
Supplement once a month using a 'Cactus'-labelled fertiliser, reducing this to every six weeks in the autumn and winter. Try not to over-feed Delosperma in dry soil as their roots are susceptible to burning, especially when over-applied.
Root rot is a common issue among specimens sat in too dark environments with prolonged soil moisture. Symptoms include rapidly yellowing leaves, mouldy soil, shrivelled growth and a rotten brown base. Take the plant out of the pot and inspect health below the compost line. If the roots sport a yellow tinge, you're good to go, but those that are brown and mushy must be addressed immediately. More information about addressing root rot can be found on this link.
Failed leaf or vine cuttings are a common issue among amateur gardeners, with damaged wounds or too small vines being the usual culprits. Although Delosperma propagation is relatively easy, people still find it hard to ace. Not only will the size of the vine dictate its success, damaging the leaves or vine can also hurt the chances of it rooting. Scroll down to 'Propagation' for more information regarding this issue!
Too much sunlight will cause a red tinge to the foliage. Although Delosperma is best grown in locations offering around two hours of direct sunlight a day, prolonged periods of intense rays cannot be tolerated. Reduce the amount of sunlight received to just one hour a day, while keeping the growing conditions relatively similar to reduce the effects of environmental shock. Although the new growth will revert to its original green texture, sunburnt leaves will remain scorched for the rest of its functioning life.
Reddened leaves are the product of too much sunlight, most common during the height of summer. A pigmentation called 'Carotenoids' will alter the appearance of the foliage to counteract the harsh effects of the UV rays. Although this isn't a permanent look, and the specimen will still function adequately, it'll grow far better and quicker in a slightly shadier location with only a splash of direct sun. Still providing an hour or so of bright light will lessen the effect of environmental shock and potential death.
Delosperma consists of around two hundred species that mostly originate around east to Southern Africa. The genus was first described in 1925 by Nicholas Brown, using the Greek words, delos and sperma, to mean 'exposed seed'. Many species within Delosperma also have hygrochastic capsules, which repeatedly open when wet, and close when dry!
10° - 26°C (50° - 78°F)
H1b (Hardiness Zone 12) - Can be grown outdoors during the summer in a sheltered location with temperatures above 12℃ (54℉), but is fine to remain indoors, too. If you decide to bring this plant outdoors, don't allow it to endure any direct sunlight as it may result in sun-scorch and dehydration. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back indoors.
Up to 60cm in length and 40cm in width. The ultimate height will take between 3 - 5 years to achieve, but can live over a decade or more in the right care.
Remove yellow or dying leaves, and plant debris to encourage better-growing conditions. While pruning, always use clean utensils or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases. Never cut through yellowed tissue as this may cause further damage in the likes of diseases or bacterial infections. Remember to make clean incisions as too-damaged wounds may shock the plant, causing weakened growth and a decline in health.
Leaf Cuttings (Easy) - Leaves that are halfway along the vine have the most potential due to its size and maturity. Gently place your fingers between the mother's stem and the leaf's base, pulling it downwards until you hear a snap. Ensure the wound is wholly intact with no damage, as a bruise or tear will result in unsuccessful propagation. Set the leaf ON TOP OF a bed of moist 'Cactus & Succulent' Compost for root growth. Not only will this callus the wound (to prevent disease), but it'll also speed up the propagation process considerably. Once there are signs of small roots developing on the node, place it one third into the compost, at a slight angle. Provide a bright setting with temperatures around 18°C (64°F) with the majority of the soil drying out in between waters. New leaves should emerge within a month or two, thus signalling the start of its independent life!
Stem Cuttings (Easy) - Using a clean pair of scissors, cut a 10cm (4 - 5 inches) section off the stem's terminal. Be sure to use a fresh, damage or pest-free piece as unhealthy divisions are more likely to fail. Remove the older half of the leaves, so that the stem's lower portion is bare, to speed the process of root development. Purchase a 'Cactus & Succulent' Compost and vertically push the cutting's base into the soil, avoiding the risk of covering the actual foliage with soil. Situate the cutting in a bright, indirect setting with temperatures above 18°C (64°F). As the roots will develop first, remove the bag and treat it as an adult specimen once there are signs of new foliar development.
Delosperma may bloom in the summer if its previous dormancy period has been served well. Small white, pink or red flowers will develop at the vines' terminals that can last up to several weeks. The quality of its blooms largely relies on the quality of the dormancy period served in the previous winter.
To replicate its dormancy period:
Repot every three years in spring using a 'Cactus & Succulent' potting mix and the next sized pot with adequate drainage. Delosperma are far better being potbound for several years due to the heightened risk of root rot and repotting-issues (like transplant shock), so only repot if you feel it's wholly necessary - restricted root growth will also increase the chance of blooms, too.
Hydrate the plant 24hrs before the tinkering with the roots to prevent the risk of transplant shock. For those situated in a darker location, introduce an extra amount of perlite and grit into the deeper portion of the pot to downplay over-watering risks. Click on this link for a detailed step-by-step guide on transplantation, or via this link to learn about repotting with root rot.
Book a 1-to-1 video call with Joe Bagley if you'd like a personal guide to repotting your houseplant. This will include recommending the right branded-compost and pot size, followed by a live video call whilst you transplant the specimen for step-by-step guidance and answer any further questions!
Keep an eye out for mealybugs, scale, fungus gnats, whitefly, vine weevils & root mealybugs that'll locate themselves in the cubbyholes and undersides of the leaves, with the exception of the latter two in the soil. Common diseases associated with this genus are root rot, leaf-spot disease, botrytis, rust, powdery mildew & southern blight - click here to learn more about these issues.
Not known to be poisonous when consumed by pets and humans. If large quantities are eaten, it may result in vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite.
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