Aptenia cordifolia (2004)

By Roy Kasten (July 2004)

A plant I had long before becoming a member of the Henry Shaw Cactus Society was just known to me as the Baby Sun Rose. I purchased it as a hanging basket. It tolerated full sun and would reward me with beautiful, small hot pink/red flowers during the summer. I soon discovered propagating it was very easy by stem cuttings. I could root them in water or by inserting them directly in soil.

After joining HSCS, I discovered the plant was a succulent that went by the name aptenia.

Aptenia cordifolia is native to the eastern coastal plains of South Africa. This charming plant makes an excellent annual ground cover, or as I said before, works well in a hanging basket. If planted as an annual edging plant, it often reaches a spread of 2 feet or more in the growing season. It takes heat and summer drought conditions well.

Blooming Time: Spring to fall. The flowers, which are 1/2 to 1 inch across and purplish red, resemble daisies. There also is a white-blooming variety.

Culture: A. cordifolia need full sun to light shade with night temperatures of 50 degrees and day temperatures of 65 or higher. When grown in pots, the pots should be at least 8 inches deep. Suitable compost consists of two parts sand to one part loam and one part peat moss. Only water the plant when it is thoroughly dry. This plant is in the Aizoaceae family. If planted outdoors, it needs well-drained soil with exposure to full sun.

Propagation: A. cordifolia are propagated by cuttings or seed. Cuttings root in about three weeks.

Other common names for aptenia include Red Apple, Heart-leaf Ice Plant and Hearts and Flowers. The white-blooming variety is called Sunny Sue.