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Products > Trichodiadema bulbosum
Trichodiadema bulbosum - African Bonsai
Image of Trichodiadema bulbosum
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Aizoaceae (Ice Plants)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Purple
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Mesembryanthemum bulbosum, M. intonsum]
Height: <1 foot
Width: 2-4 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Trichodiadema bulbosum (African Bonsai) - This slow growing succulent plant is naturally a shrubby low growing groundcover with a tuberous base barely exposed and with stems rising 6 to 12 inches and spreading to several feet with small 1/4 to 1/2 inch long succulent gray-green leaves tipped with tufty bristles of soft white hairs. In cultivation this plant is usually elevated 4 to 8 inches to display its much branched swollen tuberous (napiform) roots and as such is often treated as a caudiciform succulent. From spring to late summer and sometimes on through fall appear the small flowers with bright violet-pink petals surrounding yellow-green stamens. Flowers open fully when grown in bright light or full sun. Plant in a well drained soil where it tolerates heat and full sun but looks best in part sun in hotter inland locations. Water occasionally to very little in spring and summer - with its tuberous roots can be forgiving of infrequent missed waterings, even when growing in a container. Hardy to around 25F or lower for short durations but prolonged subfreezing temperatures are liable to damage caudex if exposed. A very interesting succulent that is often seen is cactus and succulent shows. Grow plants for a few years with roots buried and then elevate the caudex and place in a nice bonsai container or ornamental pot to display the interesting roots. Trim off top growth only to keep growth tighter so it does not hide the caudex. Listed as from hilly locations of the eastern Cape Province and around Port Elizabeth in South Africa, though Heidi Hartmann in her treatment of it in the Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Aizoaceae had the distribution as "uncertain". It was described by the German botanist Martin Heinrich Gustav Schwantes in 1926. The genus name comes from Greek 'trix' meaning "hair" and 'diadema' meaning "crown" in reference to the bristle hairs that top each leaf and the specific epithet is in reference to the swollen roots. 

This information about Trichodiadema bulbosum displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.