Conophytum truncatum (Truncate Cone Plant)

Last updated on September 11th, 2022 at 08:42 pm

Conophytum truncatum, commonly called the truncate cone plant or the eastern buttons, is an African succulent that gets its name from its unique leaves, which are shaped like cones, but with their tips cut off to form an almost heart-shaped leaf.

It’s one of the most popular types of succulents in cultivation, due to its unique appearance and slow rate of growth, making it easier to care for than many other types of plants. The truncate cone plant originated in South Africa’s Western Cape province and is also commonly grown in California and Australia.

Conophytum truncatum is a bulbous succulent species native to South Africa. It belongs to the genus Conophytum and the family Aizoaceae, which are small monocot plants with star-shaped flowers.

Origin and distribution

A succulent from South Africa, Conophytum truncatum, has been cultivated for over one hundred years and is well known among succulent collectors. Their origin is a mystery because of their lack of seeds and limited information about propagation.

They tend to grow in clusters on rocky outcrops in KwaZulu-Natal Province. These Eastern buttons will thrive in a bright window or patio with part shade during cold months. Trim off any dead leaves as needed to keep your plant healthy.

The Eastern button is drought tolerant once established but should be watered regularly when first planted. It prefers temperatures between 55-80 degrees Fahrenheit but can withstand warmer weather if kept moist.

The Eastern button does not require fertilizer and can be placed outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. This succulent does not have any pests but may attract ants due to its sweet nectar which attracts bees.

Conophytum truncatum propagation

Conophytum truncatum

Conophytum truncatum can be propagated by seed, leaf cuttings, or division. It is recommended to soak the seed in water for 24 hours prior to sowing in order to activate their endosperm; warm soil temperatures of 70–75 degrees and daily watering are also necessary for germination.

Leave them out on a warm windowsill for about two weeks. Once the seeds sprout, move them into grow-lamps until ready to transplant outside. Leaf cuttings should be taken from healthy leaves with at least one inch of stem.

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The leaves should then be allowed to dry for three days before being placed in a wet paper towel and kept under fluorescent lights at around 60 degrees F.

Division should only be done when plants have become overcrowded or after flowering has ceased, as it can lead to mutations that will reduce flowering potential.

Conophytum truncatum care information

Conophytum truncatum

Truncate cone plants are not difficult to care for, but they do require that you follow certain rules. The most important of these is that you water your plant with distilled water or rainwater in order to avoid mineral build-up. Tap water may be high in minerals, and could damage your plant over time. Also, note that overwatering can cause root rot in succulents.

Light requirement

Conophytum truncatum requires partial shade, especially in warmer climates. The plant will have difficulty withstanding intense sunlight and may burn. Too much direct sunlight can cause Conophytum to collapse. Make sure to place your plant in a location that receives plenty of light without getting scorched by direct sun rays for more than two hours per day.

You’ll know if you’ve placed it in too much sun when its leaves start curling up or when its body begins to collapse. If you see these signs, move them into a shadier spot immediately!

Soil/potting mix

All plants, including cacti and succulents, need proper soil drainage to thrive. By using a combination of sand, crushed rock, and other components at least three inches deep, you can create an excellent home for conophytum truncatum that drains well.

The additional benefit of adding sand to your potting mix is that it helps prevent root rot from too much water retention. Additionally, avoid planting in containers made with materials like plastic or clay as they tend to retain moisture longer than others.

If you’re unsure about what type of container is best for your plant, always consult with a professional before making any purchases.

Watering

Conophytum truncatum will only need watering once a month or two. You’ll know it’s time to water when the soil is dry about half an inch down. Try not to overwater as it will rot out at root level, which means you may lose your plant.

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If you’re unsure if your plant needs watering, feel free to use a moisture meter. Simply stick it into the soil and see if it reads more than three percent humidity. If so, then you should be good for another week or so before needing to re-water again.

Fertilizer

The easiest way to prevent conophytum plants from being stunted is to apply fertilizer once a year in spring. Use compost or another organic fertilizer. Apply at a rate of 1-2 tablespoons per pot, in addition to an application of standard 10-10-10 fertilizers.

Make sure not to overfeed your plant with fertilizer as it can lead to nutrient burn and even death. If you do not use any type of fertilizer on your plant, you should still be able to grow one successfully as long as you are careful about watering and providing proper drainage for your plant.

In fact, many growers will use sand instead of soil when growing these succulents because it drains better than soil and does not retain excess water as regular soil does.

Temperature

Conophytum truncatum does best at 60 – 70°F during summer, with cooler nights. If kept above 70°F for too long, your plant may not survive. But don’t worry if you have to temporarily keep your plant outside in mid-summer; simply bring it back inside when nighttime temperatures drop below 50°F. If you’re growing it in a container, be sure to bring it inside before frost threatens.

