Trichodiadema densum is not a cactus but could be mistaken for one; its leaves are succulent and end in a circle of stiff hairs, giving the plant a similar appearance to some species in the cactus genus Mammillaria. It is a compact, mat-forming perennial short shrub, up to 4 inches (10 cm) high, with woody stems and thick fleshy roots. The green succulent leaves are up to 0.8 inch (2 cm) long and each tipped with a crown of white hairs. The daisy-like flowers are vivid carmine pink up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, opening in the morning and closing later in the day. The flowers appear from autumn through to spring.
Mesembs require a loam-based compost with the addition of extra drainage material such as horticultural grit or perlite. They all like good light conditions and plenty of ventilation. Some are relatively cold-hardy and can even survive mild winters outside. Most will survive temperatures down to freezing point. There are some Mesembs which begin to grow in the autumn as the temperature drops and the days get shorter. Examples are Conophytum, Manilaria and Mitrophyllum. Because different genera within the Mesemb family have different growing conditions, care mast be taken with watering. Some genera will benefit from a light spray water to prevent shrivelling during their dormant period. Grower’s Tips The basics of Mesemb care are very simple, with free-draining soil, plenty of sun and ventilation, and regular light watering in the right season. Yet the difficulties are endless, trying to adapt to the Mesembs’ own adaptability and to follow their growth habits in your particular conditions