Grow Conophytum Succulents: 143 Varieties and Care Basics

Conophytum succulents are the coolest little plants you’ll ever meet! These tiny, quirky guys come in all sorts of unique shapes and vibrant colors. From round buttons to tall cones, they resemble miniature works of art straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. You might even mistake them for pebbles or dumplings when they’re dormant!

types of conophytum succulents

Don’t let their small size fool you though. These mighty succulents pack a ton of personality and charm. Native to the dry deserts of South Africa and Namibia, they’ve mastered the art of survival by storing water in their fleshy leaves and going dormant during harsh conditions.

If you’re thinking about adding some Conophytum to your plant family, you’re in for a treat. This guide has all the tips and tricks you need to keep these little buddies happy and healthy. Get ready to fall in love with the adorable world of “knopies” or “buttons” as they’re affectionately called!

Types of Conophytum Succulents

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1,000 Types of Succulents With Pictures

Conophytum angelicae

conophytum angelicae

This tiny succulent looks just like the sandy soil and quartzite rocks it grows among – its new leaf pairs even mimic pebbles, while the old sheath remains look just like the rocks. Its earthy-colored flowers only open up at night, so even they stay well camouflaged.

Conophytum angelicae subsp. tetragonum

conophytum angelicae tetragonum

This famous little plant forms tight clumps or fans as it ages. Its claim to fame? Those super cool, rough, square-shaped leaf bodies!

Conophytum auriflorum

conophytum auriflorum

Picture a low, dense mat made up of cone-shaped, dark green succulent leaves tinged reddish on the sides. Inside the papery husks leftover from last season, you’ll find bright yellow flowers developing, along with new leaves getting ready to emerge fully once winter rains arrive. “Auriflorum” means “golden flower”!

Conophytum auriflorum subsp. turbiniforme

conophytum auriflorum subsp. turbiniforme

This variety has larger, flatter top-shaped grass-green leaf pairs without any red striations. Its petals are also longer and skinnier compared to the typical form.

Conophytum bilobum

conophytum bilobum

One of the most widespread Conophytum species around, this robust succulent forms a low, spreading mat. Its paired leaves are triangular with separate tips, growing 0.4-2.4 inches long. Large yellow flowers emerge from between the leaf pairs.

Conophytum bilobum subsp. altum

conophytum bilobum subsp. altum

Unlike other bilobes that hug the ground, this variety sends up slender upright stems as it ages. It also has notably fewer petals compared to other bilobed types.

Conophytum bilobum subsp. gracilistylum

conophytum bilobum subsp. gracilistylum

Down in the southern range for this species, you’ll find this unusual colony with pale pink flowers. These compactly-clustered plants have neat, glossy pale green leaves that are long and very slender, with fine spotting. The main plant body often divides into three seedling sections.

Conophytum blandum

conophytum blandum

While small at just 1.6 inches tall and 0.8 inches thick, this mat-forming succulent still has a robust, chunky appearance. Its fused leaf pairs have triangular tips about 0.4 inches long, often with contrasting green to red/purple coloring. Flower colors range from white to pale violet, deepening to rose shades.

Conophytum burgeri

conophytum burgeri

The “Burger’s Onion” is the oldest known Conophytum species and very slow-growing. Unlike most that are dormant in summer, this spring/summer grower stays cozy under a protective white sheath all winter instead! Mature plants can reach the size of a small chicken egg, with translucent pale gray-green to ruby red, broadly oval-shaped leaves.

Conophytum calculus

conophytum calculus

One of the most popular species around, these “marble buttons” form cheerful yellow-flowered clumps of spherical green heads without any dots or striping. Size can vary quite a bit between different forms from ping-pong to baseball dimensions.

Conophytum calculus subsp. vanzylii

conophytum calculus subsp. vanzylii

Found way up in Bushmanland region, this local variety of the marble buttons stands out with its uniquely colored epidermis (outer skin layer).

