Succulent Gardening: The Art of Nature

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Frithia pulchra

It is endemic to South Africa. Magaliesberg from Hartbeeshoek to the Rustenburg. Habitat: Its natural habitat is the temperate grassland in the summer-rainfall region at higher altitudes. It grows in very shallow soils with coarse quartzite gravel or sand stone and often on exposed rock plates, the roots anchored in cracks between the coarse quartzite rocks. This substrate reaches very high temperatures in summer and may experience frosts during severe winters. The transparent fenestrate leaf tips are often above the ground and allow light into the leaves for photosynthesis. Precipitation ranges around500 mm of rain per annum. It grows sparsely scattered but forms impressive monotypic stands when in flowers, although the sunken plants are not conspicuous individually. F. pulchra appears very similar to Fenestraria rhopalophylla though the leaves are a slightly different shape and F. rhopalophylla has yellow flowers, compared to the pink flowers of F. pulchra. Cultivation: It is a summer grower relatively easy to cultivate, it need light sporadic watering during its winter restingperiod and requires moderate sprinkling in summer as it is rot prone if kept too moist when the heat turns off its growth cycle. Gritty, well drained soil containing a small amount of organic material will keep this species happy. It can be grown in pots or out of doors in a rockery. Soak the compost fully but allow it to dry out perfectly between waterings. Under-watering can lead to disastrous results, so be generous with water in summer. Nearly all problems occur as a result of overwatering and poor ventilation especially when weather conditions are dull and cool or very humid. It does well in full blazing sun, as well as with some shade in summer. Hardy to -4C. Propagation: They can be sown from seed sown in a gritty sandstone (acid) medium or propagated vegetatively by division (beware that the leaves break very easily) . Frithia is not shy of water and recent observations during periods of heavy rainfall indicated that they enjoy inundation for short periods, but the porosity of the substrate should be such that the water drains away swiftly. Under-watering can lead to disastrous results, so be generous with water in summer and refrain from any water in winter except as a light misting.

compare with fenestraria below

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