Botanical name: Cotyledon velutina
Synonyms: Cotyledon beckeri, Cotyledon mollis
Common names: Velvet Cotyledon, Velvet Pig's Ears, Furry Pig's Ears
Cotyledon velutina commonly called Velvet Cotyledon, Velvet Pig's Ears or Furry Pig's Ears is a branched succulent which bears round, gray-green leaves with reddish margins towards the apex.
Velvet Cotyledon leaves occur in opposite pairs along the stem and have a velvety feel, hence, the common name, 'Velvety Cotyledon'. The species name, 'velutina', is in reference to the velvety surface of the leaves.
Velvet Cotyledon Succulent blooms in mid-summer with large, orange-red, tubular flowers which are borne in clusters above the foliage on 2 ft stalks. The flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and birds.
Velvet Pig's Ears can grow to a height of 10 ft and a spread of about 2-3 ft.
Cotyledon velutina also called Cotyledon beckeri or Cotyledon mollis is native to South Africa in Eastern Cape to southern KwaZulu-Natal where it is found growing in stony areas in arid areas.
Cotyledon velutina (Velvet Cotyledon) thrives in bright light with direct sunlight of at least 4-6 hours, average warmth and loose, fast-draining soil that is low in organic matter coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.
Velvet Cotyledon has no need for high humidity. Repotting is only needed when it becomes pot-bound or when the potting medium is completely broken down. Pruning is necessary to keep the plant neat, to control growth and to minimize pest and disease infestations. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Cotyledon velutina requires bright light with at least 4-6 hours of morning or afternoon sunlight. Keep it away or shield it from hot direct sunshine to prevent scorching of the leaves.
Velvet Cotyledon Succulent can be grown outdoors, however, gradually acclimate it and place it in a shaded place first to prevent scorching of the leaves.
Rotate the pot regularly to make sure that the plant receives light on all sides for even growth.
If the light is not adequate, the plant can become leggy with wide spaces between leaf nodes and undersized leaves. It can also lead to leaf drop.
Velvet Pig's Ears can also be grown under a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.
Like all succulents, Velvet Cotyledon does not like overwatering and soggy soil. It is best watered by the 'soak and dry' method.
Water Cotyledon velutina deeply during the growing season until water comes out through the drainage hole and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
Lessen watering in the cold period as growth is reduced at this time, thus, the plant does not need a lot of water for growth.
Only use water that is at room temperature to water the Velvet Pig's Ears to avoid plant shock as it can result in leaf drop and reduced growth.
Confirm that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is fast-draining to prevent the Cotyledon velutina from sitting in soggy soil as it can lead to rotting and death of the plant.
Take care not to wet the foliage to avoid fungal diseases or water from the bottom instead and always empty the bottom saucer (plate) once the plant has absorbed enough water.
Cotyledon velutina requires an average warmth between 16-250C during the growing season and a minimum of 100C in the cold season.
Keep the Velvet Cotyledon away from frost and cold drafts like windy doors and windows, air conditioning units among others as prolonged exposure can cause leaf drop and the death of the plant.
Cotyledon velutina has no need for extra humidity. Average room humidity is ideal for this plant. Clean the leaves with a soft brush to get rid of dust and also discourage pest infestations.
Ensure that there is good air circulation for the Velvet Cotyledon and do not mist it to prevent fungal disease infestations which are prevalent in damp, poorly ventillated conditions.
Feed Cotyledon velutina monthly during the growing season with a Cactus and Succulents Fertilizer to promote a lush growth.
Do not feed the Velvet Cotyledon in the cold season as growth is reduced and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.
Repot Cotyledon velutina at the beginning of the growing season only when it has become pot-bound or when the potting medium has completely broken down. Use a pot that is 1 size larger than the current one to avoid overpotting and retention of excess moisture.
Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy to prevent root-rot and eventual loss of the plant.
Use a clay pot instead of a plastic or ceramic pot as a clay pot is porous and allows the soil to dry out faster to keep it from staying wet for too long.
Ascertain that the soil is dry before repotting. Take the Cotyledon velutina out of its pot and brush off soil from the roots. Snip off any dead or dry roots and treat the wounds with a fungicidal solution.
Place the plant in the center of its new pot and back fill with fresh, loose, fast-draining soil while spreading the roots as you fill the pot.
Do not fill the pot completely but allow a space of about 1 in. unfilled for watering purposes.
Replace the plant to its display position and keep it dry for about 5-7 days to minimize the risk of rot-root disease.
The best soil for Cotyledon velutina should be coarse, low in organic matter and one that drains fast to prevent it from holding excess water. The soil should be loose enough to allow water to drain out quickly.
Cactus and Succulents soils like these Cactus and Succulents Mixes available online at Etsy are ideal for the Velvet Cotyledon.
Pruning Cotyledon velutina involves removal of any dead or diseased leaves to keep it neat and also discourage pest and disease infestations.
Snip the leaves at the base with a sterilized knife or pair of scissors to prevent diseases transmission.
Cut back the stems if they become straggly to rejuvenate growth and encourage a compact, bushy growth.