Conophytum caroli

conophytum caroli

A solitary or sparsely clustered dwarf succulent with pairs of unequal, soft, pulpy brown-green leaves up to 1.2 inches long. The convex to flattened apexes have a translucent window and shine. Narrow white, pink or tan flowers sometimes appear in pairs.

Conophytum chauviniae

conophytum chauviniae

This miniature rock-like succulent forms nice mats or domes of small grayish-green bodies topped with pretty pink or purple blooms. Very dwarf in stature!

Conophytum devium

conophytum devium

One of the smallest species out there at only 0.4 inches long and 0.2 inches thick! Its miniature green heads look a bit like tiny pears pressed together at the tips. The small flowers can be pink or white.

Conophytum ectypum

conophytum ectypum

A widespread small species that shows a lot of variation in size. Usually 0.3-1 inch tall and 0.2-0.4 inches wide, with fused cylindrical or cone-shaped leaves. The leaf tips are truncated or convex, grayish-green to purple, and have a smooth upper surface with a prominent line around the slit between the fused leaves. Striping is variable but not strongly reddened.

Conophytum ectypum subsp. brownii

conophytum ectypum subsp. brownii

A local form of C. ectypum that’s a bit more flattened on top and has a few extra lines, but otherwise similar.

Conophytum ectypum subsp. cruciatum

conophytum ectypum subsp. cruciatum

The leaf tips on this variety form a distinctive cross shape.

Conophytum ectypum subsp. sulcatum

conophytum ectypum subsp. sulcatum

The sides of the leaf bodies have noticeable grooves or furrows.

Conophytum flavum

conophytum flavum

These tiny bluish-green succulent mats or cushions are adorned with brilliant golden yellow flowers. The leaf bodies can grow singly, doubled up, or form dense clusters.

Conophytum flavum subsp. novicium

conophytum flavum subsp. novicium

A small mat or cushion-forming ground-cover that could get mixed up with C. minutum var. pearsonii. But the flowers and sheath remains tell them apart. Interestingly, it’s known to hybridize with C. wettesteinii in habitat.

Conophytum friedrichiae

conophytum friedrichiae

In nature this micro-succulent grows as single dime-sized bodies, but in cultivation it readily forms little mounds of purple or green “grapes”. So tiny and cute!

Conophytum friedrichiae var. triebneri

conophytum friedrichiae triebneri

A ultra-dwarf groundcover type with shiny purple-gray spotted bodies that offsets and forms good clumps over time. Very Lithops-like in appearance!

Conophytum frutescens

conophytum frutescens

An unusual spring daytime bloomer with orange petals – most Conophytum with that petal color only open at night. The paired fused leaves are flattened and claw-shaped, ranging from yellowish-green to turquoise, often with purple streaks or spotting. Up to 1.4 inches tall and 0.6 inches wide.

Conophytum globosum

conophytum globosum

Perfectly named – this little guy forms tight clusters of pale green, nearly spherical bodies under an inch tall (0.8 inch). No dots or markings, just a smooth, globe-shaped texture. The delicate white flowers have just a whisper of pink.

Conophytum hians

conophytum hians

In cultivation, this mat-forming species clumps up rapidly, almost too much with sparse watering! A vigorous little overachiever.

Conophytum jucundum

conophytum jucundum

Meaning “pleasant” in Latin, this forms cushiony mats of light-green spotted leaf pairs reaching up to 6 inches tall. There’s a lot of variation between populations, so it may get reclassified along with the similar C. obscurum in the future.

Conophytum jucundum subsp. fragile

conophytum jucundum subsp. fragile

A dwarf mat-forming type with the bodies spaced further apart due to easily breaking stem segments, hence the “fragile” name.

Conophytum jucundum subsp. marlothii

conophytum jucundum subsp. marlothii

The leaf bodies top out under 0.3 inches tall and have a flattened, finely marked appearance.

