Orostachys Plant Info – Growing Chinese Dunce Cap Succulents

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

What is Orostachys Dunce Cap and why does the plant have such an odd name? Dunce Cap, also known as Chinese Dunce Cap (Orostachys iwarenge), is a succulent plant named for its spires of silvery-lavender cone-shaped rosettes. The plant spreads via slender runners with offsets that fall off and take root to form new plants. Eventually, the pointy cones may produce tiny flowers. Read on for more information about Chinese Dunce Cap succulents.

Orostachys Plant Info

Orostachys is a hardy succulent native to the frigid mountainous regions of North China, Mongolia and Japan. The structure and growing habit of the plant is similar to the more familiar hens and chicks, although considerably smaller with a more delicate appearance. Chinese Dunce Cap succulents are suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 10.

Dunce Cap Plant Care

Growing Chinese Dunce Cap is easy. Most importantly, like all succulent plants, Orostachys Dunce Cap requires well-drained soil and is likely to rot in humid conditions. If you’re concerned that your soil may be a little too moist, dig in a generous amount of coarse sand or grit.

You can also grow the plant in a container, indoors or outside. Use a well-drained potting mix product formulated for cacti and succulents, or simply add coarse sand or grit to a regular potting mix.

Locate Chinese Dunce Cap succulents in bright sunlight.

Feed the plant twice during the growing season, using a low-nitrogen fertilizer.

Water Chinese Dunce Cap sparingly when the soil feels dry to the touch. Also, water the plant during the morning hours so the leaves have time to dry thoroughly before evening. Keep the leaves as dry as possible.

Chinese Dunce Cap succulents are easy to propagate by division. Just locate an offshoot large enough to have a few roots, then cut the stolon (runner) close to the offshoot. Plant the offshoot in a pot filled with sandy soil, or directly in your garden.

Watch for mealybugs, especially on indoor plants. If you notice the pests, usually evidenced by a waxy, cottony substance, pick them off carefully with a toothpick or spray the plants lightly with isopropyl alcohol or insecticidal soap. Never spray when the plants are in direct sunlight or when the temperatures is above 90 F. (32 C.).

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