Cheiridopsis is a genus that consists of 100 species of flowering succulent perennial plants, native to semi-arid regions in the far west of Namibia and South Africa. These succulents are mostly adapted to a very arid, winter-rainfall climate.
Cheiridopsis are distinguished from Lithops for the fact that the flower has 12 stigmas, versus 5 or 6 in Lithops.
Read on to discover all types of Cheiridopsis and their care.
1,000 Types of Succulents With Pictures
Types of Cheiridopsis
Cheiridopsis amabilis is a compact, cushion-forming succulent with leaves slightly unequal in length, and mucronate, many of which with an additional keel tooth near the leaf tip.
This species is most similar in shape to Cheiridopsis schlechteri, but its leaf resembles that of Ihlenfeldtia excavata in the pronounced horizontal keel portion with frequently one or two teeth. It produces pale greenish-white to pale lemon-yellow blooms in late autumn.
Cheridopsis brownii is a small cushion-forming leaf succulent. It has approximately the size of a Lithops and forms clumps 5-10 cm in diameter. It produces yellow blooms up to 6 cm wide in late autumn.
Cheridopsis bruynsii is a small cushion forming leaf succulent with neat toothy thin red-edged leaves. It has approx the size of a Lithops and forms small clumps. It produces yellow blooms in late autumn.
Cheiridopsis candidissima is a nice-looking ground cover succulent with a really smooth whitish-grey to turquoise foliage. It is now regarded as a mere whiter ecotype of Cheiridopsis denticulata. The leaves are united through their length when resting for protection against the sun. The flowers are pretty showy, white with orange rims.
Cheiridopsis caroli-schmidtii is a small leaf succulent, 5(-10) cm tall and 15-20 cm in diameter, it clumps easily and forms a mound of withered leaves. It produces chrome yellow, daisy-like blooms from early winter to spring.
Cheiridopsis denticulata is a perennial, compact, cushion-forming succulent that can get quite large (up to 10 cm tall and about 30 cm across). It has grey-white leaves which may be simple or somewhat toothed on the keel from which its name derives.
Cheiridopsis denticulata is perhaps the hardiest member of its genus. It produces yellow, orange or white blooms in late winter.
Cheiridopsis gamoepensis is a low, clump-forming succulent plant that develops as mats. It produces yellow blooms in late winter.
Cheiridopsis herrei is a small cushion forming leaf succulent. It produces yellow blooms in autumn.
Cheiridopsis imitans is a small compact clustered succulent about 10 cm tall and 20-30 cm in diameter, with a well-developed, thick hypocotyl-root-stock and markedly heterophyllous. It produces daisy-like, bright yellow blooms in autumn.
In leaf shape and in particular, in the type of heterophylly, Cheiridopsis imitans is most similar to Cheiridopsis turbinata, a larger leaved, mat-forming species on deeper soils.
Cheiridopsis minor, also known as Cheiridopsis meyeri var. minor, is a compact, mat-forming perennial-succulent plant less than 2 cm tall and 5-15 cm in diameter. It is highly branched with short visible internodes and produces two different types of greenish-grey leaves, the smallest leaves in the genus.
The resting pair are united, forming a Conophytum-like body and the pair produced in the growing season are separated. Entire plant sheaths over in summer heat.
Cheiridopsis peculiaris is a small plant with 2-3 branches and probably one of the most beautiful members of this genus, and, as the name implies, it is very peculiar. It produces light-yellow to somewhat reddish daisy-like blooms.
Cheridopsis pillansii is a compact, cushion forming and low-growing perennial succulent with very fat leaves. Its sculptural quality is enhanced by the dark dots on the greyish-white surface. This species makes big clumps up to 50 cm in diameter. It produces large, cream to yellow, but also pinkish or orange blooms in autumn.
Cheridopsis purpurea is a small tufted succulent that, when mature, forms large clumps or dwarf shrublets. It produces bright magenta pink blooms up to 3.5 cm in diameter.
Cheiridopsis robusta is a low, clump-forming succulent plant that develops as mats. The plant’s name robusta pertains to its growth and robustness. It is a widespread, extremely variable species. It produces bright yellow, but also cream to salmon blooms up to 6 cm in diameter.
Cheiridopsis rostrata is a mat-forming succulent with long upright gray-green leaves. It produces yellow daisy-like blooms in mid-winter.
Cheiridopsis verrucosa is a neat little plant with small leaves forming a long sheath resulting in an almost globular body that looks like Pleiospilos (living stones), thus separating it from all other species of Cheiridopsis.
The plant’s name verrucosa (warty) pertains to its leaves bearing small darker green dots. These dots are transparent and act as small windows to let the sunlight in for photosynthesis. It stays most of its life hidden underground until the first rain. It produces yellow blooms between late winter and early spring.
How to Care for Cheiridopsis
It is not particularly difficult to care for Cheiridopsis but it can get a little complicated because it has its growing period in the winter, when all your other succulents are dormant.
However, they are pretty adaptive. Novice gardeners won’t find it too difficult to keep a Cheiridopsis alive. Here’s how you can care for them:
They need a lot of sunlight to grow. You can expose them to full sunlight. It depends on the climate in your area, but these succulents are used to the hot summers of Africa and can easily tolerate the milder climate in America.
They don’t need too much water, like most succulents. Since they are active during the winter, they need to be watered more frequently when the temperature is low. September onwards, you will need to water it once every 4-5 days.
Follow the same rule you do for all succulents—flood the pot with water and let it drain out. Water again only when the soil is dry.
Use a quick-draining succulent soil mix for Cheiridopsis. Add perlite to avoid water retention and enhance drainage. Like all succulents, drainage is extremely important. Water retention can cause rotting and fungal growth.
You need to repot often. This succulent tends to grow horizontally, so as soon as all the ground is covered, it will need a new pot to continue growing.
You can add fertilizer about once a month. Choose a well-balanced fertilizer like 20-20-20.
Organic and slow-release liquid fertilizers usually work well for Cheiridopsis. Adding loamy compost to the soil is also beneficial and increases the nutrient content of the soil.
As it is active in winters, it is quite cold-hardy. If you experience mild winters, you can even place it outdoors. However, if the temperature reaches the freezing point, move the plant indoors.
Pests and Diseases
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about diseases with Cheiridopsis. It is a robust plant and is not susceptible to diseases that usually plague succulents.
Pest management is also very simple, as mealybugs are the only pests attracted to this succulent. If you see a fuzzy white growth in the nooks and crannies of the plant, immediately quarantine it to protect it from other plants in your home.
Remove the damaged leaves and use a pesticide on the rest of the plant to make sure there are no viable eggs left. If the succulent is heavily infested, it might be best to just get rid of the plant as mealybugs can be very persistent.
Cheiridopsis can be propagated from both seeds and cuttings. For best results, propagate this plant in early autumn.
If you are propagating by seeds, prepare a potting mix similar to that of the adult plant and place it in a wide and shallow container. Leave about half an inch of space from the top, do not fill the container to the top.
Moisten the soil by misting it with water. Place all the seeds on top of the soil (you don’t need to bury them). Now cover the container with a plastic wrap or glass cover to trap the moisture without avoiding sunlight.
The germination process should start in a few weeks. Be very gentle with the plants because they are very delicate for almost a year.
If you are growing these succulents from cuttings, use clean tools and make precise cuts. Let the cuts heal and then plant them in a well-draining succulent mix. Water every week or until the soil is completely dry. New buds should sprout in a couple of weeks.