Conophytum limpidum

conophytum limpidum

A small Lithops-like cluster former with shiny bright green bodies. Really great garden or dish garden plant.

Conophytum lithopsoides

Conophytum lithopsoides subsp. koubergense

conophytum lithopsoides subsp. koubergense

These rusty-red dwarf bodies look just like miniature Lithops, with exquisite intricate markings and patterns. They can grow singly or in small mats.

Conophytum loeschianum

conophytum loeschianum

Talk about micro! The leaf bodies on this densely clustered succulent only reach a few millimeters across as they form tight mats or domes. But it makes up for it with brilliantly colored coppery-orange nocturnal blooms.

Conophytum longum

conophytum longum

A miniature prized by collectors for its velvety soft, lime green bodies and striking white or pink dainty flowers. One of the most generous bloomers in the whole genus!

Conophytum lydiae

conophytum lydiae

A petite beauty with lovely green bodies topped with striking pink flowers. It grows as a solitary rosette or offsets sparingly over time.

Conophytum marginatum

conophytum marginatum

Named for its reddish leaf margins, this dwarf succulent divides freely to form small to fairly large mats or domes up to 4 inches across. The purplish blooms are an added delight.

Conophytum marginatum subsp. haramoepense

conophytum marginatum subsp. haramoepense

The fused leaf pairs on this variety curve inwards, with the tips nearly fusing together into a tight seam.

Conophytum maughanii

conophytum maughanii

A unique almost fully subterranean species! Only the flat, windowed leaf tops poke up above the soil surface, giving it an embedded appearance. Usually a solitary headed plant or forming small clusters.

Conophytum maughanii subsp. armeniacum

conophytum maughanii subsp. armeniacum

The leaf bodies lie completely flat and opaque rather than forming the typical raised windows.

Conophytum maughanii subsp. latum

conophytum maughanii subsp. latum

True to its name meaning “broad”, this subspecies has convex, windowed leaf bodies that are often wider than tall, reaching up to 1 inch high. Bright yellowish-green to brilliant red coloring.

Conophytum minimum

conophytum minimum

Incredibly variable in markings, these tiny succulent bodies are dotted or lined with reddish patterning to varying degrees. Some forms are almost solidly red while others have minimal speckling. The small scented nighttime flowers are an added treat.

Conophytum minimum ‘wittebergense’

conophytum minimum wittebergense

An outstanding, incredibly well-marked form of the variable C. minimum. The minuscule bodies are completely covered in an intricate network of contrasting dark red dots and lines for a wildly decorative effect. Some clones look almost solidly black from the density of patterning!

Conophytum minutum

conophytum minutum

Appropriately named, this is one of the smallest succulent species around at only 0.4 inches tall! But it forms tidy mats or spherical mounds by readily offsetting its smooth gray-green mini bodies. Flowers come in shades of pink, purple or occasionally white.

Conophytum minutum var. pearsonii

conophytum minutum var. pearsonii

While not quite as minute as the species, this makes up for it by forming perfect geometric sphere-like clusters composed of the spherical offset bodies – a ball made of balls! So satisfying.

Conophytum obcordellum

conophytum obcordellum

Another tiny species with pancake-shaped bodies marked to varying degrees with raised glossy dots and lines. The patterns alone make this pint-sized plant a show-stopper, even without its flowers.

Conophytum obcordellum subsp. rolfii

conophytum obcordellum subsp. rolfii

Leaf bodies range from grayish-green to reddish, covered in coarse lines and reddish bumpy dots.

Conophytum obcordellum subsp. stenandrum

conophytum obcordellum subsp. stenandrum

A distinctively metallic gray-green form with fine lines and dots that don’t extend down the sides.

Conophytum pellucidum

conophytum pellucidum

The “pellucid” or translucent leaf tips give this small variable species its name. It forms low clumps or mats with each population showing slight differences in the patterning and coloration of the fleshy paired leaves.

