Dinteranthus puberulus - 20 seeds
Dinteranthus microspermus is a small stemless succulent that grows above ground and not markedly buried after the manner of Dinteranthus vanzylii. It is usually solitary or few branched, but subspecies 'puberulus' forms small compact groups with 3-7 branches up 2 to 3 cm high, each with a single leaf-pair in the resting state.
Cultivation and Propagation: Dinteranthus are summer growing species with dry rest period over winter but they do not shows an apparent dormant season like Lithops. Paying attention to the particular growing requirement of Dinteranthus is especially important. If you provide the Dinteranthus with the right conditions, they will reward you with their unique shape, size, colour and a proliferation of blooms in autumn. However, Dinteranthus are tricky plants that are very particular about their growing conditions and require the right maintenance in order to keep happy. But don't be afraid even the best growers have plants that mysteriously dry up, or leave during the night. While Dinteranthus are picky about their care, if you are patient and remember the basics, your efforts will be rewarded. Being small plants, a representative collection can be grown on a patio table, a sunny windowsill or a shelf in the greenhouse.
Growing rate: Slow growing for a mesemb.
Soil: Easy to grow they need a very open mineral, fast draining mix with little compost and a high degree of grit, coarse sand, small lava gravel or pebbles. They can grow outdoor in sunny, dry, rock crevices (protection against winter wet is required) They can also be cultivated in alpine house, in poor, drained soil.
Repotting: Keep them in small pots as solitary clumps or as colonies in large, shallow terracotta seed pans. Dinteranthus may stay in the same pot for many years. Plants grown in larger containers have frequently relatively poor flowers. Flowers might improve when the plants are given their own, small individual pots.
Exposition: Give them the maximum amount of light you are able to give them, but care should be taken about exposing them to the full blast of the sun rays in summer (The only exception to this is seedlings in their first year that enjoy a shades place). Such tiny plants can easily get scorched or broiled and their appearance spoiled (this may not matter in the wild, where the Dinteranthus have probably shrunk into the ground and becomes covered with sands).
Basic watering routine: Gives some water all year, more in Spring and again in autumn. Keep rather dry during coldest winter month and start watering regularly after the old leaves completely dry. (Usually late March or Early April) Water freely during the growing season, soak the compost fully but allow it to dry out between waterings. Nearly all problems occur as a result of overwatering and poor ventilation especially when weather conditions are dull and cool or very humid. If too much water is supplied the plants will grow out of character, bloat, split and rot. When in doubt DON'T WATER. Where the resting season is in the winter and central heating gives very dry air in the home, give a light top spray once a week to simulate the desert dew and prevent excessive dehydration. After flowering in the summer and extending through winter season the plant doesn’t need watering, but they will still be growing, the new bodies will be increasing in size extracting water from the outer succulent leaves, allowing them to shrivel away. In fact the plant in this time extracts water and nutrient stored in the outer succulent leaves, allowing them to dehydrate relocating the water to the rest of the plant and to the new leaves that form during this period until the old leaves are reduced to nothing more than "thin papery shells".
Fertilization: Feed them once during the growing season with a fertilizer specifically formulated for cactus and succulents (high potash fertilizer with a dilute low nitrogen), including all micro nutrients and trace elements diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. They thrive in poor soils and need a limited supplies of fertilizer to avoid the plants developing excess vegetation, which is easily attacked by fungal diseases. Some growers fertilize frequently, some hardly ever. However, for the highly succulent mesembs, (Lithops, Conophytums, etc.) fertilization is not really necessary.
Hardiness: Overwinter them preferably not below 5° C (But will take a light frost and are hardy down to -7° C for short periods if they are in dry soil). USDA zones 9A – 11.
Uses: Container, rock garden.