Cotyledon orbiculata

pig’s ear
Hardy succulent with a branching, shrubby habit. Versatile and easy to grow. Nice bell-like apricot flowers on elevated stalks.
Cotyledon orbiculata
height 8–18in
width 1–2ft
tolerates Coast, Cool Summers, Drought, Deer , Fog, Gophers, Pots, Neglect, Salt, Wind
Being primarily from South Africa, cotyledons are particularly well adapted to California’s climate and are extremely drought tolerant, especially on the coast where they often need no supplemental water once established. They are tolerant of overwatering in winter, and of underwatering during summer.

If you see your cotyledon begin to shrivel, lose firmness, or shed many of the lower leaves without replacing them, your plant is likely totally dry and should be watered.

Remember that if kept in a small pot your plant will want more frequent watering.
exposure Part Sun – Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix, Tolerates Sandy Soil
fertilizing All Purpose, Low Needs
origin South Africa
9, 12–24

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

While Cotyledon orbiculata will grow in sun or shade, they are more squat and vibrant in the sun, and they tend to get a little floppy-looking when grown in full shade where it also looses its powdery white coating.
By pinching back the growth point (to just above where two leaves part), you can encourage your succulent to branch and have a lower bushier form. Do this by finding two leaves and pinching, snapping or cutting the stem just above them. Your plant will grow a new stem from each leaf and become twice as dense. These new stems can be pinched once a few sets of leaves lush out making an even bushier plant.
Cotyledons have candy corn flowers with recurved petals, usually dangling from an upright stem. Prune off these flowers once the stalks have dried.

Special Interest

The genus cotyledon are primarily from Southern Africa, and the name refers to the similarity of the leaves to the initial leaf that emerges from a seedpod (called a ‘cotyledon leaf’) which is uniquely shaped to fit in the seed.

These succulents are exceedingly easy to propagate from cuttings.