Ruschia pulvinaris (Vygie)
Plant image

Plants in the Ruschia genus are among the most striking, versatile and diverse of all succulents in the Mesembryanthemaceae family. This particular one forms a dense grey groundcover that becomes covered in pink blooms.

Name & classification

Botanical name:
Ruschia pulvinaris

Common names:
Vygie, Beesvygie (Afrikaans)

Plant family:
Mesembryanthemaceae

Plant categories:
Cacti and Succulents; Non-herbaceous Perennials; Groundcovers


Name derivation & history:
The genus name Ruschia, was named in honour of a Namibian farmer by the name of Ernst Julius Rusch (1867-1957).

Ruschia is the largest genus in the mesemb family with about 216 species.

Pictures

Features

Leaf habit:
Evergreen

Height:
20cm

Plant shape:
Dense, low, spreading, fast-growing groundcover

Leaf description:
Small grey/green leaves

Flower colour:
Mauve

Habitat

Water requirements:
Little water required, but does best with plenty of summer water

Frost tolerance:
Hardy

Light conditions:
Sun; semi-shade

Other Characteristics

Drought resistant
Wind resistant
Has non-aggressive roots
Disease resistant
Pest resistant
Suitable for growing in containers
Low maintenance

Edibility & Toxicity

We have no confirmation that any part of this plant is edible
We have no confirmation that any part of this plant is toxic, however we urge caution as this information may be incorrect.

Ecology

Interaction with physical surroundings:
As with all mesembs, Ruschia species produce colourful flowers that are also scented. Insect pollinators such as bees, flies and butterflies eagerly visit flowers from morning till noon. Plants are designed to withstand heat and drought.

The dispersal of seeds is related to the opening of the capsule through moisture. The capsule keels expand when wet and lift up the valves under which the seeds are kept in small compartments. The raindrops then splash out seeds and they fall to the ground. The process of dispersal by water is only triggered when conditions are suitable, i.e. when rain is sufficient to ensure germination and subsequent establishment of seedlings.
Attracts insects

Other information

Cultivation:
Species of Ruschia are easily propagated, hence their popularity in gardens. Cuttings can simply be taken before or after flowering from mature and healthy plants and inserted into river sand. Water daily and keep in a well-lit but sheltered area. Roots normally appear rapidly, after 7 to 12 days. Sowing seeds is just as simple but may take a while longer then using cuttings. Seeds are sown in a medium of two parts sand and one part milled bark. Use shallow trays and do not cover seeds too deep, about 1 mm is the limit. Keep moist daily by using a fine mist sprayer and only transplant when seedlings have reached about 30 mm.

Once rooted or germinated, cuttings and seedling can be fed with organic fertilizers to enhance vigour and health.

Pests & diseases:
There are not many serious pests that attack Ruschia.

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