Schwantesia borcherdsii is a newly rediscovered Mesemb with interestingly shaped and textured leaves. Like other Lithops related genera such as Lapidaria, the old leaves shrivel and die as the new pairs form. It flowers with a single, yellow flower, up to 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter. It opens during the day.
Scientific Name: Schwantesia borcherdsii L. Bolus
How to grow and maintain Schwantesia borcherdsii:
It thrives best in full sun or light shade in summer. High levels of light are needed in winter to flower and for good plant development.
It prefers to grow in gritty, well-drained soil. use a cactus mix or add extra perlite or pumice to regular soil potting soil.
Water regularly in autumn through to spring and water minimally in summer, only when the plant starts shriveling but it will generally grow even in summer if given water. No water should ever be allowed to stand around the roots.
Fertilize once during the growing season with a fertilizer specifically formulated for cactus and succulents (high potash fertilizer with dilute low nitrogen), including all micronutrients and trace elements diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. They thrive in poor soils and need limited supplies of fertilizer to avoid the plants developing excess vegetation, which is easily attacked by fungal diseases.
It can be easily propagated by seeds, cuttings or division. Take the cuttings from a grown-up mother plant. Each cutting must contain one or more heads along with a fraction of root and permit them to dry out a couple of days, lay the cuttings on the soil and insert the stem end partially into the soil. Try to keep the cutting somewhat upright so that the roots are able to grow downward.
Sow seeds in autumn. Germination usually occurs within about a week or two. Seed germinates at 15-21 °C. Cover the seeds with a very fine layer of grit and water from below with a fungicide to prevent damping off. For the first 3-4 days cover the pots with a sheet of glass / clear perspex to keep the humidity levels high. Remove the glass and replace it with light shade-cloth and mist once or twice a day for the next two weeks after which most seeds should have germinated. From then on mistings can be reduced to every second and then every third day as the little plants grow.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems.