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Moonstone succulent (Pachyphytum Oviferum), is a beautiful small to medium size succulent belonging to the Crassulaceae family and is native to the mountains of Mexico. It features super chubby leaves tightly packed, almost shaped like little eggs (or almonds, hence its other common name ‘Sugar Almond Plant’), rounded in loose rosettes up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall and to 12 inches (30 cm) wide.
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You can find Moonstone succulent in a variety of stunning shades of pastel colors: gray, purple, blue, pink, yellow, and even orange! On a closer look, you’ll notice a dense white powdery coating called ‘farina’ present on the leaves and the flowering stem. Moonstones sprout in late winter or early spring, and at that time of the year, you’ll be able to spot bell-shaped little flowers in hanging clusters on a separate stem growing from the center of the plant: the outer is greenish-white and the petals are beige to bright pink or orange. The rosette will stay beautiful and won’t die after flowering.
It’s interesting to know that the botanical name Pachyphytum Oviferum has Greek and Latin origin. In Greek ‘Pachys’ means ‘fat’, and ‘phyton’ means ‘plant’. The second part of the name comes from Latin: ‘ovum’, which means ‘egg”’ and ‘fero’, which means ‘ to bring, to carry’, hence ‘fat plant bearing eggs’.
This eye-catching succulent, with its unique and attractive aesthetics, is very popular and is often given as a houseplant gift, although it’s quite delicate and needs to be handled with care, as skin oil can damage the opacity of the leaves.
Keep reading this informative article on how you can care for and propagate Pachyphytum Oviferum ‘Moonstones’ to find out more!
How To Care For Moonstone Succulent
If you are a beginner, then Moonstone succulent is the perfect plant to grow, because it doesn’t require any special care and can survive in many environmental and growing conditions. In any case, keep in mind that you will need to provide your chubby succulent with proper growing conditions to make it thrive well.
Pachypytum Oviferum grows well in pots, container gardens, and terrariums. You can choose to pot yours individually or combined it with other succulents: in this case, I recommend you to keep a little distance between the different plants, to allow for easier waterings and stronger growth of the roots and the leaves.
Light And Watering Requirements
Moonstones do not require a lot of attention as long as their light and water requirements are met.
Our chubby succulent definitely loves the sunlight: to grow and stay healthy, this plant needs plenty of light and a temperature of at least 30° F (-1,1 C°), because Moonstone succulent is not a ‘cold hardy’ and will die in frozen temperature.
If you live in a very freezing climate, it is best to plant your plant in pots and keep them indoors in a sunny spot such as near a southern-facing window, or use grow lights to ensure the right amount of light and warmth, especially during the winter season.
If grown outdoors as part of a succulent garden, your Moonstones should be planted is in an area that gets 6 hours of morning sunlight. If your area experiences intense summer heat, give your Moonstones light shade during summer afternoons to prevent its leaves to get sunburns.
When Moonstones experience a shock, such as sudden changes of temperature, or a lack of or excess of sunlight, they may “blush”, meaning that they tend to turn into a different color. Their leaves may undergo a change of shape too, by stretching out towards the sun. If you want to make sure your Moonstones maintain a uniform color, it’s a good idea to turn them as they adjust towards the sunlight.
How Often Do You Water Moonstone Succulent?
Although Moonstones have the same watering needs as most succulents, keep in mind that these plants, unlike many other succulents, need more watering during the winter as this is its growing season. Always remember that Moonstone succulent is sensitive to overwatering and needs ‘watering with care’, otherwise the roots will rot and the plant will end up suffering from pests and diseases.
Overwatering your succulents can be very damaging: these little plants don’t need much water and not as often as you might think. This is because their leaves and roots have the ability to store water for surviving in extreme weather conditions, giving them a more swollen or fleshy appearance than other plants, a characteristic known as succulence.
When succulents get too much water their leaves, stems, and roots start to swell up and eventually burst, causing black spots.
The best way to water this succulent is by the ‘soak and dry’ method: you want to water the soil until it is completely soaked and wait until it’s totally dried out before watering again (this may depend on your location and container). Avoid getting water on the leaves to maintain intact the beautiful coat of ‘farina’. It’s also important to keep the succulents in well-draining soil in a pot with a drainage hole to avoid roots rot.
