Testudinaria

This interesting plant is native to South Africa and is found elephantipes mainly in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Many species are food plants; their large, starchy, underground tubers are eaten like potatoes. The most striking feature of T. elephantipes is the huge root head covered with thick, corky tubercles, with six or seven angles. The stems are usually long and branched with alternate, kidney-shaped leaves with typical curving veins.

In winter, the top parts die back and the best temperature for the plant is 15°-18°C (59°-64°F). When growth is resumed in March or April, the temperature must be raised. Water moderately at first and liberally at the height of the growing season. Plenty of light is essential.

Sedum sieboldii ‘Variegatum’

This Stonecrop is native to Japan; it has been cultivated in Europe for several decades. It has slender, weak stems about 25 cm (10 in) long. The succulent leaves grow in whorls of three and are sessile, almost orbicular, and coloured blue-grey with red margins. The cultivar ‘Variegatum’ has white to yellow blotches on the leaves. The pink flowers are arranged in terminal inflorescences. After they have faded, usually in October, the shoots die back.

Transfer the plant to a cool place in October and water only very occasionally during the winter just to prevent the roots drying out. When new shoots begin to appear in April, the plant should be returned to its former light position.

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