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Monday, September 2, 2019

Hearts and Flowers Failure

Aptenia, or Hearts and Flowers, is a succulent that looks good with a little bit of shade and not in full sun unless the soil has been amended well.

Q. This spring we re-landscaped our yard to include six groundcover plants called Hearts and Flowers groundcover planted in full sun. They did well in the cool, rainy spring.  As the weather got warmer, most of them turned brown starting at the center of the plant and extending outward.  They are watered with two each, 2 gallon per hour emitters for 30 minutes three times a week.

A. It sounds like it just got too hot for them in that location. These plants are short-lived in the desert. Hearts and flowers are succulents and not as tough in full sun as many cacti. They grow best in the cooler months of spring and fall. They originate in the warm and dry parts of South Africa in locations that have summer monsoons.
            Hearts and Flowers will grow in full sun out in the open if it is not a southern or Western exposure with reflected heat. Plants will handle heat better if they are planted in soils amended with good compost but prefer light shade in the afternoons. The best place to put them is morning sun with some light shade in the afternoons or on the east facing side of a wall. Typically, they have very few pest problems.

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