Pot And Soil
If you plan to grow your Moonstone succulent in a pot, it’s better to choose a terracotta or clay one with drainage holes to reduce the risk of overwatering and consequent roots rot. Terracotta or clay pots provide a healthy environment for most plants. The porosity of clay allows air and moisture to penetrate the sides of the pot.
That being said, terracotta pots release moisture faster when it’s hot outside, which means you’ll need to water plants more frequently to prevent soil from drying out.
Like most all succulent plants, Moonstones do not like their roots to remain wet for prolonged periods, so their soil mix should be well-drained. You can add to a well-draining cactus mix 50% to 70% of mineral grit such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite.
If you do need to add some nutrients to the soil, it is best to apply an organic fertilizer at half-strength during the winter season when the plant is actively growing.
Repotting Moonstone Succulent
Moonstones are slow-growing plants and only need to be repotted every couple of years, better if after flowering to allow the roots to breathe and to replenish the nutrients in the soil. They stay compact, although may spread about 12-in (30 cm) wide. When choosing a new pot, it’s better to pick one just 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) larger: if the pot is too large it will hold too much water, which could be very damaging for the roots of your succulent. This is why I always recommend using a pot with drainage holes.
When transplanting rinse the soil off of the roots and look for any signs of pests or decay. Don’t be afraid to prune roots too – it’s helpful and encourages new growth. Avoid overwatering: during the repotting process, be careful not to soak the plant in water for too long. You should also avoid watering your plant right after you put it in a new pot. Your beautiful Moonstone succulent will get root rot if it’s exposed to too much water during the repotting process.
Pests And Diseases
Moonstones tend to be quite a pest and disease-resistant plants, but they can still be harmed occasionally by insects, especially mealybugs. If you notice that your succulent has stopped growing, it is most likely due, unfortunately, to a pest invasion.
Getting rid of mealybugs can be quite challenging since these pests have a wooly protective cover making them resistant to common pesticides. Treat the infestation as early as possible, when only a few insects are observed to keep the plant healthy and avoid contamination of other plants. With a large infestation, it’s necessary to spray the plants with a 70% rubbing alcohol or isopropyl solution with multiple applications. To completely get rid of these tiny pests it’s necessary to kill and wash off every single one.
How To Propagate Moonstone Succulent
Propagating Moonstone succulent from leaves is quite easy. Make sure to choose healthy leaves from the mother plant for a higher chance of success. Look for full and plump leaves, not dehydrated and flat leaves. Choose leaves that are uniformly colored without any discolorations, spots, or marks. Do not use leaves that are damaged, ripped, torn, or misshapen. Gently remove the leaves from the stem.
Using your fingers, carefully twist off the leaves from the stem with your thumb and forefinger. You’ll notice that some leaves come off quite easily, whereas some others are firmly attached to the stem.
Using a gentle motion, twist the leaf back and forth until it comes off. Make sure to remove the whole leaf, including the base that attaches to the stem otherwise your newly propagated plant will not survive. Before replanting the leaves in the new soil, allow the leaf to dry out for several days to callous over.
When the leaves are nice and dry, dip the ends into the rooting hormone (optional) sticking them cut-side down into a well-draining succulent potting mix. While waiting for the leaf cuttings to root, keep them in a shaded place, away from direct sunlight.
After almost a month, you’ll notice little pink roots growing from the cut and a new rosette will grow from the base of the leaf. When enough rosettes are grown, it’s time to gently remove the original leaf cuttings from the rosettes and repot these last ones in a new container with well-draining soil.
Are Moonstones Toxic to Pets?
Moonstones are totally harmless to your beloved pet, as they are mentioned on the ASPCA’s list of non-toxic plants for dogs and cats. That being said, if your furry friend has ingested it in large amounts, it may experience gastrointestinal upset and vomiting. It’s always a good idea to call your veterinarian straight away to avoid possible complications. If you like to read more about pet-safe, non-toxic succulents you’ll find lots of info in this interesting article. On the other hand, make sure you avoid buying and bringing home one of the toxic varieties mentioned in this great article.
Hope you enjoyed reading this article on Moonstone succulent (Pachyphytum oviferum) and found it comprehensive and enlightening! If you like, feel free to leave a comment or share your knowledge on this topic in the section below.
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