Cotyledon Tomentosa “Bear’s Paw Succulent”

bear's paw succulent - cotyledon tomentosa

Last updated on July 11th, 2022 at 01:31 pm

Cotyledon tomentosa is a flowering plant in the family Crassulaceae. It has been recorded from southern Africa, including Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. The specific epithet refers to its hairy leaves (tomentose means covered with dense hairs).

Botanical description

Cotyledon tomentosa is endemic in Africa and it is closely related to the extremely variable Cotyledon orbiculata which occurs throughout Southern Africa. Cotyledon tomentosa is an herbaceous, perennial plant which grows from a woody rootstock. Its leaves are ovate-lanceolate and measure up to 30 centimeters in length by 12 centimeters wide.

The flowers are white or pinkish with yellow tips and the individual petals have five lobes of about one millimeter long each.

Distribution of cotyledon tomentosa

bear's paw succulent - cotyledon tomentosa

Southern Africa: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe (Cotyledon tomentosa).

Genus Cotyledon: perennial herbaceous plants with a woody rootstock.

Cotyledon tomentosa propagation

The cotyledon tomentosa is an annual plant that propagates through seed. It can be propagated by taking a stem or leaf, and placing it in damp sand where the root will quickly develop. There are many ways of collecting seeds from this flower including choosing ripe fruits and opening them up manually with your fingers before sowing the seed.

Propagation from seed is the only way to obtain new cultivars. When propagated from seed, cotyledon does not grow true to type and there will be many variations in any one batch of seeds collected at once.

The flowers can also be used as a cut flower, but it doesn’t last very long because they dry so quickly.

Cotyledon tomentosa care

bear's paw succulent - cotyledon tomentosa

Light requirements

The Cotyledon tomentosa is a plant that typically grows in partial shade but will thrive if given full sun. If grown inside, it should be placed near an east-facing window and watered regularly. Outside, the Cotyledon tomentosa can grow up to 30 feet tall (about nine meters). It thrives in soil that is moist, but not too wet.

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The Cotyledon requires moderate light levels, but it will have more intense colors if you provide brighter lighting throughout its life cycle. It is recommended that you use fluorescent or LED lights over natural sunlight because direct exposure can cause sunburns and fatal damages to your succulent plants.

Soil/potting mix

The Cotyledon tomentosa should be grown in well-drained soil mixed with sand for better aeration and drainage.

It is also best if the potting mix contains leaf mold that has been composted, as it will help provide nutrients to the plant.

If you do not have access to these materials, a mix of peat moss and sand can also be used.


bear's paw succulent - cotyledon tomentosa

The Cotyledon tomentosa prefers moderate water levels and a lot of humidity. In order to keep the plant in its optimal condition, it is recommended that you water around once every week or so. The soil should be moist but not wet when watering this type of succulents before putting them back into their pot. You are also advised to mist the plant with water on a regular basis.

The Cotyledon tomentosa needs as much light and water as it can get in order to grow. However, make sure that you don’t over-water or leave them out of the sunlight too long because they will die from thirst or sunburn respectively


Fertilizing Cotyledon tomentosa is not necessary; it thrives in the wild on an assortment of nutrients.

When to repot

The first time you should repot your Cotyledon tomentosa is when it has outgrown its container.

If the roots are spilling from the bottom of the pot and there’s not enough space for new growth, it may be ready for a bigger home.

You can also tell if your plant needs a larger pot by looking at the size of the leaves.

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If they’re always cramped, it might be time to consider a bigger pot.

The second time you should repot your Cotyledon is when the plant has not been watered in over two weeks and roots are beginning to dry out or turn brown from lack of water. If this happens, it’s time to water your plant and then repot.


bear's paw succulent - cotyledon tomentosa


Pruning is the process of removing parts of a plant that are injured, dead or dying.

Cotyledon tomentosa plants can be trimmed back at any time but it is best not to trim them in winter when they’re dormant and likely dry out quickly if left untrimmed. If you do need to trim in winter, you can simply trim off any dead or dying leaves.

Pruning will keep your plant healthy by getting rid of the parts that don’t need to be there anymore and ensuring it has plenty of space for new growth.

It also helps to stimulate the production of blooms because this is where many plants get their energy.

If you are going to trim your Cotyledon, it’s best not to remove more than a third of the plant.

Hardiness zone

The hardiness zone of this plant is USDA Zone 11. This means it can be perfectly grown in the following states: California, Arizona and Nevada.

This plant can survive 18 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for an extended period before going back to a dormant state with proper protection from winter weather conditions such as frost or snow. It does not tolerate frost.


The Cotyledon tomentosa is a non-toxic plant.

Pests and diseases

The Cotyledon tomentosa is prone to diseases such as leaf spots and rots. It can also be vulnerable to pests such as whiteflies, aphids, and thrips.