Conophytum praesectum

conophytum praesectum

Part of the confusing C. longum complex, this has soft, fleshy stemless bodies composed of pairs of compressed leaves. Plants from the Pofadder area tend to have a lot of red-brown coloring. Flower colors can be pink, purple, white or mixed.

Conophytum pubescens

conophytum pubescens

A solitary or sparsely clustered miniature succulent forming little mounds of unequally sized dime-sized leaf pairs. Very petite!

Conophytum quaesitum

conophytum quaesitum

A dwarf ground-covering species that forms dense mats or clusters of light green, bi-lobed leaf pairs. It’s very variable, with leaves ranging in size, shape and the flowers varying in color too. Heavily branched without sinking into the soil.

Conophytum quaesitum var. rostratum

conophytum quaesitum var. rostratum

Distinguished by its beak-like protruding fused leaf tips, this variety forms dense cushions by offsetting prolifically. The small cream-colored, night-blooming flowers are scented. Shows variation in size, leaf shape and bloom color.

Conophytum ratum

conophytum ratum

One of the oddest species, this almost fully subterranean plant has translucent windowed leaf tips poking up, giving it the appearance of bizarre buried jelly candies! Usually a solitary or few clustered heads.

Conophytum ricardianum

conophytum ricardianum

A densely clustering species composed of numerous interlocking leaf pairs. Closely related to the pancake-shaped C. obcordellum.

Conophytum saxetanum


A petite mat-former reaching only 1.6 inches tall, but making up for it with potentially hundreds of tightly packed leaf pairs or “heads”. One of the smaller species that can live to be over 100 years old in ideal conditions!

Conophytum subfenestratum

conophytum subfenestratum

In habitat these are usually solitary, Lithops-like bodies slightly submerged with just the flat windowed top exposed. But they’ll cluster up in cultivation, producing pretty pink flowers with yellow centers.

Conophytum tantillum

conophytum tantillum

A densely branched miniature reaching just 0.4 inches tall and 0.3 inches wide. The cone-shaped to cylindrical leaf bodies have wedge-shaped apexes with a gaping slit, often with reddish striping that widens towards the tip. Papery brown sheaths remain.

Conophytum tantillum subsp. amicorum

conophytum tantillum subsp. amicorum

The thick barrel-shaped leaf bodies lack any red striping and have subtle keels. Produces unusual yellow betaxanthin-pigmented flowers.

Conophytum tantillum subsp. eenkokerense

conophytum tantillum subsp. eenkokerense

Close to the helenae subspecies with an angular shape and linked green spotting pattern rather than lines.

Conophytum tantillum subsp. inexpectatum

conophytum tantillum subsp.

More slender leaf bodies, usually lined with red or green stripes and a smooth texture without hairs.

Conophytum tantillum subsp. lindenianum

conophytum tantillum subsp. lindenianum

Yellowish-green leaves and plants have a diploid chromosome count.

Conophytum taylorianum

conophytum taylorianum

A dwarf, rock-like mat-forming succulent that produces an abundance of flowers late in the summer season. Quite variable in appearance with intergrading forms.

Conophytum taylorianum subsp. ernianum

conophytum taylorianum subsp. ernianum

Forms large dimpled mats under 1.6 inches tall, liberally studded with flowers in late summer.

Conophytum truncatum

conophytum truncatum

A very slow-growing clump-former that can eventually form massive mounds composed of hundreds of pea-shaped leaf pairs. Each year the old fused leaves get reabsorbed and replaced by a new pair.

Conophytum uviforme

conophytum uviforme

A popular dome-forming species reaching up to 1.6 inches tall, with small but attractively marked gray-green to earth-toned bodies. Some clones have incredible coloration and patterning that makes them extra desirable.

Conophytum uviforme subsp. decoratum

conophytum uviforme subsp. decoratum

The leaf bodies are on the smaller side with streaky markings and spots.

Conophytum uviforme subsp. rauhii

conophytum uviforme subsp. rauhii

Small bodies with a metallic sheen and striated patterning.

