Adromischus maculatus is a succulent plant that grows in the form of small rosettes. They are attractive plants and relatively easy to grow succulents. Many Adromischus maculatus cultivars are available, but it’s not always easy to identify them due to their similarity! In this article I hope to shed light on how to best grow this shade loving plant.
Adromischus maculatus (the spotted rock-plaite) is a succulent plant of the Crassulaceae family. It originates from Africa, where it grows in rocky areas with little water. The Adromischus genus includes about 15 different species. In cultivation many varieties and hybrids are available that all fall under the name of Adromischus maculatus.
They are used as ground cover, in dish gardens, rockeries, or window ledges. These plants can also be planted in pots to bring indoors during the winter and outdoors during the summer. If you use a container to house Adromischus Maculatus, make sure the container has a drainage hole.
Origin and description of Adromischus maculatus
Adromischus maculatus (commonly known as Adromischus marrii) is a succulent plant which naturally occurs in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape of South Africa, growing on rocky hillsides and mountain slopes up to 2000m above sea level. It can also be seen growing abundantly in gardens and on the verges of roads or railway lines, where it sometimes forms small thickets. Occasionally, Adromischus marrii is referred to as Adromischus cristatellus var versicolor.
Adromischus maculatus has triangular, erect leaves and bright red flowers which appear in the late summer (August/September). The flowers are on a short stem and form a cluster at the tip of the stem, often there will be more than one flower per inflorescence. Adromischus maculatus also produces offsets from which new rosettes can grow (a characteristic shared by many members of the genus Adromischus).
Adromischus maculatus is one of the most common and widely distributed of all of the Adromischus species, in cultivation, it is often referred to as “bastard stonecrop” due to its succulent leaves which resemble those of Crassula ovata (pygmy stonecrop), however unlike Crassula ovata, Adromischus maculatus has a compact, globular leaf rosette which is light green in color.
The Adromischus genus of plants was formerly included within the Crassula family, but now it’s more commonly placed in the Mesembryanthemaceae (Bromiliad) family and this broader group also contains other succulent plant genera such as Aeonium, Cotyledon and Pachyphyllum.
Adromischus maculatus is a very variable species, with individuals differing in the color of its leaves (ranging from light green to reddish-green). Some plants also have pink or red spots or lines on the backs of their rosettes. Some plants also have a white stripe on their leaves (hence the common name “strawberry stonecrop).
The genus Adromischus
Adromischus is a fairly small genus of succulent plants that are native to Southern Africa. They are semi-parasitic and grow in the ground, wherever there is sufficient moisture or rainfall. The leaves vary from 8 mm up to 10 cm long by 2-6 mm wide.
The flowers are star shaped with 5 petals that are usually a shade of pink or red. They grow individually on stems that can be ten inches tall and tend to flower intermittently at irregular intervals over periods as long as two years.
In addition to being attractive, these plants do well in rockeries or containers with other succulents. These plants will take a certain amount of neglect, but they do require good drainage and very bright light.
How to propagate Adromischus maculatus
To propagate Adromischus maculatus you can easily separate the rosettes from the mother plant, usually by carefully pulling them off or cutting them with a knife (the rosette of an Adromischus will come away cleanly from it’s “rootstock”). The rosettes should be potted up in a free draining soil mixture and kept watered, but not overwatered (as Adromischus maculatus does not tolerate wet feet).
Any suckers which grow from the base of the plant can also be removed and potted up. Adromischus maculatus are relatively slow growing plants and often take several years to reach maturity (so at the very least you need to have a 6 month old rosette before attempting propagation). Once mature, flower stalks will eventually start to grow, from which the flowers will appear.
Another way of propagating Adromischus maculatus is by leaf cuttings. After a leaf has dropped off it’s rosette you should attempt to remove as much of the midrib as possible (this contains the genetic information from the mother plant) and then re-plant the leaf into a free draining soil mixture.
Adromischus maculatus are relatively easy to grow in cultivation, but they do need good light levels with lots of air movement and occasional watering (from spring until early autumn), however during the rest of the year you should be able to leave them to their own devices if kept at a minimum temperature of 10°C.
General care information of Adromischus maculatus
In full sun, Adromischus maculatus will be happier than in partial shade, but is very adaptable and can tolerate low light. Most of the time it will look best in medium light.
Adromischus maculatus is perfectly happy at normal room temperatures. In fact, it may drop its leaves if subjected to temperatures below about 10-12ºC. However, it will grow much faster and remain compact if given extra warmth, especially during the growing season. This can be easily achieved by standing the pot on an insulating mat or placing it next to a warm wall.
Adromischus maculatus is not sensitive to under-watering, but will grow faster with more watering, especially during summer and early autumn when actively growing new leaves. Use some judgement and err on the side of over-watering.
Adromischus maculatus needs little fertilizer but will grow faster if given some. A half-strength dilution of balanced fertilizer once a month during growing season is enough to keep it thriving.
Potting medium and repotting
Adromischus maculatus grows best in an open mix, such as equal parts of potting soil, coarse sand and leaf mould. It will also grow well in a ‘cactus mix‘, which is normally more open than bark mixes.
Adromischus maculatus should be repotted every 2-3 years (depending on growth rate) into a larger pot with fresh mix. At the same time one of its companions should be removed and replaced with a companion which needs more bright light.
Pests and diseases
Adromischus maculatus is susceptible to common greenhouse pests such as aphids and spider mites, but these rarely appear if the growing environment is kept clean.