Shoutout to all the succulent-lovers and gardeners out there! And if you are not among them already, you will surely start to love these adorable specimens from the very beginning. Thanks to their appealing and unique-patterned foliage, Calico Hearts plants are a must-have dash of color that would make a great addition to your collection.
Succulents are among the easiest plants to grow and care for, and the Calico Hearts species are no different! They are an excellent choice for both indoor and outdoor growing or as a gift for your beloved friends.
Adromischus maculatus, otherwise known as Calico Hearts, Chocolate-drop, or the Spotted Adromischus, is a species of flowering succulents in the Crassulaceae family. Calico Hearts plants are endemic to the Western Cape and Eastern Cape of South Africa.
About Adromischus Maculatus
- Their scientific name comes from Greek and describes them perfectly. While the word “adrosmischos” means “thick stems”, “maculatus” is the specific epithet that means “spotted”.
- They are quite fragile, so you should avoid touching them very often. Moreover, with their shallow root system, these plants are susceptible to root rot.
- Calico Hearts succulents enjoy warm and dry environments. Protect them from freezing temperatures and cold drafts, as they will not survive in cooler conditions.
- In their natural habitat, these plants are used to semi-arid climates. They are very tolerant of drought and will not respond well to over-watering.
- They are easy-going plants that prefer bright light, but will also do well in full sun, light shade, or partial shade. The best time of their life is during the summer.
- Like all succulents, A. Maculatus requires a well-draining potting soil that is suitable for cacti and succulents. Depending on the growing conditions, they may need occasional fertilizing.
- Their foliage will be visited by intruders from time to time. Keep your Calico Hearts clean and watch out for pests while caring for them.
- These succulents have no popular use in traditional medicine or other purposes. They can be pretty toxic to pets and humans if ingested, so make sure you place them in a “secret” location.
Adromischus Maculatus Features: An Overview
- These plants belong to the Adromischus genus that contains about 30 species. They are divided into five sections based on their common relationships and characteristics, with A. Maculatus included in the Incisilobati.
- They can be found growing in sunny locations of South Africa, such as the sandstone slopes of the Langeberg Mountains.
- Calico Hearts plants are medium-sized and low-growing perennials that can reach about 14 inches (35 cm) in height and 8 inches (20 cm) in width.
- They have thick, succulent, and spade-shaped leaves that grow from a tiny, prostrate, and wood-like stem. Their leaves form small clusters or mats.
- Depending on the specimen, their foliage can have different colors. Some varieties exhibit plain green to grey leaves, while others may appear with purple to brown spots of different sizes.
- Their stems are covered with thin aerial roots colored in red to brown. Once the bottom of the stem runs out of leaves, the roots seem very dense.
- During their blooming season in summer, Calico Hearts plants produce small, white-pink, and tubular flowers on 9.8 to 11.8 inches (25-30 cm) branches. They are more likely to flower outdoors, as they rarely do it with average room conditions.
- Calico Hearts plants make for a great companion to most species of cacti and other succulents thanks to their similar growing requirements.
Growing Adromischus Maculatus
When you are an experienced gardener, growing Calico Hearts is no different than growing other species of succulents and cacti. And you already know that all succulents thrive with minimal care as long as you manage to simulate their environmental conditions both indoors and outdoors. However, if you are at the beginning of the road, do not let these beauties to intimidate you! Once you understand their basic needs, they will be your companion for a long time.
No matter where you choose to grow Calico Hearts, they will require at least six hours of sunlight daily. When growing these succulents outdoors, plant them in a location where they can receive plenty of full sunlight. Make sure you do not over-expose them to harsh sun, as it may scorch their leaves and get brown. For indoor growing, place your succulents near a south or east-facing window to provide them with lots of light. If you live in a region with hot climates, these plants will grow better in a semi-shaded location.
Calico Hearts do well in average room temperatures, but they should not drop below 50 °F (10 °C). The ideal temperatures for these plants to grow healthy range from 66 to 86 °F (19-30 °C). When the winter has settle in or the temperatures are cooler than 20 °F (-6.7 °C), bring your succulents indoors to protect them from frost. If you live in a region where winters are very cold, it is better to grow your Calico Hearts in a container all-year-round.
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Planting Calico Hearts
They grow mostly in spring and autumn with a dormant period in summer. When it comes to the soil in which they should be grown, Calico Hearts have no high demands. As long as the potting soil is porous and well-draining, these plants can grow just fine in most types. Look for a commercial potting mix that is specially designed for cacti and succulents and plant your Calico Hearts into it. For optimal drainage, you can add a layer of perlite when first planting them.
Like all succulents, Calico Hearts do not need any extra nutrients or organic matter when they are growing outdoors. However, if you grow these plants in a pot, they may need some fertilizing once in a while. Feed your succulents with a fertilizer that is specific for cacti and succulents during their active growing period. It is suggested you provide your Calico Hearts with fertilizers in March and September only on damp soil according to the package instructions.
These plants grow at a pretty slow pace, so they can grow well in the same pot for years. If your Calico Hearts starts to get noticeably bigger, you can repot it in a container that is slightly larger than the current one. Fill the pot with fresh suitable potting soil and transplant your succulent carefully. Keep in mind that you always need to plant a Calico Hearts in a pot that has drainage holes at the bottom.
The most common pests that can bother Calico Hearts succulents are mealybugs and vine weevils. While caring for these beauties, take some time to inspect their leaves for natural predators. If you notice any sign of infestation, you can treat your plants with a systemic insecticide.
Watering Adromischus Maculatus
When it comes to watering A. Maculatus plants, you should not worry too much about it. Due to their succulent leaves, they can store large amounts of water and will not demand frequent watering. Make sure you check the soil in-between waterings to avoid over-watering them. If it feels dry to the touch, then you should water your Calico Hearts immediately.
Remember that is always better to under-water succulents than to drown them in too much water. They are drought-tolerant for a few days, but it is also possible to provide them with less water than needed. You should always pay attention to your plant’s “body” language.
If your succulent does not receive enough water, the foliage will turn brown and eventually die off. An over-watered succulent will otherwise show their pain through yellow and soft leaves that cannot be saved anymore.
Calico Hearts plants do well when they are watered thoroughly and left to dry out completely before watering again. They will benefit more from watering during their active growing period from spring to fall. In winter, you should water these succulents once every two or three weeks when the soil is entirely dried-out.
They are native to semi-arid regions, so the air around your plants should be pretty dry. To maintain the ideal humidity levels, you can place your succulents near a dehumidifier or an air vent.
Propagating Adromischus Maculatus
Do you want to share with your friends the pleasant experience of growing these lovely specimens? Say no more, gardener! A. Maculatus plants are very easy to propagate through leaves and they will show results very fast if you do it properly.
Make sure that you use a healthy leaf for propagation. Remove it gently from the mother plant by twisting it from the stem. The leaf should be allowed to callous over for a few days, then laid in well-draining cacti and succulent mix.
Place the pot in a bright location and water it when the soil is dried out completely. Once the root system is developed and a rosette of tiny leaves has appeared, you can plant the new baby succulent in its own pot.
We know that succulents are a true blessing for gardeners, but this species is truly special. Besides its basic demands specific to all succulents, Calico Hearts comes with peculiar patterns on its foliage that can win any curious eyes. Moreover, it can be easily propagated by leaves, so you can share some baby succulents with your friends. Or, why not, keep them to yourself.