Titanopsis calcarea, also known as concrete leaf succulent, the jewel plant, or titanopsis, are found in the southern parts of South Africa and make excellent houseplants. With the ability to grow almost anywhere, concrete leaf succulents adapt well to sunny and bright rooms or dark, shadowy corners of your home or office.
Consider growing concrete leaf succulents if you’re looking for an easy-to-care-for plant that won’t take up too much space, but will enhance your decor with its unique appearance and colors.
You may have heard of aloe vera, jade plant, or even the money tree before, but perhaps you haven’t come across the concrete leaf succulent.
This plant is perfect if you don’t want to water your plants often since it’s drought-resistant and likes to dry out between watering sessions. You might be wondering how this plant can be so unique, well, Titanopsis calcarea looks just like a rock! No, we’re not kidding; the leaves are concave in shape and look like something right out of the Stone Age era.
Origin and distribution
Titanopsis calcarea is a member of a large family of succulents known as Aizoaceae. It originates from South Africa, where it is still most common today. It also grows in nearby regions such as Botswana and Namibia. This plant can be found growing in cracks in granite rocks and walls in its native southern African environment.
Titanopsis calcarea has been used in gardens since around 1875, but was not introduced to North America until 1975. In North America, it grows best in USDA hardiness zones 8b-11.
This plant is often confused with another species called Aizoon canariense or Canary Island jewel because they are very similar. The main difference between these two plants is that Titanopsis calcareum has more colorful flowers than Aizoon canariense does.
Titanopsis calcarea propagation
In order to propagate Titanopsis calcarea, use a sharp pair of pruning shears to cut off a branch. If possible, let that branch dry out for a few days before planting it in some kind of succulent-specific potting soil.
Once that little cutting is planted up and you’ve given it an ample amount of sunlight, you can expect to see blooms within 3-6 months! And make sure that you fertilize it just like any other houseplant.
This process may take a bit longer than propagating most plants but it is definitely worth it when you get to watch your concrete leaf succulent grow into something beautiful. The same propagation method can be used on larger concrete leaves as well!
You should be able to find them at your local nursery or garden center; if not, try looking online. They are definitely worth finding and propagating because they are so unique and easy to care for!
Titanopsis calcarea care information
There are two reasons Titanopsis calcarea make great houseplants: they require low-maintenance and they’re durable. In fact, they are so durable that people often call them indestructible plants.
This is something of an exaggeration, but many concrete leaf varieties do tolerate neglect much better than most other types of succulents. If you forget to water your plant for a while or accidentally throw it across your living room floor, it will probably survive without too much damage.
Titanopsis calcarea plants like sun but don’t like hot, direct sunlight. The most important thing is to make sure your concrete leaf succulent gets a lot of light in order to bloom, so it needs a south-facing window or an east-west-facing window with one end shaded by curtains.
If you only have access to filtered light or fluorescent lights, then keep your concrete leaf succulent in these conditions until it has been grown for about 2 years.
Titanopsis calcarea needs a soil mix that drains well and isn’t too rich, since it is slow-growing. I use a mixture of 3 parts potting soil, 1 part sand, and 1 part perlite. I buy bags of all three from Lowes or Home Depot in 100-pound increments and then mix them myself so that I don’t have to worry about how much I end up using.
You can also go with a commercial cactus/succulent mix if you want something premixed.
It is important to water your concrete leaf succulents in well-draining soil, as soggy soil will lead to root rot. Water until you see some of it draining out of the bottom, and then wait until it dries out before watering again. This process can take several days to a week or two depending on how hot it is and how big your plant has gotten.
If you have a potting mix that tends to hold onto moisture longer than others, consider mixing in some perlite to help with drainage. If your plant starts looking shriveled and sad, there’s probably too much moisture around its roots, give it less frequent but deeper waterings instead of shallow ones.
Feed your Titanopsis calcarea with a balanced fertilizer during its active growing season, usually February through June. Use a fertilizer formulated for cactus and succulents to help promote blooming, especially if you want to attract hummingbirds.
Do not over-fertilize, as too much fertilizer will burn your concrete leaf succulent’s roots. Instead, use about 1/4 teaspoon of fertilizer per gallon of water when watering once a month in spring and summer.
