Pleiospilos compactus subs. canus is a mesemb that forms rounded clusters of branches, each branch having 1-3 pairs of pale green speckled leaves looking like split rocks. It is a free-flowering species with showy daisy-like flowers that appear between the paired leaves in summer-autumn. It distinguishes from the standard species for having 12 ovary-cells in most flowers and capsule shortly stalked. It is a very variable rock “mimic”species, that takes in a large synonomy of about 20 names. Habit: Growths with 1-3 leaf-pairs, it it may form small mats.
It is a very adaptable plant, it will grow whenever it has water and good sunlight, but it will become dormant in very hot weather to conserve water. It need full sun to light shade with a very open compost that drains quickly. The container should be at least 10 cm deep to accommodate the long tap root. Very little water is needed during the growing season, and we do not fertilize the plants. In late summer to early fall before nighttime temperatures fall, watering of the plants is stepped up to once a week. When the nighttime temperatures drop to 9°C, watering is restricted throughout the winter months. In the winter, it grows new leaves from the centre of the split, and the new leaves then consume the old leaves. If the plant is over watered, the old leaves remain and the plant usually rots and dies. Not to water it when it is splitting, just leave it alone. Even with no watering the leaves don't shrink and prune up like some succulents do when they are not watered they stays plump even after several months with no water. For an idea of how succulent these plants are, a mature specimen can easily go a whole year without any water in a typical European or North American climate. If the plants are grown correctly, ideally there should only ever be 2 pairs of leaves. The lower ones are the previous years, and the top ones, the current years. One sign of good care is a firm, round, symmetrical plant with no old leaves still attached at the end of summer. The plants are hardy down to -5°C. Propagation: Seeds or by division in early spring before new growth starts. One should not divide clumps too often because they bloom best when crowded.