How to Grow and Care for Pig's Ear Plant (Cotyledon orbiculata) Indoors


Pig's Ear Plant, Cotyledon orbiculata

Botanical name: Cotyledon orbiculata
Family: Crassulaceae
Common names: Pig's Ear Plant, Round-leafed Navel-wort, Silver Pig's Ears, Round-leafed Cotyledon

Description

Pig's Ear Plant (Cotyledon orbiculata) also called Round-leafed Navel-wort, Silver Pig's Ears or Round-leafed Cotyledon is a common and easy to grow succulent plant.

The shape of the leaf has a resemblance to a pig's ear and hence the common name, 'Pig's Ear'.

The leaves are grey-green and are covered with a white powdery substance which helps them to reflect light and allows them to conserve water.

Size

Round-leafed Navel-wort grows to a height of about 4 ft and the leaves are about 5 in. by 3 in.

Flower

Silver Pig's Ears Plant bears small bell-shaped flowers usually 1.2 in. long which droop from the top of a 24 in. tall stalk. The flowers are usually orange-red but yellow varieties also exist.

Origin

Pig's Ear Plant (Cotyledon orbiculata) is native to South Africa where it is found growing in rocky outcrops in grassy shrubland and the Karoo region.

Invasiveness

According to Wikipedia, Pig's Ear Plant is considered an invasive plant in New Zealand.

Varieties

A large number of varieties and cultivated forms of Round-leafed Cotyledon are available, some of which may resemble Kalanchoe thyrsiflora (Paddle Plant).

Related Species

Pig's Ear Plant is closely related to Cotyledon undulata (Silver Crown Plant), another Cotyledon plant that is a popular houseplant.

Where to Buy

Beautiful and healthy Round-leafed Navel-wort are available online on Etsy. Purchase Pig's Ear Plants (Cotyledon orbiculata) from Etsy.

Pig's Ear Plant, Cotyledon orbiculata

Pig's Ear Plant Care Indoors

Pig's Ear Plant (Cotyledon orbiculata) thrives in very bright light to full sunlight, average warmth and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Cotyledon orbiculata has no need for high humidity. Repotting is only needed when the plant becomes pot-bound. Pruning is necessary to keep the plant neat and to minimize pest and disease infestations. Keep reading for a detailed outline on the best growing conditions for this plant and how to provide them.

Light Requirements

Pig's Ear Plant grows best in very bright light to full sunlight. It can also grow under a grow light where the natural lighting is not sufficient.

Should you choose to take the Silver Pig's Ears Plant outdoors, gradually acclimate it and place it in a shaded place to avoid scorching the leaves.

Watering

Water Pig's Ear Plant thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Significantly decrease watering in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Always make sure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy to avoid root-rot and eventual death of the plant.

Avoid wetting the leaves as it can lead to rotting. Water from the bottom instead.

Use room temperature water to Round-leafed Navel-wort to avoid shocking this tropical plant.


Temperature

Average warmth temperatures between 16-260C are ideal for Pig's Ear Plant. The sudden change in temperature between day and night is excellent for this succulent plant.

Humidity

Average room humidity is adequate for Pig's Ear Plant. It has no need for high humidity.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Pig's Ear Plant monthly during the growing period with a balanced, liquid fertilizer. Withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

Flush out accumulated salts from the soil regularly by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole. Allow it to run for a few minutes and repeat the process several times.

Repotting

Repot Pig's Ear Plant only when it becomes pot-bound. Use a shallow rather than a deep pot as they have shallow roots. The pot should be only 1 size larger than the current one.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting and eventual death of the plant.

A clay pot is preferable for Silver Pig's Ears Plant because it is porous and therefore allows the soil to dry out faster.

Soil

The best soil for Pig's Ear Plant should be rich in organic matter, loose and free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil. The soil should be loose enough to allow water to drain out fast enough.

Cactus and Succulents soil is ideal. Buy quality Cactus and Succulents Soil for Round-leafed Navel-wort online from Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Pig's Ear Plant requires the removal of dead and diseased leaves to maintain the plant neat and discourage pests and diseases. Remove dead flowers also to keep the plant neat and tidy.

Propagation

Pig's Ear Plant (Cotyledon orbiculata) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings.

How to propagate Pig's Ear Plant from stem cuttings

Take a cutting of about 2-4 in. long from a healthy Pig's Ear Plant. Ensure it has 2 or 3 leaf nodes. Strip off the lower leaves.

Allow the cuttings to dry (callus) for 1-3 days before planting to prevent rotting.

Once callussed, insert the cutting into moist, cactus and succulents soil.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy soil as it can lead to rotting.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight and water sparingly, only when the soil is dry.

Round-leafed Cotyledon cuttings should root in about 3-4 weeks. Allow the new plant to be well established after which you can begin routine care.

Pig's Ear Plant, Cotyledon orbiculata

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Pig's Ear Plant Problems Indoors

Pig's Ear Plant (Cotyledon orbiculata) problems indoors are caused by cultural faults and include leaf drop, leaf spots, leggy growth, diseases and pests among others. Continue reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.

Dropping (shedding) leaves

Dropping (shedding) leaves in Pig's Ear Plant are caused by improper watering; either overwatering or underwatering.

Water the plant liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Significantly reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

Avoid soggy soil by ensuring that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining.

Weak and leggy growth

A weak and leggy growth in Pig's Ear Plant is an indication of inadequate lighting ; the plant is reaching for light therefore it stretches.

You can resolve this issue by moving the Round-leafed Navel-wort to a brighter spot or instal a grow light if the natural light is insufficient.

Rotting plant base, yellowing and shriveled leaves

Rotting plant base followed by yellowing and shrivelled leaves in Pig's Ear Plant is an indication of basal stem-rot disease which is brought about by overwet conditions.

Avoid overwatering and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy.

In addition, avoid wetting the foliage during watering and ensure that there is free air circulation to reduce disease infestations.

Brown soft leaf spots

The cause of brown soft spots in Pig's Ear Plant is leaf spot disease which is enhanced by poor air circulation. Ensure there is free air circulation at all times to reduce disease infestation.

Pests

Common pests in Pig's Ear Plant are mealy bugs and scale insects. Isolate the affected plant to reduce spread to other houseplants.

Is Pig's Ear Plant toxic

The leaves of Pig's Ear Plant (Cotyledon orbiculata) contain cotyledontoxin which is toxic to sheep, goats, horses, cattle, poultry and dogs according to journals.co.za.

If ingested it causes a condition called cotyledonosis. Keep the plant out of the reach of animals.

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