Cotyledon orbiculata, commonly known as pig’s ear or round-leafed navel-wort, is a South African succulent plant belonging to the genus Cotyledon.
Pig’s ears are evergreen succulent perennials or shrubs growing to 100 cm tall, with simple, opposite, grey-green, oval leaves coated with a white wax and nodding, bell-shaped red, orange or yellow flowers borne in compact panicles borne on stems up to 70cm long, in late summer and autumn.
Cotyledon orbiculata is an extremely variable species that grows to approximately 1.3 m (4.3 ft) in height. It has gray-green leaves that can be up to 13 by 7 cm (5.1 by 2.8 in) with a white powdery substance on them that helps reflect sunlight and conserve water. The shape of the leaves was thought to have a resemblance to a pig’s ear, thus the common name.
This succulent with its variable forms is one of the most rewarding plants for gardens around the country, even those in colder regions;
It propagates easily from cuttings and is wonderful for filling gaps, especially in dry and difficult parts of the garden where water is scarce;
Flowering times vary. Most flower in winter but in winter rainfall areas such as the Western Cape, the plant often flowers in mid-summer.
The plant is a winner in every garden setting with its textured leaves, pretty flowers ranging from a light salmon through to a deep orange-red, and its stature among other plants.
The plant enjoys sunny conditions with well-draining soil and is ideal for container gardens. Frost and cold weather can damage the plants. Locusts and grasshoppers enjoy feeding on the leaves.