Carpobrotus: [Cultivation, Irrigation, Care, Pests and Diseases]

Carpobrotus edulis is a native species of South Africa, coming from the subtropical region of the Cape province. It was introduced as an ornamental species since it allows to control the erosion of sand dunes, as well as to stabilize unstable soils.

Due to its high reproductive capacity, carpobrotus has come to be classified as an aggressive invader in many coastal habitats around the world. In fact, in countries like the United States its cultivation is totally discouraged.

However, despite being a colonizing species, it has a noble side, as it is used as a medicinal plant due to its anticancer and antibacterial properties. Also, in some parts of the world it is an edible plant.

Carpobrotus edulis is also known as «cat ‘s claw» because the shape of its fleshy leaves are very similar to the shape of a claw or nail of this feline.

Important points when sowing carpobrotus

  • Scientific name: Carpobrotus edulis.
  • Common name: Carpobrotus, cat’s claw, sea fig, cape fig, dandelion.
  • Height: 20cm.
  • Light requirement: Direct light.
  • Temperature: Warm and temperate climates (10ºC to 25ºC).
  • Irrigation: Low.
  • Fertilizer: Organic fertilizer.

What characteristics does carpobrotus have?

Carpobrotus is a perennial, succulent, stoloniferous herb. Being a plant that grows horizontally, it does not usually reach more than 25 centimeters in height. Its roots are shallow and produce fleshy stems that grow along the ground, reaching up to 3 m in length.

Also, adventitious roots sprout from the stem nodes, which take root in the moist soil and give rise to dense stolons that spread rapidly. In the case of the leaves, these are fleshy, green and at the tip of the leaf they are red. They usually measure 7 to 10 centimeters long and 1 to 1.5 centimeters wide.

Pretty Purple Pig Face Flowers Carpobrotus glaucescens Garden Journal: 150 Page Lined Notebook/Diary

The carpobrotus flowers are the main attraction of this plant. They are made up of numerous yellow, pink, or purple filaments. They measure between 4 and 9 centimeters in diameter. They bloom in late winter and early spring.

For their part, the fruits are fleshy, with a sweet taste, and are usually a source of food for some animals in the area. Also, each fruit keeps numerous seeds inside, which can remain viable for a couple of years.

When to sow carpobrotus?

It can be reproduced by cuttings at any time of the year. In the case of sowing it by means of seeds, it should be done during spring, early summer or autumn.

Where to plant carpobrotus?

Carpobrotus is a plant that needs to be grown in large spaces where it has access to direct sunlight throughout the day, such as the garden or terrace.

It can also be grown in pots, containers and embankments. Although it comes from coastal habitats, the carpobrotus is a specimen that can grow in wet and dry places.

In addition, it has the ability to resist strong gusts of wind, so it can practically be grown anywhere. Regarding the climate, the carpobrotus grows very well at temperatures within the range of 10ºC to 25ºC. However, it can tolerate temperatures down to -2ºC and others warmer, with a limit of 30ºC.

How to prepare the land?

Wave Fine Sand Substrate, 5 kg, White

Carpobrotus grows in well – drained, alkaline soils. They are generally planted in sandy or gravelly substrates, in loamy and saline soils, although their growth is reduced in places with high salinity.

Also, since it is not a demanding plant, the soil does not need to be prepared in any particular way. However, organic fertilizer can be applied at the end of winter to allow the plant to have the necessary nutrients for its flowering.

Organic fertilizer pelletized 25 kg Ecocelta

How do we water the carpobrotus?

Carpobrotus edulis is a very drought – resistant and low-irrigation species, so local rain conditions can be left to moisten the substrate. However, if watering is preferred, it is advisable to allow the substrate to dry out a bit before applying.

How often do we water the carpobrotus?

Irrigation for carpobrotus should be applied once a week. This should be moderate as high humidity levels could cause future infection of the plant ‘s leaves and roots. Additional irrigations will be necessary during hot summers, or in case of drought.

Carpobrotus rossii – Karkalla – 25 Seeds (RSL)

How to plant a carpobrotus step by step?

Carpobrotus can be grown from seed or from cuttings, although the second is the simplest and fastest method. The instructions for sowing it by each method are shared below.

by seed

  1. Place the carpobrotus seeds on a sandy and previously moistened substrate, in a container or small pot, at a temperature of around 23ºC.
  2. Apply a light irrigation and wait 1 to 2 weeks for them to germinate.
  3. Transplant to a larger pot as soon as the seedlings have grown sufficiently. Preferably outside, in a place partially protected from direct sunlight.

by cuttings

  1. Extract a section 20 centimeters long from a mother plant in good condition, which has some adventitious roots at its nodes.
  2. Allow the plant section to dry in the sun for a day.
  3. Place the cutting in a container filled with potting soil, previously moistened and with good drainage.
  4. Apply a light watering and wait for the plant to take root and grow.

What care do you need?

Carpobrotus is a plant that requires little maintenance, especially if it is grown under optimal conditions. However, it can become a problem if it is not kept under control, especially if its reproduction is not allowed in the region.

Fresh Carpobrotus rossii Mesembryanthemum Rare (Exotic Mesembs Succulent Seed) 20 Seeds

What pests and diseases affect carpobrotus?

Carpobrotus is a resistant species, however it can suffer a lot of damage from the insects Pulvinariella mesembryanthemi and Pulvinaria delottoi, although damage from the mite Typhlodromus phialatus has also been found.

Protect Home – Total Protection Anti-Ant Kit, 4 gel traps + barrier insecticide spray, interior and exterior

In the case of diseases, carpobrotus can be affected by the fungus Verticillium, as well as other fungal diseases such as Botrytis.

verticillium wilt

Verticillium or Verticillium wilt is a common soil fungus that thrives in temperate climates around the world and can be present in the soil for decades.

Verticillium wilt overwinters in the soil as dormant mycelium or tiny dormant black structures called microsclerotia, waiting for favorable conditions to return.

They enter damaged plant tissue through the roots and multiply. Many common weeds, such as dandelions and weeds, can be Verticillium host species.

Verticillium wilt is a disease that affects more than 350 species of eudicolous plants. It is caused by six species of Verticillium fungi: Verticillium dahliae, Verticillium albo-atrum, Verticillium longisporum, Verticillium nubilum, Verticillium theobromae, and Verticillium tricorpus.

Many plants with significant economic weight are susceptible, such as cotton, tomatoes, potatoes, oilseed rape, aubergines, peppers, and ornamental plants, as well as others in natural vegetation communities.

Many species and cultivars of eudicots are resistant to the disease, and all monocots, gymnosperms, and ferns are immune. To know more: Verticillium wilt in the Orchard: What is it? How do we identify it?


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