Aptenia cordifolia

Water Needs

low; moderate; high

Aptenia cordifolia
Succulent; Groundcover
Aptenia (a), Brakvygie

15 cm

Size

Light Conditions

sun; semi-shade

Frost

light; moderate; hardy

Flowers

Red and purple varieties; spring summer

Sun, semi-shade; afternoon sun; container; dry shade; damp shade; rockery; windy exposed; walls; slope bank; paving; clay soils; sandy soils; wildlife bees butterflies insects

Garden Situation

Habitat

rocky places; coastal eastern cape; coastal kzn; bushveld; urban streets

Region

thicket; Subtropical East Coast; bushveld savanna

Rain Season

Summer, winter

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Description

This bright little jewel is one of the more well -known and useful groundcovers around. While not as floriferous as many of the winter rainfall vygies, it is a good replacement in the warmer summer rainfall regions of our vast country. Although not as striking in colour or size of flower, the tiny flowers do look like miniature ‘mesembs’ in shades of magenta or purple. Aptenia forms a thick succulent matt of bright green leaves and quickly spreads to cover a large area in no time at all. Flowering well in both sun and light shade, it is an under- utilised plant for the difficult areas of the garden. It will grow in poor soils, sandy soils, shallow soils, and in the salt laden air of coastal       gardens. It lends a rich tropical feel to a garden, with the succulent leaves having a shine to them, as if constantly moist. A strong root system helps to bind soils on banks, and in windy areas, it helps to prevent the loss of top soil. Succulent plants are very effective at storing extra moisture in their leaves enabling them to survive drought as well as the very drying effects of strong winds, and the Brakvygie has tiny glands on the leaf surface that enable it to survive drought conditions. The tiny hairs that cover the leaves protect them from the burning caused by the salty air and reduce loss of water through transpiration. It works well hanging over walls, and as fillers in hanging  baskets and containers.

Aptenia cordifolia
Aptenia cordifolia