October 2013


A very rare tuberous-rooted species that grows in Zimbabwe. The only part of this plant that is actually succulent is the tuber, the rest is non-succulent growth. The stems are thin and hairy, the leaves are heart-shaped without any hairs on. The flowers are pollinated by small flies of various species; size being the important qualification and not the particular species of fly as the plant is pollinated over here by different flies from the ones they have in Zimbabwe. When pollinated, seed horns are formed of about 10 cm. Make sure you catch the seed before it is released, otherwise you will lose it. The seed should be sown within half a year of collecting, preferably earlier, because it has a limited shelf-life. The seeds can germinate within 24 hours if sown under plastic and kept moist. It will form a reasonably-sized tuber and flowers in the first year of growth.
The plant should be kept in a warm greenhouse (minimum 15°C). In the winter the tuber has to be kept dry, otherwise it will rot. The plant prefers an open soil with good drainage.

Ceropegia meyeri is very rare in cultivation, partly because seed is hardly ever available and the plant is not so easy to propagate from cuttings. It is possible to take cuttings, however, but you need a high temperature (25-30°C) and a high humidity. As with most other tuberous-rooted ceropegias, unlike some other caudex plants (e.g. Adenium obesum), a plant grown from cuttings will develop a tuber. The plants climbs through other plants, using them as support.

Ceropegia meyeri

Ceropegia meyeri

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Mimosa pudica is commonly called the sensitive plant. The name Mimosa comes from the Greek mimos (to mimic) because when touched, the plant ‘mimics’ animals that shrink away from being touched. The sensitivity of the leaves is a protection against grazing animals; the plant has the capability of feeling the animal approaching through air movement or vibration. Tapping the pot or touching the leaves will have the same effect; they will close up. Once the leaves have folded up, animals ignore them, not just grazing animals, but, for instance, grasshoppers interpret the closing of the leaves as a trap shutting them in and they will jump away. The warmer it is, the quicker the reaction of the leaves. The leaves fold upwards, contrary to those of Biophytum, which close downwards.
The plant originates from South-America, but has now spread over most of the world to all parts where there is no frost and sufficient water. It can be seen growing on the side of the road where it is will stay shorter than in other habitats, because of poor soil conditions. The plant has become a weed in some countries, esp. in Australia, because it does not have any natural (grazing) animals there.
It is a very easy plant to grow from seed; the seed needs to be soaked in water for 24 hours before sowing and then it can be sown under plastic. In about a week or so, germination takes place. To get a nice bushy plant, it is better to sow a few seeds in a plants rather than just one. The plant will flower in the first year producing pink flowers. Rubbing the flowers together, will pollinate them and in this way you can produce your own seed. Although the plant is a perennial, it is normally grown as an annual, because it will grow straggly and untidy if left to grow on. The plant can be grown in full sun without any problem, but do not let it dry out, because once it had dried out, it will not recover again.
It is an ideal plant for children to play with. After closing up, the leaves will reopen after about a quarter of an hour in good weather. The plant suffers no harm being played with in this way, unlike the Venus flytrap which will be killed if forced to close too often.

Mimosa pudica

Mimosa pudica leaves

Mimosa pudica

Mimosa pudica flower and closed-up leaf