Argyroderma testiculare is a compact, perennial succulent, reduced to a single leaf-pair, sometimes branched, and forming short columns. The leaves are paired and oppressed, half-ovoid, distinctly keeled, 25-35 mm long, 15-25 mm broad, separated by 4-10 mm gap at the apex, dark green, yellow and eventually black with age, the old leaf-pairs forming a tight persistent bowl around the base of the foliage leaves. Flower color often varies between populations and sometimes even within a population. It produces a single flower, almost stalk-less or very short-stalked, bracteolate, 25-35 mm in diameter, deep purple, rarely pink, white or yellow, inner petals often shorter.
Scientific Name: Argyroderma testiculare
Synonyms: Mesembryanthemum testiculare
Common Names: Living stones
How to grow and maintain Argyroderma testiculare:
It 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.
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 topsoil with gravel or small rocks which is fine to do and encourages drainage.
It prefers ideal temperatures of 65ºF – 75ºF / 18-24ºC and no lower than 50ºF / 10ºC.
Water moderately but consistently during the growing season, Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Allow the top one inch of soil to dry out between waterings. During the winter reduce watering to a minimum.
Fertilize moderately during the growing season with diluted high potassium fertilizer.
It can be easily propagated by Seeds or division of larger clumps. Seeds germinate in 7-14 days at 21°C. Although they will start from cuttings, it is quite difficult to get them to root.
Re-pot every three or four 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.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems.