Fockia capensis

Scott Bar, CA(Zone 6a)

My cooked greenhouse episode left this plant leafless with most branches shriveled and brittle. Last week I noticed two green nubs and now it's growing over an inch a day! The resilience amazes me.

Thumbnail by rockminer
Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

I'm sorry about your cooked greenhouse. That would be a heartbreaking experience. Your plant is a beautiful specimen and I am glad it survived.

I have a Fockea, but I think mine is Fockea edulis. It wants to grow grow grow! Does anybody know the essential difference between edulis and capensis?

Scott Bar, CA(Zone 6a)

According to The Succulent Plant Page F. capensis has crinkly leaves and a warty tuber whereas edulis has smoother tubers and leaves. They add that some authorities regard capensis as a variety of edulis. I like them both! Hope this helps.

Bill

Camano Island, WA(Zone 8a)

I will go check out the leaves and the tuber to check if I can see the difference! It definitely helps. Thanks!!

Plus, isn't it just plain fun when you get to say a phrase like "warty tuber?"

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Warty tubers are fun. I have heard opinions on Fockea capensis vs. edulis and to me they all look the same. There are plenty of hybrids out there too. These plants will mate with each other freely. My plants (maybe both species I dunno) are either male or female and thus require another plant (of the right gender) to make seed. They are very different from the other Fockeas I've seen though. I am still at the stage where I am bulking up the plants (still mostly buried) but have started to lift a few and it's always fun to see the unexpected things that happen below ground. It's like unwrapping a mystery gift.

These should be good long term plants if you keep the vine up and get a good watering schedule worked out.

Decatur, GA

I thought it was F. crisps - I have a warty caudex so it much be F. crispa. Not sure about capensis. Maybe a name change I haven't caught up with.
Mine use to bloom but not the last few years. Its one plant that isn't doing so well in the clay pellets as it did in the soil medium. Since I have so little caudex rot in my plants growing in clay pellets I hesitate to go back to the riskier medium.
I'm very glad yours is back to growing rockminer. Its always a disappointment when a nice fat plant dies.

Thumbnail by helenchild
Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Interesting that you say that Helen, I have read that Fockeas like a more organic mix than many other caudiciforms. No idea how true that is but maybe you could introduce some coir (coconut fiber) into the media to indulge the plant? Not decaying compost like regular soil but a nice durable fiber that absorbs water, something neutral which is already part of various hydroponic recipes. I'm a big fan of the coconut fiber as it seems to work well in the long term (and does not suffer from some of the disadvantages of peat).

Just trying to think outside the box.

Here's a note from the Pachyforms book, to confound you further: the leaves of the "true" capensis are densely pubescent (lots of little hairs) while the forms commonly sold in the trade are not. By the way, I love both Pachyforms books, they take a lot of the mystery out of how these plants behave.

Scott Bar, CA(Zone 6a)

Momlady, At least I spelled "warty tuber" correctly as opposed to my spelling of Fockea in the heading! How embarrassing.

Helen, My plant had a tag F. Crispa but a search led me to the conclusion that is a synonym for F. capensis. With so much misinformation on the net I would not be surprised if I was mislead again.

Baja, Thanks for your informative (as usual) posts. From what I've read these are not as fussy about water like many fat plants although I suspect that a proper regimen will probably enhance proper development.

Bill

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Yes, not at all fussy about water. They will grow different depending on how you water them, which is another wrinkle. Your plant is in a very shallow pot (it looks like) so you can go nuts with the water without too much concern for adverse events. But if you want the fat part of the plant to grow you need to allow more space below ground for that to happen.

Decatur, GA

Nice idea on the fiber Baja. I think I may try that on some of the others I have. Actually I already have tried some variation of the clay pellet theme. Some repots got some 'soil' (bark and perlite) along with lots of pellets. Some went into regular clay pots with pellets instead of soil. I thought a shallow saucer would work at well as for a water reservoir in a pot with a drainage hole in the bottom instead of on the side. Never mind if thats confusing, its not that important. But I think I have some fancy orchid mix with coir, charcoal chunks and lava rocks. That might be good too.
Its all good and its all fun. Thanks for your input as usual.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Some pictures here (all males). First plant in a 3 gallon pot, lifted in September (still mostly buried). It grows up through the cholla piece and the holes in the wall. Second plant in 2 gallon pot, also recently lifted. Last plant in a shallow 8 inch pot. Look how it branches and twists... more of that below ground. That one grows right next to a jade plant and climbs all over it (perfect companion plant).

