Mesembryanthemum is a genus of flowering plants in the family Aizoaceae; like many members of this family, it is characterised by long-lasting flower heads. It is a native of South Africa. Flowers of Mesembryanthemum protect their gametes from night-time dews or frosts but open in sunlight. There is an obvious evolutionary advantage to doing this; where sun, dew, frost, wind or predators are likely to damage exposed reproductive organs, closing may be advantageous during times when flowers are unlikely to attract pollinators.
Ground cover plants don’t come much tougher or lower maintenance than this plant. In its native land, pigface is used to growing in dry, rocky and sandy conditions which makes it very tolerant to drought, salt and wind. Its succulent foliage will form a dense and spreading mat, growing to no more than 15cm high and around 40cm wide. It’s prized of course for the spectacularly vibrant flowers that form all over the plant in early spring – electric shades of orange, pink, yellow and a crystal white that contrast beautifully with the foliage.
Choose a dry, sunny spot with good drainage, such as amongst rock. They will tolerate partial shade but you may find they produce less flowers. They have a tendency to trail slightly, so plant them at the edge of retaining walls or pots where they can artfully spill over the side. Pigface is unlikely to have problems with pests or disease, just ensure that your drainage is good to prevent root rot.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.