Saturday, July 13, 2013

More Mesembs

Aloinopsis malherbei

What exactly is a Mesemb?  That's easy.  It is a member of the plant Family Mesembryanthemum.  Well, that once was the case, but now all the members of the Mesemb family have been included in the family Aizoaceae.  Plant classification is always in a state of flux. 

Aloinopsis malherbei is a member of the Aizoaceae ( or Mesembryanthemum) family.  In other words, it's a mesemb.  As with most mesembs, it's a native to southern Africa, specifically South Africa.  It's a succulent, with extra water stored in its leaves and tuberous roots.  Part of the attraction of A. malherbei is the interesting shape and form of the leaves.  But also adding to the attraction are the pretty orange-yellow flowers, which are produced in late winter through mid spring. 

Both plants show at right were
grown from seed sown in 2001.  They are placed outside in full sun beginning in early May and moved to a heated, plastic covered cold frame in the autumn as frost threatens.  Thus, in winter they receive full sun and night temperatures that often drop to a minimum of 40 degrees F. (4.5 C.).   The combination of strong winter sunlight and cool to cold temperatures contributes to a strong flowering display.    

Aloinopsis malherbei doesn't present any serious difficulties in culture as long as the potting mix is well drained and it's given a lot of light.


  1. For me, this has been the most successful and easy-to-grow Aloinopsis, and the flowers are so pretty!

  2. Hi Marla, Yep, I've never had any problems with A. malherbei and its endured its share of neglect during periods when I have more plants than time to give them the appropriate attention. I going through a renewed period of interest in my plants and it's been fun to say hello to many of them again. The great thing about succulents is that they are nice enough to hang around even when one's interest dose wane occasionally.

  3. Beautiful happy plant! And so many flowers, too :)
    I have one adult (waaaay smaller than yours) and tiny seedlings. Can't wait to see them all bloom. Twelve years, huh? :)

    I noticed that mine doesn't grow large, meaty leaves. Pumice might be to poor for it and fertilizer too rare. I'll need to adjust something there..

  4. The photo of the flowering plant was taken several months ago. No flowers now. Flowers are nice, and they are a sign the plants are healthy, but I've always selected succulents to grow based on how they look when they are not in flower. I do like the shape and texture of the leaves on A. malherbei.

    Yes, 12 years. If I have to get older it's nice to have my plants just get older with me. :) As I have said before, they are just my old friends now.

    For someone growing windowsill plants with a very low level of plant nutrients (pumice + not much fertilizer) your plants look exceptionally nice. A low fertility regime may be part of your success in dealing with your light levels and apartment conditions. A good grower adapts culture to fit environment.