Moonstone Succulents, botanical name Pachyphytum oviferum, are a type of flowering succulent endemic to Mexico. These plants get their name from the beautiful moonstone-like color of their leaves. They’re also called Sugaralmond Plant in some circles. The entire plant: stem, leaves, and flowers, are covered with a thin coating of white fur. If touched, the coating comes off, leaving a distinct discoloration where it was touched.
They are characterized by their bluish-white coloring and the round shape of the leaves. Leaves form rosettes along the stem, with flowering emerging from thin stalks protruding from the rosettes in winter. Unlike some others, the rosettes don’t die out after the flowering season but remain for a couple of seasons more. These succulents make excellent houseplants and are a perfect choice for those who are new to plant care. They are forgiving and easy to flower, rewarding little effort with excellent results.
- Pachyphytum oviferum Main Characteristics
- Pachyphytum oviferum Care
- Propagating Pachyphytum oviferum
- Potting and Repotting Moonstone Succulent
- Common Pests and Diseases
- Common Problems
- How to make your Moonstone succulent thrive indoors – Useful Tips (Video)
Pachyphytum oviferum Main Characteristics
|Common Name||Moonstone Succulent, Sugar Almond Plant, Pearly Moonstones|
|Botanical Name||Pachyphytum oviferum|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||10a to 11b|
|Mature Size||Height: 4 inches; Spread: 12 inches|
|Propagation methods||by cuttings, by seeds|
|Sun||Full sun to part shade|
Pachyphytum oviferum Care
Moonstone succulents make excellent houseplants and are a great choice for those who are new to plant care. They are also a good option for those who have pets or children, as they are non-toxic. If you are looking for a unique and low-maintenance plant that also flowers readily, then these succulents are the perfect choice for you!
Light and Location
These plants need full sun in order to maintain their beautiful blue-green coloring. Some shade is needed from the harsh afternoon sun, but plenty of light is essential. Without enough light, they will start to stretch and become leggy. When grown indoors, place them near a sunny window. Outdoors; they should be placed in an area where they will receive at least 4 hours of direct sunlight each day.
Water deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering. These plants are very drought tolerant and can go long periods without water. Over-watering is the most common cause of death in these plants, so err on the side of too little rather than too much.
When watering, use lukewarm water and water at the base of the plant, taking care not to get the leaves wet. This will help to prevent rot. Reduce watering cadence in winter as well.
These succulents like warm weather and do not tolerate cold well. They should be kept above 50 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. Optimal temperatures range from 75-78°F (24-26°C). Frost tolerance is good, 20°F (-7°C), if kept dry.
These plants do not like humid conditions and prefer to be on the drier side. If grown in a pot, they should have plenty of drainage holes to prevent roots from sitting in water.
Moonstone succulents do not need much fertilizer, and too much can actually be harmful. Feed them once a month at half strength with a succulent fertilizer or a general-purpose fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength.
Propagating Pachyphytum oviferum
Pachyphytum oviferum can be propagated from leaf cuttings. To do this, take a sharp knife and cut a leaf from the main plant. Allow the cutting to callus over for a few days, and then pot it up in well-draining succulent soil. Water lightly and keep the soil moist but not wet until roots form and new growth appear.
Potting and Repotting Moonstone Succulent
Moonstone succulents are slow and will only need to be repotted every three years or so. They can be potbound but do best when given plenty of room to grow. Use a well-draining succulent or cactus potting mix and a pot with drainage holes. A good potting mix is essential for growth. Mixes that retain water to some extent can easily result in root rot and kill the plant before it gets started.
When repotting, water the plant beforehand to make it easier to remove from the pot. Gently remove it from the current container and shake off any excess soil. Place it in the new pot and fill in around the roots with fresh potting mix, tamping down lightly as you go. Water thoroughly after repotting.
Moonstone succulents are non-toxic and safe to have around pets and children. They are not known to be particularly appetizing to animals, so there is little risk of being eaten.
Common Pests and Diseases
Pachyphytum oviferum is susceptible to mealybugs. These pests are small, white, and fuzzy and tend to congregate on the undersides of leaves. They suck the sap from the plant, causing leaves to yellow and drop off. If left unchecked, mealybugs can kill a moonstone succulent.
To get rid of mealybugs, isolate any affected plants, so they don’t spread to healthy ones. Then, wipe down the leaves with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol. This will kill any bugs on the surface of the plant, but they will also wipe off the coating on the leaves, so be mindful. For heavily infested plants, you may need to treat them with an insecticide designed specifically for mealybugs.
Pachyphytum oviferum are generally very hardy and resistant to pests and diseases. The most common problem is root rot, which can occur if the plant is overwatered or the pot does not have adequate drainage.
How to make your Moonstone succulent thrive indoors – Useful Tips (Video)
Is Moonstone Succulent Rare?
Moonstone succulents are not particularly rare, but they are not as common as some other types of succulents. They can be difficult to find in gardening stores but are readily available online.
How Big Do Moonstone Succulents Get?
Moonstone succulents are slow-growing and will only reach about 6 inches (15 cm) in height. They can spread up to 12 inches (30 cm) wide but are often much smaller. They can easily be displayed indoors as they remain small throughout their lifetime.
How Fast Do Moonstone Succulents Grow?
Moonstone succulents are slow-growing and will only add about 1 inch (2.5 cm) to their height each year. They don’t need to be repotted often, usually after three to four years.