Thumbnail by Baja_Costero Thumbnail by Baja_Costero Thumbnail by Baja_Costero Thumbnail by Baja_Costero Thumbnail by Baja_Costero
Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Oops, my bad, that first picture (plant with cholla) should look like this.

Thumbnail by Baja_Costero
Decatur, GA

Nice plants Baja. I love the cholla skeleton! I went to get some at a gourd show last year but the price seemed to high so I didn't. They must be just laying around on the ground where you live.
I wasn't aware the caudex should be kept below the soil to increase its size. The one I have seemed to push itself out of the ground. Maybe I had it in a small pot in those days. :-
I think I'll add fiber when I repot. Most of my plastic pots are crumbling from UV effects. They are kitchen containers so not suppose to be on the porch. They haven't lasted nearly as long as a regular flower pot.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

If and when you do repot, also bear in mind that a bigger pot will give you a bigger caudex. I understand space is limited in the overwintering zone, but this is something to think about. These plants slow down dramatically when their space is limited. My usual goal is to set up Fockeas so that they have the bottom half of the soil free to grow (ie. plant them at half the total depth). Once they are a decent size and growing they will need attention and repotting about once a year given this regimen.

Not to say the caudex will not increase in size once it's lifted, but not by much. By far the vast majority of new caudex is generated below ground when these plants have space. That is why I waited until my plant started to fill a 3 gallon pot before I began to lift it.

This message was edited Oct 31, 2015 10:52 AM

Scott Bar, CA(Zone 6a)

Sounds like good advice, Baja. I planted it in the bonsai pot to enjoy it but will pot it way up come spring. Winter space problems as you mentioned. Thank you!

Bill

Sun Lakes, AZ(Zone 9b)

Interesting Baja! I didn't know that about the size after you lift it.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

There's something to be said for a well staged Fockea in a shallow pot, that has the potential to be a work of art. I'm all for that. Each plant has its own character. But these are almost total geophytes in nature and the people who sell large plants in tiny pots have undoubtedly grown them to that size in large pots (or the ground, given some protection against rodents) before staging them. Take a look at this page if you are interested in more detail.

http://www.bihrmann.com/caudiciforms/subs/foc-edu-sub.ASP

Scott Bar, CA(Zone 6a)

Thanks for sharing this site, Baja. My prblem with it is that I keep seeing new plants I really would love to have! The conditions they occur in naturally make me wonder if I'm being counterproductive in the way I coddle them.

Bill

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

I know where you're coming from there. I have the advantage of being able to grow some of these plants in the ground (certainly not Fockeas, given our rodent problem) and I can say that they are much less interested in or demanding of coddling compared to the plants I have growing in pots... in other words, keep on coddling if the plant responds the way you want it to.

Our natural soil is a lot like the pictures on that Fockea page and I have to say, there are some advantages for succulents... outstanding drainage, never ever waterlogged if the terrain slopes right, perfect spacing for the wandering sideways roots that succulents tend to have. They root right into that rock and they're practically a part of the hardscape.

Scott Bar, CA(Zone 6a)

Wish I lived where I could grow more outdoors. Semps and Sedums are about it and I have quite a wide variety of both. I can relate to your rodent problem. Meadow mice eat from the bottom and California ground squirrels from the top! Always a challenge.

Good to know I can coddle. My greatest fear is rot. I have started using 50% pumice and 25% coarse building sand and no peat so the rot prone cacti like Echinocereus rigidissimus and Mammillaria decipiens no longer rot at the first sign of water. Maybe I'll get it right one day for the caudiciform plants as well.

Thanks, baja, for your great input.

Bill

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