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Mesembriantemo, a perfect plant for garden decor with splashes of color that grow very quickly. It is enough to adopt a small plant, take care of it with some very demanding devices and we will find ourselves with large bushes full of flowers.
They will open at the first rays of the sun, and then close again at nightfall: this rhythmic flowering is what gives its name to Mesembriantemo, a name that derives from the Greek. Another peculiarity of this plant is to be found in the roots: rich in one alkaloid substance, can lead to delirium if ingested in large quantities. So, let's just admire the flowers, between intense pink, orange and yellow there is something to be entranced by.
The Mesembriantemo belongs to the family of Aizoaceae, it is of South African origin but in Italy it is quite common. There are over 100 different species and then we will see some of the most common or particular ones. Almost all of them are suitable for living outdoors, on the ground, but which do not grumble if kept in pots in the apartment. Perhaps many of us have seen the Mesembriantemo and they don't know it's him.
It is the plant that forms the large bushes that often cover the rocky places and cliffs. In general, it does not exceed 30 cm, does not require particular care or excessive attention, forms compact bushes consisting of green-gray needle-like leaves. The Mesembriantemo it resists very well in drought conditions and succeeds thanks to the fact that its leaves are covered with a particular substance that allows minimal evaporation.
Very fragrant at night, colored but odorless during the day, the flowering of Mesembriantemo it is a very pleasant sight. The flowers have the simple form of daisies but take on various colors passing from pink, of every conceivable shade, to red, and then also white, yellow and orange. They are up to 5 centimeters in diameter, sprouting from May to the end of September but each has a short life. About a week.
In general we have mentioned that the Mesembriantemo it has the habit of opening its flowers to greet the sun and close them in the evening, but some species are more sleepy and bloom in the middle of the day. In addition to flowers there are small fruits but they are neither edible nor particularly beautiful: dry capsules containing seeds that are dispersed into the environment if it rains.
The plant does not require much care Mesembriantemo and it gives us satisfaction even if we don't have a lively green thumb. A little attention and love for greenery is enough. If we keep it in the ground, watering is superfluous unless there are periods of prolonged drought on the contrary a Mesembriantemo in pot it should be wet frequently during the season but without ever leaving it in too wet soil.
A little fertilizer does not hurt, only in the growing season: from May to the end of September, liquid NPK-based ones are excellent. Prune a Mesembriantemo it is not a very useful operation, more than anything else you have to put it in order by cleaning it from dry leaves or ruined flowers. As regards the illnesses and i enemy parasites of this plant in the front row there is the cochineal, then there are the aphids and even some viruses that would force us to burn the whole plant to avoid that even those nearby can be infected.
Mesabrianthus does not bloom: possible reasons
As a plant in general the Mesembriantemo it tends to exaggerate with the leaves but to bloom little. So we find ourselves with a shrub that suddenly rises green but which we almost have to beg for it to appear clearly flowered. And to do this the flowers must be many because they are small. To try to convince the Mesembriantemo to make flowers better to use unpressed soil, the rocky one near the sea is excellent.
We do not go into alarm or complain, but if it has bloomed recently: in this case it is simply necessary to leave time to reject other branches and then from branch to flower. It is important not to neglect it in the meantime but to leave it in the sun and water it by adding a modest dose of fertilizer, also generic for succulents.
Mesembriantemo: dried flowers
If our Mesembriantemo showing us dried flowers is not out of courtesy and it does not necessarily mean that he has a problem. It could be the simple natural cycle whereby we can remove them leaving room for new colors. From experience, proceeding in this way encourages the plant a renew flowering. Only if dry flowers appear suddenly and extensively should we worry and ask ourselves if we are watering and feeding it well.
The varieties of the Mesembriantemo they are numerous, all have flowers similar to daisies but in different colors. The shape of the stems and sheets can also vary slightly even if the style of the plant remains recognizable. For the rest, the flowers only bloom in full sun and it's a matter of color.
The Mesembryanthemum acinaciforme, also called the fig of the Hottentots, comes like almost all species from southern Africa, grows spontaneously in Italy, produces purple daisies, the Mesembryathemum crystallinum, also known as ice grass, it prefers shorelines and has pale green oval leaves that look like ice crystals.
Its flowers are white or pale pink, those of the Mesembryanthemum criniflorum, on the other hand, they can be of different colors - white, orange or crimson red - and they sprout next to rounded leaves. Another variety of Mesembriantemo is M. Edule up to 30 cm tall and with yellow or purple flowers, the Mesembryanthemum tricolor, instead, it has narrow and cylindrical leaves and produces only deep pink or white flowers,
Mesembriantemo: seedlings for sale
Having said that from a map the Mesembriantemo it grows very quickly giving a lot of satisfaction here is one in a 7 × 7 cm pot, about 10 cm high, already rooted and ideal for creating hedges. Once purchased, for less than 50 euros, let's water it immediately and then let it settle.
If we arrange it in pots we must have more patience because it will grow less quickly, also remember that after a couple of years it is good to repot the Mesembriantemo up to the adult pot, usually with a diameter of about 20 cm, no more.
If you prefer to start from the seed, you can buy a pack on this page on Amazon for less than 3 Euros + shipping costs.
The bag of seeds you will receive measures 11.5 x 16 cm and contains a wide range of seeds that will allow the creation of very particular blooms.
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