What are mesembs or, their full botanical name Mesembryanthemaceae? They are the most intriguing plants that are part of the succulent family most of which resemble living rocks. Mesembs we have in New Zealand include Lithops, Conophytum, Lapidaria, Fenestraria, Aloiniopsis, Pleiospilos and Titanopsis. Mesembs havhave quite unique requirements listed below.
As Mesembs are native to South Africa, the best place for your mesembs in your home, is a north facing windowsill if kept indoors. They thrive best with access to as much light as possible.
During the spring and summer months they thrive better still outdoors with an area that is partly shaded so their leaves are protected from direct sun during the hot part of the days and rain.
If Mesembs do not receive sufficient light, they become etiolated or leggy meaning they stretch and lose their shape.
Mesembs have got very specific water requirements which differ slightly between the different species.
Generally speaking however, there are parts of the year where they do not require water at all for weeks at a time.
Please google the type of Mesemb you have purchased and what its specific watering requirements are for each part of the year.
Mesembs thrive best in a mix that where inorganic matter dominates the mix with only a small portion of organic matter.
This is due to their native habitat where they grow mainly on sandy and rocky surfaces in the crevices of rocks.
Mesembs best thrive in temperatures above 20°C can tolerate low temperatures for short periods of time during to the colder months of the year.
In winter keep them away from log burners or away from the path of the airflow from your heat pump.
Any average household humidity level is fine for Mesembs and generally no additional humidity is required.
Mesembs do not require regular feeding with fertiliser.
You can feed them during the growing season at quarter strenght with a well balanced fertiliser but it is not essential.
Mesembs can mainly be propagate through seeds only that need to be germinated and then grown into plants.
Some mesembs grow in clumps including Lithops and Conophytum where single plants that have their own root system can be taken off the mother plant.