Orostachys is a small Asian genus that features elegant rounded rosette forms similar to Sempervivum. Like the Sempervivums, Orostachys have a “hens and chicks” growth pattern with leaves that feature a spine, resulting in them being cold-hardy.
These succulents are fast growers and produce white or pink bell-shaped flowers with grey or green leaves. They tend to grow densely but are not common in most parts of the world. They natively grow in China, Korea, Kazhakstan, Mongolia, and Japan.
Despite being hard to find, Orostachys are an excellent investment and are rewarding to grow. They are easy to take care of and propagate over time. Here’s a breakdown of how to care for and propagate Orostachys.
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How to Care for Orostachys
Orostachys are easy succulents to grow and look after. Like most succulents, the Orostachys are designed to thrive and grow without a lot of requirements. In addition, they are attractive since they reduce the risk of dealing with dead plants, given that they are easy to care for.
However, you’ll need to consider some crucial things to avoid to help ensure that your succulent has an excellent survival chance. Some great ways to care for your Orostachys are as follows.
Provide the Right Growing Conditions
Orostachys come in different types and feature varied growing conditions to thrive. The most common species are the Chinese dunce caps and Orostachys Spinosa.
The Chinese dunce caps thrive well in cold temperatures and are more cold-hardy than other succulent options. They can withstand temperatures as low as -23.3℃ (-10℉) found in zone 6.
They can also thrive outdoors in zones 4 and 5 for a whole year without interrupting their growth trajectory. The ability of these succulents to survive such cold temperatures is thanks to a handy chemical that they form.
The chemical helps prevent water from crystalizing within the cell walls of the Chinese dunce cap when the temperature is too low.
The Orostachys Spinosa also thrives in the winter, with growing temperature conditions dropping to up to -34.4℃ (-30℉). They can grow even under snow cover without any issues throughout the winter season.
However, Orostachys should not be grown under conditions where there are constant rains and snow thaws. It will help avoid dealing with saturated soil that will not support their growth.
Instead, grow them elsewhere or make a significant adjustment to the soil to promote rapid drainage. Additionally, ensure that you plant them in a slopy area to allow the water to flow through.
During Spring and Summer, the Orostachys grow actively since they get access to bright light and the right soil conditions. An alternative to planting Orostachys in the soil is adopting the use of hydroponics. The succulents would grow in a mixture of the proper nutrients to promote healthy growth. In addition, it will provide the right growing conditions for your Orostachys succulents to flower and grow.
Implement Standard Pruning Practices
Like any other succulents, the Orostachys species are significant options that don’t require much attention. They will thrive well if left in the right conditions without constant tampering and pruning.
Watering needs to be done sparingly since they hold on to the water for some time and will also help avoid drenching them. Leave them in indirect exposure to bright light to facilitate the growth processes.
When watering your Orostachys, ensure that you do it in the morning and not evening. Doing this helps the water dry out during the day to prevent it from remaining on the leaves. Additionally, any dead leaves need to be removed to avoid insects and rot.
Prevent Pest Infestations
Pests and diseases on Orostachys are not common but may occur if the soil has too much water. So, watering Orostachys sparingly is a great practice that keeps pests and diseases away to ensure that it thrives.
When the soil is saturated with water, the Orostachys may suffer from root rot, significantly inhibiting the growth. Therefore, if you notice you have added too much water to the soil, it is best to replant your Orostachys elsewhere.
Additionally, a lack of sufficient water drainage in the soil will result in the infestation of mealybugs. Due to the densely growing leave, mealybugs can be hard to target and get rid of unless they attack the stem or the roots.
If the mealybug infestation only affects the roots and the stem, you’ll have an easier time getting rid of them. You would have to remove the succulent from the soil and examine the roots accurately.
The roots will often feature a white substance that could also appear in the soil. Take the time to wash the roots and gently cut off any affected parts. Once that is done, allow the succulent to dry completely, ensuring that the mealybugs are dead, then replant it.
How to Propagate Orostachys
Orostachys are great at self-propagating since they form a broad, dense mat of packed rosettes. Given time, these Orostachys propagate through offset separation.
The offsets form by connecting to the mother plant through modified, horizontal stems known as stolons. As time goes by, the offset (baby plant) reaches the soil and takes root. Afterward, the modified stem (stolon) dries and breaks off.
Once the stolon breaks off, it leaves an independent Orostachy that can now continue to form leaves and flowers. However, you can also propagate an Orostachy succulent without waiting too long.
Look for a pup with already formed roots and remove it from the Orostachy by snipping the stolon. Ensure that you cut the stolon closer to the pup to prevent stolon roots from growing. Then, place the baby plant into a small pot with well-draining soil but don’t water until new growth occurs.
If you are working with a Chinese dunce cap, you can propagate it using individual leaves. Since they thrive in harsh climates, you can rely on the leaves. In addition, these leaves are usually plump and firm, making them an excellent option for succulent propagation.