Titanopsis Calcarea are a great little plant. The little warty looking bumps come in a variety of colours and it’s got a lovely greyish rocky look to it. They’re pretty small. The rosettes can get to around 8cm (3″) and it will push up new rosettes forming a carpet. You don’t need much space for these, they stay fairly short and they’re slow growers so they can stay in the same pot for quite a while.
|Real Name||Titanopsis Calcarea|
|Common Name||Concrete Leaf, Living Stone|
|Light||Bright indirect light/Full sun in winter.|
|Water||Let the soil dry completely, then, water deeply.|
|Growing Season||Spring & Autumn|
|Dormancy||Summer. Semi dormant during winter.|
|Soil||Quick draining succulent soil.|
|Propagation||Stem cuttings, divisions or seeds.|
|Flowers||Large yellow flowers that bloom in spring or autumn.|
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what the best light is for Concreate Leaf Plants. Some say that it can’t survive without full sun year round while others claim that it can’t handle more than indirect bright light.
The best thing to do is figure out what works best for your plant. Start it off with indirect bright light and start increasing the amount of full sun it gets (starting with morning sun as it’s less intense than the afternoon sun) over the course of a week or two. If you notice any signs of sunburn or stress then decrease the amount of direct light it’s getting.
You’ll need to keep an eye on it over different seasons. If you live somewhere with hot summers then it might have a hard time in full sun. The rest of the year it should be fine to get at least a few hours of direct light a day.
The brighter the light, the better the colours on the leaves. When they don’t get enough light the plant will start to look greener rather than a blue or grey green.
Most succulents don’t need watering too often. Titanopsis Calcarea likes things even drier. It’s the kind of succulent that can go from thriving to a floppy, soggy mess rapidly so it’s much better to stay on the under-watering side of things.
I let the soil go completely dry on mine between waterings then, I water it really deeply. I use tap water that I’ve left sitting out overnight so that some of the chemicals in it can evaporate off and it can come to room temperature. Try not to get the leaves wet and if it does, blow any water that’s trapped in the rosettes out. Watering in the morning is best as it gives the plant time to dry out before the cooler evening temperatures.
If you notice the leaves starting to get floppy or going translucent and a sickly colour then it’s sign of over-watering. An early symptom is wrinkles appearing on the pale centres of the leaves. If you notice in time, cut back on watering – let the soil completely dry out and see if the plant starts to recover. If it’s starting to have real problems then you’ll need to get it out of the soil to check if there’s any signs of root rot.
Soil & Pot
Choosing the right soil and pot can make all the difference with water sensitive plants. Terracotta and unglazed clay pots have porous walls so they wick moisture out of the soil helping it to dry out faster and more evenly.
For soil, go for something quick draining so it’ll dry out nice and quickly. Mine’s planted in regular succulent soil from the garden centre and it’s doing just fine. In nature they grow around limestone which makes soil more alkaline so if you happen to have a more alkaline soil then it might like it but I’ve never personally tried it.
In my experience, small terracotta pots dry the soil out very quickly – sometimes too quickly.
Titanopsis love the cooler seasons, spring and autumn. They’re slow growers so don’t expect too much growth but once you’re getting warmish days and cool nights start, give them a diluted dose of succulent fertiliser to give it a boost and start watering it a bit more often.
The 2cm yellow daisy like flowers usually make an appearance in autumn. If you’re lucky it might treat you to another load of flowers in spring too.
Once it gets too hot or too cold Titanopsis go dormant. Reduce watering even more, especially in winter, and don’t fertilise them.
If you’re growing them indoors then they might not go into dormancy so you’ll need to keep a close eye on them so you know whether to adjust how much water to give them.
The exact temperatures Titanopsis can survive at is another debated topic. What I do know is it doesn’t like wet roots in cold temperatures so cut right back on watering. It will still need an occasional drink though. Don’t leave it sitting out in storms or long periods of rain.
I tend to bring mine indoors when it starts to get cold because it’s so rainy here that I don’t have an outdoor spot where it’d be protected from the rain but get enough light. Indoors I have it in a bright window to keep it from getting leggy.
Summer dormancy is a bit easier to deal with than winter. You might need to move your succulent out of direct light if it gets too intense. Give it an occasional watering and watch for signs of over-watering or under-watering. The summer heat can dry out your plant quickly but watering too frequently during dormancy can cause root rot. You need to find the sweet spot for your conditions.
Titanopsis don’t need much humidity. Because they’re so sensitive to moisture, too much humidity can cause the plant to start getting sick.
Mine get a weak dose of succulent fertiliser at the start of spring when they start their growing first growing season. They get a second dose at the start of autumn when temperatures start to drop.
Because Titanopsis are slow growers they can stay in the same pot happily for a few years. I wait until mine’s filled out the surface of the pot so there’s no soil showing before repotting.
Early spring it the best time to repot them but if you find that the growing seasons already begun then try and hold off until the start of autumn as long as it’s not showing problems from being in a too small pot.
This is the perfect type of succulent for division because it forms clusters. Wait until any new clusters are big enough to have their own root systems before dividing them.
The flowers are easy to pollinate with a paintbrush and the seeds are easy to harvest. I’ve never grown Titanopsis from seed but if I get any flowers this year I’ll definitely give it a go!
Some succulents blush when they get a lot of sun and it’s a natural reaction that doesn’t harm the plant. Healthy Titanopsis can have a very slight blush in the centre and be fine but if it starts creeping up the stems or the colours get more intense then it’s a sign somethings not quite right.
I got my hands on some overwatered ones and they all had the tell tale orangey centre which improved once they started to recover. Another Titanopsis that was out on a long, hot sunny day started to take on a red tinge in the centre too.
Keep an eye on the warts too. When the plant’s struggling the edges of the warts become much less defined. It can be hard to spot – I like to take pictures of my plants when I get them so that I have something to compare my plant to if I think it’s having problems.
Along with the colouring, the leaves started to get a bit floppy in both cases. On a healthy plant, when you touch one of the leaves it’ll be pretty firm and will only wiggle around a tiny bit. With a stressed out plant the stems will become really moveable and will bend and flop about.
Slight wrinkle lines on the stem can be a sign of issues too but, it’s fairly normal to have some faint wrinkles on there. Look out for them getting more pronounced or them taking on an almost wet appearance.
With overwatering, Titanopsis do the classic translucent sickly looking thing like most succulents, but it’s much more muted and takes longer to show up. It tends to start with the leaves darkening in the centre and looking a little damp. I’m pretty sure if you start seeing full on translucency then the plants a goner so look out for the early signs like floppy stems and an orangey reddish tint.
How do you rescue one with possible root rot?