Bear Paw Succulent Care: Growing The Cotyledon Tomentosa Plant

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The bear paw cactus known as Cotyledon Tomentosa is a succulent perennial of the Cotyledon genus, belonging to the Crassulaceae family and native to South Africa.

The Bear 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.

unique leaves of Cotyledon Tomentosa the Bear Paw SucculentPin

The bear’s paw plant is easy to grow and maintain, similar to Kalanchoe Tomentosa.

Other common names for Cotyledon Tomentosa include:

  • Bear Paw plant
  • Woolly Cotyledon
  • Kitten Paw Plant
  • Bear Paw Cactus
  • Bear Paw Succulent

Other sub-varieties include:

  • Cotyledon Tomentosa subsp Ladismithiensis – reaches about 12″ inches tall and densely-branching.
  • Cotyledon Tomentosa Variegata – foliage with cream patches around the edges of the leaf tips

Cotyledon Tomentosa Plant Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Cotyledon tomentosa
  • Common Name(s): Bear Paw Cactus, Bear’s Paw Succulent, Bear Paw plant, Woolly Cotyledon, Kitten Paw Plant
  • Synonyms: N/A
  • Pronunciation: Kot-EE-lee-don, Toh-men-TOH-Suh
  • Family & Origin: Crassulaceae family, native to South Africa
  • Growability: Easy to grow
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 9-11
  • Size: Grows up to 20” inches tall
  • Flowering: Produces pinkish, orange-red, or light bell-shaped flowers during the spring season
  • Light: Prefers bright indirect light for at least six hours a day
  • Humidity: Tolerates low humidity
  • Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 60-80°F
  • Soil: Well-draining soil mix
  • Water: Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch, but avoid overwatering
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize light, balanced all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer twice a month during the growing months
  • Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to mealybugs, scales, and spider mites and can develop root rot if overwatered
  • Propagation: Propagate through stem cuttings or leaf cuttings
  • Plant Uses: Makes a great addition to succulent gardens or as a houseplant in a sunny window. Can also be used in rock gardens or as a ground cover.

Cotyledon Tomentosa Plants Care

Size and 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 10 “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 pinkish, orange-red, or light yellow colors.

Light and Temperature

The bear claw cactus loves bright, indirect sunlight with ample airflow.

Make sure to plant Tomentosa in a spot with plenty of bright light for at least six hours a day.

The ideal temperature for this plant ranges from 60° to 80° degrees Fahrenheit.

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 to 11b.

Watering and Feeding

These succulent plants like to be thoroughly watered during the summer when the soil feels dry.

However, be cautious when watering in winter as it tends to lose roots 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, water this plant thoroughly once a week. It also tolerates low humidity levels.

For potted plants, drench the soil thoroughly until the water starts draining out from the bottom of the pot.

It doesn’t require much water during the winter, just enough to avoid letting the soil completely dry.

Feed this plant a light, balanced all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer for succulents twice a month during the growing months, typically during the summer.

Soil Mix and Transplanting

Being a native of South Africa, this plant grows 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 that is a bit larger than the root system.

Like 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. Like other succulents, this plant prefers to be in bright light or full sun.

These plants go dormant during the summer season.

Moreover, this plant will need some protection via mulch to avoid scarring in the winter or when growing in colder regions.

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 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 the touch.

Propagation is also done using leaves, but it is a complex process with a lower success rate.

  • Take the leaves from the plant by gently twisting them.
  • 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, it is best to sow them during the fall season.

Bear Paw Succulent Pest or Diseases

Like 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 that have a cotton-like resemblance. 

More on –> Getting Rid of Mealybugs on Succulents

Scale insects may attack the plant’s stems and 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.

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