Cotyledon Orbiculata, or pig’s ear plant, is a succulent plant ideal for xeriscaping. It likes arid climates and very, very well-drained soil, as it’s used to desert climates. It also thoroughly enjoys full sun, as that’s where it gets the brunt of its food. Fertilizing is optional, because they’re used to searching very hard for food and finding it. Propagation is easy, as is planting it from seed, and their low-maintenance qualities make them good houseplants for even the least experienced gardener.
The first thing you should know about cotyledon orbiculata is that they hold all of their nutrients in their leaves, and so anything you feed them (fertilizer, plant food, etc) will go straight to the fat, swollen, waxy leaves for storage. For this reason, you should only fertilize as absolutely necessary.
Next, know that when you propagate your cotyledon orbiculata, don’t use metal to cut them. Rather, you should pinch them off with your (clean!) fingertips, as a clean cut is more likely to leak out important nutrients from the plant much faster than one that’s been pinched closed.
If you use rooting hormone, you will be able to coax the rooting process to happen within 3 to 4 weeks, usually.
When you transplant your cotyledon orbiculata into its new pot or outdoor home, remember to use cactus mix. This is very important because if the drainage is bad, the plant will rot most assuredly, and you’ll have to start the process all over again.
Fertilizer is something you can use, as long as you use the right one. The best fertilizer for arid plants is an oraganic cactus mix compost.. You can apply this as needed (sparinly if possible) right around the roots. It looks a lot like really coarse dirt, and if you spread a thin layer over where the roots are, you can provide the nutrients your plant needs in hard times.
Remember to water your pig’s ear sparingly. It’s a desert succulent plant, so you should never give it too much water because you’ll cause the leaves to swell with too much water and, ultimately rot from the supersaturation of water in the storage membranes.
Also, practice sanitary gardening. Wash your hands before you go to hand-prune your plant, and before you work on propagation. Keep dead and rotting matter away from the parent plant. You’ll be protecting your pig’s ear from fungal and bacterial infection.
The maintenance of a cotyledon orbiculata is pretty easy. Use these maintenance tips for your pig’s ear cultivation, and you’ll keep your plant (or plants) happy for many seasons.