Argyroderma: home care, photo species, reproduction
Argyroderma (Argyroderma) is a succulent that belongs to the Aizoaceae family. Such plants come from the Cape of Africa, South Africa and the desert of Peru. They prefer to grow on sandy and rocky ground, while in order to protect themselves from extreme heat, such plants are able to "burrow" in the sand.
This genus of plants was named in this way due to the not quite ordinary silver color of its leaves. So, translated from Latin “argyrum” means “silver”, and “derma” means “skin”.
Such a dwarf succulent plant is blooming and resembles pebbles. Argyroderma is preferred in small groups. The composition of the leaf outlet includes 2 or 4 fleshy greenish-gray, half-fused leaflets that have a semicircular shape. To each other, such leaves face flat surfaces. In most species, the diameter of leaflets does not exceed 2-3 cm, and there is a relatively deep, distinct strip that separates the leaf pair (which is not the case with lithops). Young leaflets grow directly between the old ones, which then fade. A short peduncle grows from between the leaf grooves. In most cases, the flowers are solitary and have numerous petals. Three-centimeter diameter flowers can be painted in yellow, white or pink color and they have a strong external resemblance to daisies. The flowers are bisexual, and in order to collect the seeds, cross-pollination is required. Under natural conditions, pollination of such a succulent occurs with the help of insects. Random hybridization is considered not uncommon in culture. In this regard, during the flowering period, various species and varieties need to be somehow separated from each other. Pollination is required to be carried out independently with a brush.
The fruits ripen for quite some time, usually until April or March of the following year. The fruits are closed capsules, which have a diameter of about 0.9-1.2 centimeters, and they are formed by the growth of carpels. These capsules are divided into cells, which number from 8 to 28 pieces. Ripen cells have a mechanism for expanding the keels of the caps when exposed to liquid. So, while it is raining, the caps open, then the falling raindrops easily knock out the ripened seeds, and they, in turn, fly apart not so very far from the mother plant. When grown indoors, there are 2 methods for collecting seeds. First, you can stretch the capsules and select the seeds. And secondly, these fruits should be lowered “upside down” in a small container filled with water. After the lids open, the seeds sink to the bottom. They should be removed from the water and dried in a shaded place.
Care for argyroderma at home
Such a plant requires bright lighting throughout the year.
In summer, the plant grows normally and develops at room temperature. In winter, it needs coolness from 12 to 15 degrees. At the same time, be sure that the room is not colder than 8 degrees.
It is quite adapted for life in low humidity of city apartments.
How to water
Watering is carried out only during intensive growth and flowering. It is necessary to water through the pan and only after the earthen lump has completely dried out. Make sure that there is no fluid stagnation in the pan. From about October to April, you shouldn’t need to water the agroderm at all. At this time, the leaves can completely dry and wrinkle, but watering even in this case can not be done.
Top dressing should be carried out only during the formation of buds, as well as flowering, while using a weak solution of fertilizer intended for cacti.
A transplant is carried out before a period of intensive growth begins, 1 time in 2 or 3 years. A suitable soil mixture consists of 2 parts of leaf soil and 1 part of sand. After transplanting, the soil surface is sprinkled with a layer of coarse sand. If desired, you can buy soil for cacti. Capacity for landing should be low and wide. Good drainage holes must be present at its bottom. Also at the bottom of the tank do not forget to make a good drainage layer.
You can propagate by dividing the overgrown group of plants in the process of transplantation, as well as seeds.
Sowing is recommended in the last weeks of February and the first - in March. In this case, additional illumination is not required, and before the winter, the plant will grow strong enough. For sowing, the soil for cacti is used. On its surface you need to put the seeds and sprinkle them with a thin layer of coarse sand, while the distance between them should be at least half a centimeter. The container must be covered with glass or film and put in a warm place (20-25 degrees). During the first month of airing spend 1 time per day for 1-2 minutes. Then this procedure is carried out several times a day, and their duration should be from 5 to 10 minutes. 8 weeks after sowing, shelter is recommended to be removed altogether. Watering is carried out by lowering the pot into a container of water until the soil is wet. You should choose a brightly lit place, but there should not be direct sun rays. The first seedlings appear about a week after sowing, while the total germination lasts from 30 to 40 days. Flowering of young plants is observed at 3 or 4 years after sowing.
The main types
Argyroderma cup-shaped (Argyroderma crateriforme)
In this dwarf succulent, in a pair of leaflets, the diameter can vary from 1 to 2 centimeters. The fleshy leaves, which are fused at the base, have a semi-egg shape, while the side of fusion is flat. The appearance of a flower comes from between the leaf grooves. Outwardly, it is similar to a daisy and has glossy petals of rich yellow color, whitish stamens, and at the same time its anthers are yellow.
Argyroderma oval (Argyroderma ovale)
Dwarf succulent. The composition of the sockets includes from 2 to 4 juicy leaves of a cylindrical shape, which can be painted in various shades from greenish gray to lime green. The flowers are single with a short peduncle and they grow between the upper leaves. The diameter of the flower can vary from 1 to 3 centimeters, and at the same time it can be painted in yellow, white or pink color.
Argyroderma testicular (Argyroderma testiculare)
Dwarf succulent. The diameter of each leaf rosette can reach 2.5–3 centimeters, while their composition includes fleshy leaflets with a relatively large thickness. They are facing each other with flat surfaces, and can be painted in a greenish-blue or grayish-blue color. It happens that there are small dots on the surface. A short peduncle grows from between the leaf grooves, which carries a flower that looks similar to chamomile. Its diameter is about 4 centimeters, and the color is pink. At the end of flowering, the old leaves begin to die, and they are replaced by young ones.