Succulent ground cover plant native to southern Africa, very widespread throughout the Mediterranean area. It has thin prostrate stems, very branched and confused, fleshy, which carry numerous leaflets in the shape of an elongated heart, 3-4 centimeters long, bright green, thick and turgid; there are also cultivars and hybrids with dark or variegated yellow or white leaves.
From late spring to the summer it produces numerous small daisy-shaped flowers, with various linear petals, white, pink, purple or red, depending on the variety; the type species has bright pink flowers with a white center. These plants are grown in pots, but also as ground cover in the garden.
They prefer very sunny positions, where flowering is abundant, they also grow well in half shade and in shade, but less direct sun they receive and less flowers produce. In general they can withstand temperatures close to -5 ° C, although sometimes heavy winter rains can cause rottenness which seriously compromises their development.
In places with very cold winters it is good, during the winter months, to withdraw them in a cold greenhouse; these plants have a very vigorous development, and tend to fill all the available space fairly quickly: this is why generally we tend to leave old plants outdoors and to conserve cuttings in a greenhouse, which will be placed in the garden in spring .
Like most succulents the aptenia can withstand even very long periods of drought, and are generally satisfied with the rains; if a more luxuriant development is desired, greater blooms, and very turgid leaves, it is advisable to water sporadically, from June to September, adding fertilizer for flowering plants every 15-20 days to the watering water.
Place in a very well drained soil, consisting of universal soil mixed with an equal amount of sand and a little perlite or pumice stone.
These plants produce numerous fertile seeds, enclosed in small, half-woody capsules, and can be sown in spring, around April-May. To obtain seedlings in a rapid manner you can practice stem cuttings, which root easily, so that they can be immediately buried directly at home.
Aptenia cordifolia: Pests and diseases
These plants fear the cochineal and especially the mites; if grown in the ground they can be ruined by snails.