Xerophyta retinervis

Justin Smith oothal@hotmail.com
Fri, 25 Sep 2009 19:32:49 PDT

Hi ya,


My X. retinervis is planted in a sandy mix about half sand half organic. It gets full hot Texas sun and I water mine so much that algae grows on the side of the pot!!!!! They stay wet though not in standing water. I most likely water mine a  bit too much but they seem to grow ok. I have not put them outside in the winter time to test cold hardiness. Something I am going to do this winter.  


The only way I have ever killed one of these plants is to transplant it. The smaller the plant the more apt it is to die if the roots are disturbed. I have found that if it is over 1 inch (2.5cm) high, that it stands a good chance of surviving transplanting. Any plant smaller than that is gonna die.


I hope you know that they are a resurrection plant. So if you let them dry out they turn all brown and dead looking. Add water and poof they are green again. This is a nice thing to show off to people by giving them this dead looking plant and tell them to just add water. Then in about 2 days they have a green and growing plant again! 


I am pretty sure the reason yours is not growing much is that it does not get enough water to grow well. I know I have read online about X. retinervis being hard to grow and such. This plant does not mind having lots more water.  


If you have any doubts about giving this plant water and plenty of it, just ask and I will post a pic of mine online for you to see. I have about 20 of them growing in pots that get watered everyday. 


I have read that they don't mind being crowded which I find is true. I have a drink cup that I used for a pot and it is packed tight with X. plants. lol They seem to like it. 


If you only have one plant then it is a leap of faith to risk it with a method of growing that seems to be at odds with conventional wisdom, but this plant will grow with plenty of water. It still is a slow grower but you will start to notice a difference.


Since you have yours in pumice and orchid bark. I would not disturb the roots and mix up sand with fine organic matter and put that in with water and let it wash into the cracks. Disturbing the roots really sets it back if it doesn't kill it. Don't let it dry out between watering. With full sun too.


If the tip of the leaves start turning dark in color and are not green then it is not getting enough water. That is the first sign that the plant is shutting down and going dormant.


If you have any more questions please feel free to ask here or send privately. 



Woodville, TX 8b/9a 





> Hello ,
> I have a Xerophyta r. I have it since previous year, but it doesn’t do
> anything for me. I was told that it must be looked after as a cactus? The
> plant stands in pumice and at the surface a layer of orchid mix, I don’t
> know if this is the good mix. What mix do You have please. Where do You have
> stand it? A lot of questions but thank You in advance for reading it. I hope
> like You that maybe some people have more experience with it and share it
> with us?
> Kind Regards,
> Marie-Paule

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