Contrary to its name, Chinese Dunce Cap grows naturally in the cool forest valleys of the Japanese alps. One of the few succulents that call Asia its natural habitat, it’s able to survive winters under snow down to -40° C. This succulent’s leaves range slightly in colour, blue or green tinted in grey, and form petite rosettes. Elegant stolons reach for viable pockets in rocks, cracks, and crevices, and fill out a pot in just a season or two. Densely-packed, budding spires grow from the centre of the rosettes and bloom with pink and/or white flowers.
Chinese Dunce Cap lives in a continuously life and death cycle. Throughout the growing season, the main rosette sprouts stolons which grow small rosette on the ends. By the time the pups have rooted and grown large enough to survive on their own, the main rosette will soon begin blooming. As a monocarpic succulent, the rosette will die after blooming, but the pups live on and sprout their own stolons of pups.
LIGHT: Orostachys aren’t as tolerant to direct sun and heat as other genera. Light sun, semi shade, to 50% shade is a comfortable range.
WATER: Allow the soil to dry out between watering from spring to autumn, and reduce during winter dormancy.
SOIL: Orostachys prefer a well-draining gravelly soil mix. They are also adaptable to both nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor soils.
PLANTING: As a versatile succulent, 15 cm pots or bowls with holes for drainage, or a shaded spot in the garden as long as it is cooler with good air circulation are all options. It does not thrive in hot, humid areas such as glasshouses.
FERTILISER: Fertilise when the plant begins looking lackluster, or slows in growth, using a diluted fertiliser.
BLOOMING: Chinese Dunce Cap is a monocarpic plant, each rosette blooms once and then dies. Flower spikes grow from rosette centres in autumn.
DORMANCY: Dormant in winter, Orostachys lose many of their larger leaves and protect themselves by tightening to a fraction of the size during the growing season.
PROPAGATION: Chinese Dunce Cap produces many pups on the ends of stolons. Pups can be divided and repotted in spring. They will bounce back to life in spring and summer.