Humidity

Conophytum truncatum does well in a wide range of growing conditions, but it prefers humid environments. During their dormant season, plants should be allowed to dry out for about three weeks and then watered thoroughly to prepare them for growth when light levels are highest.

As long as humidity is maintained between 65 and 80 percent, your Conophytum truncatum will flourish and produce new leaves. This species needs full sun or partial shade when it’s actively growing; keep watering reduced during dormancy.

Pruning

When pruning, you have to be careful not to damage or break off parts of your plant. It’s best to start with sharp scissors, and it’s helpful if you can get a friend to help so that there are two pairs of hands. To cut stems, keep your scissors in an upright position and snap them down over a thick stem.

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Avoid leaving jagged edges on plant stems as they will quickly rot and attract mold growth. You should also avoid cutting through any flowers or buds. Most plants need to be pruned once per year; some require more frequent attention while others can go for several years without being trimmed back.

In general, larger plants should be trimmed less frequently than smaller ones since they don’t grow as fast and won’t need as much maintenance.

When to repot

Conophytum truncatum is a slow-growing plant that benefits from repotting every two to three years. After your plant reaches about 2.5 inches in diameter, it’s ready for potting up into a larger container. The ideal time to repot your Conophytum truncatum is during its dormant period—from late summer through early spring.

During these months, water less frequently but keep the soil moist and don’t let it dry out completely. This will help ensure that roots are healthy and won’t rot when you transplant them. Repotting should be done in a well-draining medium such as cactus mix or African violet soil.

Dormancy/Winter rest

Although Conophytum truncatum is a perennial succulent, it goes dormant in response to reduced light levels. In nature, it will grow and bloom during early spring, summer and autumn until mid-late winter when it enters its winter rest period.

While some people believe that their plant has died when it enters dormancy, they are mistaken; Conophytum truncatum will re-emerge if given proper care. The most important thing you can do for your plant while it’s dormant is to ensure that it doesn’t experience any temperature fluctuations between night and day.

If you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing at night, consider bringing your plant inside for the winter or moving it into a protected area such as an unheated porch or sunroom where temperatures remain relatively stable.

Conophytum truncatum flower & fragrance

Conophytum ficiforme

The flowers of Conophytum truncatum are small and white, growing in groups of two or three. The flowers have no petals and no noticeable scent. They are formed into a cone, with a short tube opening at one end and out curving into five protruding petal-like flaps on either side.

The plant is mostly self-fertile; insects pollinate it during nighttime hours. This is especially true for ants, which may seek out cones as food sources or nesting places.

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Growth rate

This South African native grows slowly and doesn’t flower until its 3rd year. Eventually, though, it reaches a full height of 6 inches (15 cm), with leaves that grow up to 5 inches long. It can reach 7 years old or more in optimal conditions.

Despite its rather unusual appearance, it’s not a true succulent, it’s actually a member of a subfamily of Aizoaceae, which is related to ice plants and firepink.

Toxicity

Conophytum truncatum is non-toxic and therefore safe ot grow around children and pets.

Although no specific toxicity values exist for conophytum truncatum, its relationship to other members of its genus should be considered.

Conophytums have been classified as non-toxic, non-poisonous, and slightly toxic due to their oxalic acid content. When ingested in sufficient amounts, oxalic acid can lead to severe kidney failure.

USDA hardiness zones

Conophytum truncatum thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. In areas with colder winters, you’ll need to keep your plant indoors or bring it into a greenhouse for winter storage. If you live in a warm climate, though, you can leave your plant outside year-round.

Pests, diseases, and problems

Conophytum truncatum is susceptible to several problems, including pests, diseases, and deficiencies. The most common pest that affects conophytums is mealybugs.

Mealybugs are small insects that suck sap from plants and can cause stunted growth or even death in severe cases. If you notice white cottony patches on your plant, check for mealybugs; if you find them, take a few minutes to carefully remove them with a toothpick or tweezers.

You may also notice leaves with black spots; these are signs of scale insects. Scale is another sap-sucking insect that will eventually kill your plant if left untreated.

Conclusion

There are many interesting varieties of conophytum out there, each with unique color combinations and leaf shapes. These small but beautiful succulents are very easy to grow in pots or greenhouses and make excellent houseplants for gardeners living in cold climates.

Their compact size makes them perfect for low-maintenance spaces, such as a windowsill.

Conophytums are also great starter plants for novice gardeners who want to try their hand at growing succulents without having to worry about overwatering or under fertilizing their plants. If you’re looking for a small plant that will add some fun color to your home decor, consider adding a truncate cone plant!