In fall and winter, feed monthly using 1/8 teaspoon per gallon of water. If you don’t fertilize at all, your concrete leaf succulent should still grow but may produce fewer flowers than it would otherwise.
Titanopsis calcarea needs a fairly consistent temperature to thrive. A cold draft, fluctuating temps or temperatures below 50 F can negatively impact their growth and appearance.
Try moving your concrete leaf succulents closer to a heat source if they tend to get too cold in your home. In addition, keep them out of direct sunlight during winter and make sure they aren’t exposed to bright light for extended periods of time.
This plant loves moisture, so water thoroughly and regularly. The soil should be kept slightly moist at all times. If your plant develops brown or black tips on its leaves, it may need more humidity. Spray it daily with water from a spray bottle until new growth starts to appear in these areas.
The ideal humidity range is 40-60%. You can increase humidity by misting with water, and placing your plant on a tray of wet pebbles or in a shallow dish of water. Conversely, lower humidity can be achieved by placing your plant in an area with higher air circulation and/or by using a small fan to circulate air.
Titanopsis calcareas grow extremely slowly, so pruning them isn’t really an option. They can be repotted in spring if necessary, although you should keep your titanopsis inside for at least one winter after you bring it home from a nursery.
When you repot them, use cactus mix soil and fill their new pots with plenty of coarse grit to ensure that they don’t accidentally rot.
You may also want to consider using a stake or other kind of support system, as concrete leaf succulents are not particularly sturdy plants. If you do decide to stake your plant, make sure that you tie it loosely enough that water can still drain freely out of its pot.
When to repot
Concrete leaf succulents should be repotted in late summer. It is also important to remove any dead or damaged leaves at that time. Keeping Titanopsis calcarea and other succulents away from direct sunlight for a few days after repotting will help them adapt to their new situation.
If you have moved your plant outdoors, bring it back inside once repotting is complete. The colder temperatures of winter can cause damage to leaves that have not been protected by their papery covering while they are outside.
Titanopsis plants are extremely slow-growing, so no need to worry about over-potting. In fact, these plants don’t like being transplanted too often. Repot only when necessary!
During these cold months, many succulents can experience dormancy or winter rest. This isn’t a hibernation-like state of slumber, but it does mean your plants are adjusting to their environment by lowering their metabolism and letting go of water for a time.
You won’t see much growth, and some of your plants might even look a little worse for wear. However, spring is just around the corner! Your plants will start growing again in March and April, so keep them warm and dry until then.
It’s also a good idea to move any dormant succulents out of direct sunlight; they don’t need as much light during winter rest as they do during warmer months.
Titanopsis calcarea flower & fragrance
This is a very showy and easy-to-grow jewel plant. Flowers are pink to dark red, while the fragrance is that of raspberry candy. It’s not a particularly large plant, but it will grow happily as a bonsai specimen or as an addition to any succulent collection.
In some areas, it also works well outdoors in temperate climates as an interesting specimen for a summer container garden.
Titanopsis calcarea is a medium-growing succulent. It forms 5-8 wide clumps. Most people grow it as an outdoor plant and bring it in for winter, but if grown in a container, you can move it indoors to a bright location with good light year-round. The new growth emerges from September to December in cultivation.
Titanopsis calcarea is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. The following symptoms can be expected, intense salivation, incoordination, dilated pupils, weakness, difficulty breathing, and death.
USDA hardiness zones
Titanopsis calcarea thrives well in USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10. In cooler climates, you can grow it as a houseplant.
Pests and diseases
As with many succulents, Titanopsis calcarea plants are prone to insect infestation and root rot, so try your best to keep an eye out for any pests or diseases.
Keep your concrete leaf succulent and free of pests and diseases. Inspect for aphids and scale insects, both of which can damage tender new growth. If you find any, wash with a strong stream of water from your hose or spray from a pump-up garden sprayer filled with soapy water.
To avoid exposing them to disease and parasites, don’t overwater plants or use dirty water, use fresh water in clean containers every time you water.
If you live in a Mediterranean climate, growing outdoors is a great option. Containers and planters are also ideal for jewel plants because they allow more control over soil, water, and exposure to the sun or shade.
The titanopsis calcarea (concrete leaf succulent) is an excellent addition to any container collection because it requires little care and maintenance. It can even withstand slight frost! Another benefit of growing these plants indoors is that they do not require as much fertilizer compared to outdoor options.