The Argyroderma testiculare is a succulent plant from a genus of more than 50 species (Argyroderma genus). It’s a type of plant known as a living stone because of its stone like appearance.
Found in the coastal Namaqualand in the northwest of South Africa, this beautiful looking succulent reproduces actively while its stunning purple flowers gives it plenty of character.
It thrives in saline soil and can grow to a height of 15cm, although it will usually grow just a few centimeters tall. The plant produces a flower of stunning colors while its impressive reproductive abilities ensure that the plant goes from strength to strength. They can reproduce so quickly that the ground can often look completely blue, due to the density of numbers.
Foliage: The leaves have a smooth texture and are kind of egg shaped with a split in the center where its flower blooms. As mentioned, it is part of a group of plants known as living stones and this is because of the stone or pebble like appearance. The A. testiculare is greenish gray in color and is stemless.
Flowering: The flowers of the Argyroderma testiculare display an incredible pink-purple color with a yellow center while the petals are long and slim. Some can produce white or yellow flowers. Blooms appear before and mid-winter.
Displaying: This is a great species for those who want to display it around the home as it can be kept in a container or planted outdoors providing the conditions are right.
Care Level: In general, it is an easy plant to care for as it requires minimal watering being a drought resistant succulent and can deal with temperature and season changes fairly well. It is a plant that comes from an area that is known for its relatively dry conditions and this makes it very tolerant.
|Names:||Not known (common). Argyroderma testiculare (botanical/scientific).|
|Max Growth (approx):||Height 5cm – 15cm max.|
|Poisonous for pets:||Not known, but it’s unlikely a pet will chew on this type of foliage, although they could be curious and might want to plan with them..|
Argyroderma testiculare Care
|Temperature:||Due to where the Argyroderma testiculare originated from it can comfortably handle temperatures of up to 85°F (30°C), however, it is not frost resistant and will need to be protected from cold weather (Min 50°F – 10°C) .|
|Light:||The Argyroderma testiculare thrives best in areas that are sunny but have partial shade. Some direct sun is great, so if possible, balance is best. Living stones are not happy in complete shade, it does not conform with their natural habitat at all.|
|Watering:||Due to its succulent nature, the plant is drought-tolerant and has average water needs. It is important that it is not over-watered. Watering during winter can almost cease. Overwatering is the worst thing you could do, especially if temperatures are cold. Water when the soil becomes dry to the touch.|
|Soil:||This is a plant that likes a loamy soil and therefore, a cactus potting mix is ideal. Should you want to mix your own soil it will require one part of course sand to two parts soil in order to encourage healthy drainage. Many growers will cover the top soil with gravel or small rocks which is fine to do and encourages drainage.|
|Re-Potting:||There will be a requirement to repot the plant every two to three years as it can outgrow the container. Containers do not have to be deep as the plant does have shallow roots. Using clay pots is beneficial because they are porous and remove water quicker, preventing waterlogged soil.|
|Air Humidity:||Providing the air humidity is average to dry, the plant will grow perfectly well. They’re not high humidity lovers unlike many plants.|
|Propagation:||Grown from seed, during the winter sowing will have to be place in vented containers or an unheated greenhouse. Seeds can be sown indoors prior to the last frost and germinated in a damp paper towel. Another option is to separate by division if clumps have formed .|
|Fertilizer:||Fertilizing once a month is advised but once the flowering begins, stop. Begin feeding again once growth appears. A cactus diluted fertilizer is good to use, at about half the strength. It’s debatable whether or not these type of plants even require feeding, so you could choose not to feed, but I would advise you to change the soil every two years (the new soil will provide nutrients).|
- Split Leaves – If the plant is showing signs of split leaves then it is highly likely that the plant is being given too much water.
- Plant death – Overwatering and possibly cold temperatures will cause major issues for the Argyroderma testiculare including killing the plant.
- Not flowering – What no flowers? This can happen when not enough light is given.
Elyssa Goins is an experienced house plant hobbyist who maintains over a hundred plants. She is a gardener, beekeeper, and a proud mother of four. She is a member of the American Horticultural Society, has been published in a Scientific Journal, and loves to talk about her love of plants. For the past twenty years, she’s been all about growing and caring for various fruits, veggies, herbs, livestock, kids, and houseplants. Managing a big garden to feed four growing kids and raising dairy goats has taught her so much about being an excellent plant parent and now is her time to share with you.