Minimize the number of cuts as much as possible to avoid unnecessary injuries to discourage fungal disease infestations.
Cotyledon velutina (Velvet Cotyledon) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings and leaf cuttings.
Take 3-5 in. stem cuttings from a healthy Cotyledon velutina and allow the cutting to dry out (callus) for a few days to prevent rotting.
Once callused, insert the lower cut end of the stem cuttings in moist, fast-draining, rooting soil.
Place the set up in a well-lit, warm place away from direct sunlight and ensure that there is good air circulation to discourage fungal diseases.
Maintain the soil slightly moist until the stem cuttings have rooted. Rooting may take upto 4 weeks.
Allow substancial growth before transplanting the new Velvet Cotyledon after which routine care can begin.
Take leaf cuttings complete with the petiole from a healthy Cotyledon velutina. Allow the leaf cutting to dry out (callus) for a few days to prevent rotting.
When calloussed, lay the leaf cutting on moist, fast-draining, rooting mix while ensuring that the cut end does not come into contact with the soil to prevent rotting.
Postion the set up in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight to prevent scorching of the leaf cuttings.
Maintain the soil slightly moist through out. Ensure that there is good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases.
With time, the leaf cutting will form roots and eventually a small rosette will form at the base of the leaf cutting. This may take from 4-6 weeks.
Allow substancial growth of the rosette before transplanting the new Velvet Cotyledon into its own pot after which routine care can begin.
Cotyledon velutina (Velvet Cotyledon) problems indoors include leaf drop, leggy growth, yellowing leaves, wilting and droopy leaves, leaf spots, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to solve them.
Leggy stems and undersized leaves in Cotyledon velutina is due to two possible reasons. One possible reason is overwatering or soggy soil in the cold season.
Significantly, lessen watering in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time, therefore, the plant does not need much water.
In addition, make sure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil drains easily to prevent it from getting soggy.
The second possible reason for leggy stems and undersized leaves in Velvet Cotyledon is too little light during the growing season.
Place the plant in bright light with at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight during the growing season or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not sufficient.
Dropping leaves in Cotyledon velutina are due to a number of reasons. If accompanied by mushy stems the cause is overwatering or soggy soil which results in too much water in the soil.
Be careful not to overwater this succulent by allowing the soil to dry out between waterings and ensuring that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
The second reason for leaf drop in Velvet Cotyledon is underwatering if the leaves are shrivelled (wrinkled) and droopy.
Water the Furry Pig's Ears deeply during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
Decrease watering in the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely for a prolonged period of time.
The third reason for leaf drop in Velvet Pig's Ears is too little light. Ensure that the plant is receiving bright light with at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight during the growing season or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not sufficient.
The fourth reason for leaf drop in Furry Pig's Ears is too low temperature due to cold drafts. Keep the plant away from windy windows and doors, air conditions units among others.
The fifth reason for leaf drop in Velvet Cotyledon is watering the plant with too cold water which causes plant shock.
Use only water that is at room temperature to water this tropical succulent plant to prevent plant shock.
The sixth reason for leaf drop in Velvet Cotyledon is due to excessive touch or moving the plant too much.
Keep the Furry Pig's Ears away from the line of traffic and avoid unnecessarily moving it around and take care when moving it.
The seventh reason for leaf drop in Velvet Pig's Ears is pest infestations. The plant is prone to sap-sucking pests like scale insects, mealy bugs and spider mites.
Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the rest of houseplants and treat it with appropriate products to get rid of these pests.
Wilted (wrinkled) and drooping leaves in Cotyledon velutina are caused by underwatering which results in too little moisture in the soil. Therefore, the plant cannot get enough water to take up to the leaves which loss their turgidity and begin to wilt.
To prevent wilting and wrinkled leaves, water the plant deeply during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
Cut down on watering in the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely for a long periods of time.
Brown soft leaf spots in Cotyledon velutina are caused by leaf spot disease which is prevalent in poorly aerated, overdamp conditions.
Improve the ventilation and ensure that there is good air circulation at all times. Also, water the Velvet Cotyledon from the bottom to avoid wetting the leaves.
Cotyledon velutina is also prone to powdery mildew which is prevalent in overwet conditions coupled with poor air circulation and is characterized by spotting or coating of the leaf surface with a white powdery deposit.
Isolate the affected plant to minimize spread to other houseplants and treat it with Neem oil. Improve ventilation and make sure that there is good air circulation for the plant.
Water the Velvet Cotyledon from the bottom to avoid wetting the foliage and always allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
Do not allow the Velvet Pig's Ears sit in soggy soil; always empty the bottom saucer (plate) once the plant has absorbed enough water.
Ascertain that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil drains easily to prevent it from getting soggy.
Common pests in Cotyledon velutina are scale insects, mealy bugs and spider mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the rest of houseplants.
Spray the plant with an Insecticidal soap to get rid of the pests. Make sure to cover the entire plant.
Cotyledon velutina (Velvet Cotyledon) like other Cotyledon plants is considered toxic to both humans and pets. As outlined by Wikipedia, some plants in the Cotyledon Genus have been found to cause stock losses among goats, pigs and poultry.