Fat plants

Faucaria

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Maw of tiger

The genus Faucaria consists of less than a dozen species of small succulent plants, each of which has numerous subspecies; in nature they all develop only in southern Africa.

It is a fairly widespread plant in cultivation in Europe, as it tends to adapt very well to apartment cultivation, blooming even in non-ideal cultivation conditions.

It produces flat rosettes consisting of triangular leaves, which develop coupled, starting from the center of a pair of leaves already developed. The name of the genus comes from the Latin fauces = fauci, observing a plant in fact it is immediately clear how this name derives from the fact that the pairs of young leaves, of an elongated triangular shape, often characterized by thin pointed teeth on the outer edge, resemble the jaws of a carnivorous animal.

The fleshy and thick leaves have green or gray-green color, with sometimes white spots on the outer edge, and often small teeth on the outer edge of the young leaves, which tend to flatten with the development of the foliage. Over time, the plants can gather, forming more neighboring rosettes, covering all the available space; specimens grown in conditions of strong exposure to direct sunlight often develop pinkish or reddish colors.

In spring, and sometimes also in autumn, the faucaria produce large daisy-like flowers, golden yellow in color, sometimes orange; there are species with a pure white flower.


Cultivating faucaria

These are succulent plants with fairly simple cultivation: water in the growing season, drought in the cold season; starting from small pots, filled with a soil characterized by an excellent drainage, it is watered only when the substratum is well dry, from March-April until September. In the other months of the year it is watered sporadically, and only in the case of plants grown in the heat, in the apartment. In the period with greater watering, it mixes with the water of the fertilizer for succulent plants, rich in potassium and low in nitrogen, every month, or every 15 days.

The ideal substrate is the specific one for succulents, if we want we can also prepare it, mixing universal soil with equal quantities of washed river sand and lapillus or pozzolan or pumice stone, with a fairly fine grain size; in this way we will obtain a very drained, incoeso substratum, which in time will remain free, and will not compact even if left for a long time without watering.

The faucaria can endure short periods with intense cold, but they fear prolonged frosts, therefore in winter they must be grown at home, in a little heated area, or in a cold or temperate greenhouse; to favor flowering it is good to allow the plants to enter vegetative rest during the cold season, and therefore we avoid growing them all year round in a perennial artificial spring. In fact they are plants that tend to adapt, and often even if grown throughout the winter at 20 ° C, when spring arrives, as soon as the days get longer, they bloom freely.

There Faucaria it needs repotting every 2-3 years, when the roots of the plants come out of the pot; avoid placing it in excessively large pots. The lit specimens can be divided at the end of winter, to obtain more plants. These succulents are easily propagated by leaf cutting, or even by seed, since after flowering they produce small fruits, often containing fertile seeds.

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