Winter emergence: Tylecodon, Conophytum and Cheiridopsis

Many of the succulents that fascinate me most come from the desert areas of my country and they hibernate in summer to escape the extreme heat. Rain falls in late summer and Autumn so this is the time that the Conophytums emerge from their shells and Tylecodon starts to grow new leaves. The cyclone that passed through last month brought cooler temperatures and rain, which encouraged all of these winter growers to wake up.

This cute little fuzzy could be Tylecodon albiflorus but I'm not sure.

Conophytums bursting out of their shells. I'm not sure what species these are, all the conophytums are still very green because they didn't see the sun for the past three weeks. That's going to change soon and I'll be able to identify these. They were sent to me as they were going dormant last year so I haven't seen their normal colours. The shells are the outer skins of the old growth which protect against the sun and excessive water loss

Conophytum obcordellum.jpg
This is C. obcordellum and the flowers only open at night, that's why only the buds are visible.

conophytum minutum.jpg
C. minutum. When I got these 2 years ago, there were only 3 heads. Last year there was one more and this year another was added. These are very slow growers, who knows when they will finally flower?

Another new, unidentified species, that are starting to colour up and will look quite different in a week or two. These grow much faster, each head has turned into 3 this season.
conophytum marginatum.jpg
I think these are Conophytum marginatum. They seemed slow to emerge so I opened the shells to let the light exposure encourage growth and it seems to have worked. Last year, I killed a new conophytum because it didn't open by itself and I waited before watering it and nothing happened. I think they need to settle in and may need encouragement after the stress of being repotted just as they went dormant. Normally, Conophytums should be kept dry when they are dormant but I was worried that these would not form roots after being repotted so I watered them lightly from time to time to keep the roots alive.

To give a true indication of the actual size of these tiny and fascinating little button plants, this is my finger for comparison. In nature, they grow in cracks in the rocks and they can be kept in these pots for many years.


Finally, this is Cheiridopsis peculiaris which woke up finally due to the humidity after the rain, letting me know it's time to give it water again.

cheiridopsis peculiaris.jpg

It's a bit problematic to keep these winter growers in a summer rainfall climate because water when they are dormant will kill the plants but I find these irresistible. Conophytums need to be grown on an east-facing windowsill, the others tolerate more sun.

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