Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ruschia uncinata

Ruschia uncinata
is a succulent in the Mesembryanthemaceae family that I am currently trying out in my garden. The R. uncinata, recommended for USDA Zones 10-11, may not do well in our Zone 9b, but I wanted to try it out. If it makes it this summer, I may plant more of this groundcover. This species grows to about a foot high, with a good spread. It is a winter grower, and flowers in mid spring and early summer. The flowers resemble those of the Desert Ice Plant (Drosanthemum hispidum,) but are a paler pink. There is a reason for this resemblance. The Mesembryanthemaceae family has two subfamilies. They are Mesembryanthemoideae and Ruschioideae. Both these plants are in the Ruschioideae subfamily. Oddly, I couldn’t get a decent photo of the R. uncinata—it sort of blended in with the gravel groundcover no matter what I did.

I didn’t know a thing about the Ruschia genus until earlier this year when I attended a Cactus and Succulent Society meeting and obtained a cutting of Ruschia crassa, a species that does very well in Zone 9b. Until then, I’d never heard of the genus. The R. crassa has a blue-gray color and R. uncinata is gray-green. R. crassa can be invasive in moderate climates. I’m not sure if that holds true for R. uncinata. It will be interesting to see if the heat keeps the invasive tendencies in check.

I planted this groundcover in full sun. The light and heat intensity in the next couple of months will answer the question on the hardiness of this drought tolerant plant in Zone 9b.


Sigrun said...

Very informative to read your blog.I send you a friend over there which likes expotic plants very much!


Gin said...

In my garden, I love to "push the zone". I'm always trying plants that are not quite for my zone. You'd be surprised at how many make it!

beckie said...

Living in zone 5, I had no idea there were ground covers like this. Really different from ours, but I like the look of it. Hope it does well for you-as you said-time will tell.

Wurzerl said...

What a interesting plant - Ruschia uncinata - I never heard the name!
But in the family of the Mesembryanthemaceae are a lot of conspicuous species. I like the color of the blossoms.
Have a great weekend Wurzerl

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

I had not heard of this plant before and liked reading all about it. Thanks for the info! It's a pity I won't be able to grow it in my zone 8 garden.

Julie said...

Where did you find this, locally?? I wonder how it would do here. I will look for it! Thanks for telling all about it! It has a wonderful appearance on the whole.

Aiyana said...

Thanks for all the comments everyone!
Julie, I got this at a local nursery, Baker's Nursery, in Phoenix. Our temps were over 113 today and it still looks ok. I won't know until late September if it makes it--sometimes sustained heat does in plants rather than a few days of high heat.