The bear paw cactus known as Cotyledon Tomentosa [Kot-EE-lee-don, Toh-men-TOH-Suh] is a succulent perennial of the Cotyledon genus, belonging to the Crassulaceae family and native to South Africa.
The bears paw plant as it is commonly known makes stunning and unique indoor plants. Also, the shrublets look great in a rockery or succulent plant garden.
The bear’s paw plant is easy to grow and maintain looking similar to Kalanchoe Tomentosa.
Other sub-varieties include:
- Cotyledon Tomentosa subsp Ladismithiensis – reaches about 12″ inches tall and densely-branching.
- Cotyledon Tomentosa Variegata – foliage with cream patches around edges of the leaf tips
The common names for Cotyledon Tomentosa include:
- Bear Paw plant
- Woolly Cotyledon
- Kitten Paw Plant
- Bear Paw Cactus
- Bear Paw Succulent
Cotyledon Tomentosa Plants Care
Size & Growth
The fast-growing bear claw cactus grows up to 20” inches tall with bright green hairy leaves and teeth-like prominent tips, resembling a bear’s paw.
The fuzzy leaves are thick, neatly arranged, and grow around 1.5” inches long.
Each leaf has three to ten “teeth” which may turn deep red. New paws grow as the plant starts maturing.
The leaves are hairy and have a textured finish. The overall plant is plump and compact.
Flowering and Fragrance
Cotyledon Tomentosa succulents form bell-shaped flowers during the spring season.
The bear paw flowers are usually in pinkish, orange-red, orange to light yellow colors.
Light & Temperature
The bear claw cactus loves the bright light but not direct sunlight with ample airflow.
Make sure to plant Tomentosa in a spot where it gets plenty of bright light for at least six hours a day.
When planting indoors, place it near a south-facing window, so the plant gets plenty of light.
The USDA hardiness zones of this plant are 9b – 11b.
Watering and Feeding
These succulent plants like to be thoroughly watered during the summer months when the soil feels dry to touch.
However, be cautious when watering during the winter season as it tends to lose the roots when in prolonged cold or wet soil.
It is ideal to utilize the soak and dry method and ensure the soil is completely dry between watering.
If there is no rainfall, be sure to water this plant thoroughly once a week.
For potted plants, be sure to drench the soil thoroughly till the water starts draining out from the bottom of the pot.
It doesn’t require much water during the winter season, just enough to avoid letting the soil completely dry out.
Feed this plant a light balanced all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer for succulents twice in a month during the growing months, typically during the summer.
Soil Mix & Transplanting
Being a native of South Africa, this plant grows the best in rocky quartz fields with excellent drainage offered by porous soil.
To plant indoors, it is essential to use a container with at least one drainage hole at the bottom.
Be sure to select the container, which is a bit larger as compared to the root system.
Similar to other succulents, Cotyledon Tomentosa thrives in a well-draining soil mixture to prevent root rot.
Select a succulent potting mix formulated especially for succulents.
Coarse sand and perlite may be included in the typical potting mixture to make it more suitable for this plant.
Grooming and Maintenance
The Cotyledon Tomentosa is relatively easy to take care of and maintain. Just like other succulents, this plant prefers to be in bright light or full sun.
These plants go dormant during the summer season.
Moreover, in the winter seasons or when growing in colder regions, this plant will need some protection via mulch to avoid scarring.
How to Propagate Cotyledon Bear Paw Succulent
The propagation of this plant is done in different ways.
The easiest way is through stem cuttings.
- It is best to take the cuttings by using a sharp and sterile pair of scissors or a knife.
- Gently remove the stem from the plant and allow it to be callous for several days.
- Plant the bare root in well-draining succulent soil and water thoroughly when the soil feels dry to touch.
Propagation is also done using leaves, but it is a complex process and has a lower success rate.
- Take the leaves from the plant by gently twisting it.
- The leaf must be a clean pull to propagate successfully.
- Leave the leaf to be callous for two to three days and plant in well-draining soil.
When using seeds for propagation process, it is best to sow them during the fall season.
Bear Paw Succulent Pest or Diseases
Similar to other succulents, this plant is susceptible to fungal diseases caused due to overwatering.
It will start showing limp leaves, which easily fall off.
Scale, spider mites, and mealybugs are also an issue for this plant. Details on –> Controlling Succulent Pests
Mealy bugs are small white bugs which have a cotton-like resemblance. More on –> Getting Rid on Mealybugs on Succulents
Scale insects may attack the plant’s stems and may be tricky to get rid of.
Cotyledon Tomentosa Uses
The Cotyledon Tomentosa plant makes a good houseplant and looks terrific as a rock garden plant in dry, hot areas.
These are also used in containers on sunny patios.