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Growing Pleiospilos bolusii

Kanna flower

Many succulents (cactus family) can endure low temperatures, even down to about 40 degrees, and Pleiospilos bolusii happens to be one of them. To truly thrive, though, the Pleiospilos needs a minimum temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, year round, which is surely why it is found only in Africa. Being a succulent, it loves a few hours of direct sunlight each day, so if you're growing these plants indoors, make sure you've got them in a very bright window, or under a few hours of bright artificial light every day.

Succulents like the Pleiospilos bolusii can got for long periods of time without watering as well. The colder it gets, the less water these plants need, but in the summertime, if you're trying to maximize the mesembrine content, don't be afraid of giving them abundant water in small bursts, maybe once a month. They will soak up large amounts of water quickly, to store it away for the time when there's no water.

Another way to possibly further enrich the mesembrine content of Pleiospilos, is to enrich the soil it's growing in. Any fertilizers rich in potassium and phosphorous, but low in nitrogen would be perfect for this task. Nitrogen only makes the plant retain more water, which is great for its survival, but not great for maximizing any alkaloid content, at least in relation to these particular plants. The same is also true of Sceletium tortuosum as well, since these plants are very closely related, and both have their native habitats in Africa.

This is a ground plant, never reaching more than a few inches tall, but it can cover a large area quickly. Never invasively like some plants, but it will spread itself along the ground searching for more water and nutrients, in an environment that is typically lacking in both. As a result, if the plant is in poorly-drained soil, it can get fungus, that, with its soft, fleshy exterior, can do great damage to this plant. Aphids also seem to love this plant, and will gather in large numbers if allowed to. Simple insecticide can go a long way, but try to use natural ones instead of chemical-based ones, since there's a good chance you will be drying this plant for smoking, making into a tea, or extract. 

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