Conophytum uviforme subsp. subincanum

conophytum uviforme subsp. subincanum

Small bodies with sparse, faint markings.

Conophytum velutinum

conophytum velutinum

Heavily branched like its relative C. bilobum, but with pink-violet flowers instead. Reaching about 0.4 inches wide, the grayish-green velvety heart-shaped leaves are reminiscent of C. cordatum.

Conophytum violaciflorum

conophytum violaciflorum

This dwarf succulent forms dense clumps and was named for its purplish-violet flower color. It’s an easy-to-grow species related to the C. tantillum complex.

The oblong to cylindrical leaf bodies stand upright, with a shiny pale green or grayish-green surface sometimes lightly speckled with dark green dots. The angular fused leaf tips may have dark green or maroon rims. Papery remains of old leaves often get stuck in the crevices.

Conophytum wettsteinii

conophytum wettsteinii

A freely offsetting dwarf ground-covering species. It can grow as single heads, pairs, or densely cluster into mats or cushions over time. Very variable in form.

How to Care for Conophytum Plants

Conophytum are unique little succulents with some special care needs. But don’t worry, it’s easy once you get the hang of it! Here are the main things to keep in mind:


These guys love lots of bright sunlight during the day. But be careful – too much direct hot sun can actually burn their leaves.

The perfect spot is getting early morning sun rays. If growing them indoors, a sunny windowsill or balcony works great. Once it starts getting really hot later in the day, move them into some shade.

Don’t blast them with intense sunshine right away after their dormant period ends. Gradually introduce more sun exposure so they can adjust without burning.

Conophytum do best in warm climates. They can handle a little cold too, but freezing temperatures are no good.


During the fall to early spring growing season, give your Conophytum a good deep watering about once a week or every other week. This keeps them happy and hydrated.

But be careful not to overwater! These little guys can rot if they stay soaking wet for too long. Always let the soil dry out completely before watering again.

In late spring to summer, Conophytum go dormant and need very little water to rest. Maybe just a light sip once a month if needed.


Conophytum need a very well-draining soil mix that won’t stay soggy. Look for a succulent/cactus soil at your local garden store or online.

Or you can make your own mix by combining potting soil with peat moss, sand, perlite and a little limestone. The gritty ingredients help excess moisture drain out quickly.

Use a pot or container with drainage holes in the bottom so water can escape and not build up around the roots.


These low-maintenance plants don’t need much extra food. In fact, you can go 3 years before fertilizing a new Conophytum!

But to give them a little boost, you can apply a balanced succulent fertilizer in early spring before the growth season kicks off. And again when flowers are getting ready to bloom.

Just avoid anything too high in nitrogen. And always dilute the fertilizer before applying so you don’t burn the roots.

Pests and Problems

Overall, Conophytum are pretty hardy and don’t deal with many pests or diseases. But you may see some mealybugs or other little critters. If so, spray with an insecticide or try wiping them off with rubbing alcohol.

Watch out for sneaky caterpillars or snails munching on the plants too.

The biggest issues come from overwatering or overfertilizing, which can lead to rot or the leaves and stems swelling up and discoloring. Adjust your care if you notice problems.

How to Propagate Conophytum


You can propagate Conophytum using either seeds or clusters.

Want to multiply your Conophytum collection? You can grow new plants from seeds or offsets!

From Seed

  • Buy seeds online or from a nursery
  • Use a well-draining succulent soil mix
  • Sow seeds on the surface, cover with a thin layer of sand
  • Water well and wait about 1 month for sprouting
  • Then cut back on watering frequency

From Offsets

  • Look for little rosette clusters on a mature plant
  • Use a clean knife to remove a cluster with roots and leaves intact
  • Plant clusters in their own pots with drainage holes
  • Water regularly and provide gradual sun exposure
  • You can also try rooting stem cuttings this way

With a little patience, you’ll have lots more of these cute button succulents to enjoy!