Lampranthus blandus (Lamp-pran-TH-us BL-and-Dus) known as Midday flower for a reason – the plant produces brightly colored flowers that look a lot like daisies.
However, Midday flowers open up only during the day and close up as the sun goes down, are the most distinctive characteristic of Lampranthus.
Native to South Africa, these ice plant members are found in and around Cape Town with the common names of:
- Midday Flower
- Trailing ice plant
- Pink Vygie
It is a perennial shrub belonging to the Aizoaceae family and the genus Lampranthus.
The hardy, sturdy succulent Lampranthus plant is recommended for USDA Hardiness Zones 9- 11.
Caring For Lampranthus Blandus
Size & Growth
In its natural habitat, trailing ice plants can grow up to 24” inches.
However, when it is grown in a pot, it generally grows to no more than 18” inches in height.
With its shrub-like growth, the plant is also suitable for hanging baskets.
The stems are generally red in color and are covered with grey-green leaves. The foliage is distinctive, elongating up to 2” inches with translucent dots and spots.
Flowering and Fragrance
The midday flower is a free bloomer. When properly cared for, the plant is covered with pale pink flowers all summer long.
The flowers are lovely and resemble the ever-famous daisies.
While the flowers are pink, the center is bright yellow, adding a soft glow and appeal to the flowers. The flowers are no bigger than 2” inches across.
However, during the flowering season, they appear in abundance.
The most fascinating thing about Midday flowers is that they open up at sunrise and closes into a bud-like form as night falls.
The flowers have no distinctive scent.
Light & Temperature
These plants require a lot of light and prefer warm weather. Since the plant requires a lot of energy to bloom an overwhelming amount of flowers, it does not mind bathing under direct full sun.
During the summers, these plants can survive outside, even in high temperatures. However, they cannot tolerate frost.
Therefore, during the winter, to move these plants inside. Keep them in a bright spot that receives a lot of light and maintain the temperature at about 50° degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering and Feeding
Lampranthus Blandus does not require a lot of water and does enjoy humidity. Water plants moderately throughout the summer. Make sure the soil dries out between the watering.
As the temperature begins to drop, reduce watering.
During the summer, use a weak liquid fertilizer to feed these plants once every two weeks. However, since they don’t flower during the colder months, feeding is not required during the winter.
Soil & Transplanting
Commercial cactus soil or well-drained potting soil with pumice works well for these plants.
Spring is the best time of the year to transplant these plants. Once you have repotted them in larger pots, cut and trim the plants as required.
Grooming and Maintenance
The stems of the midday flower can become long and leggy. This usually happens when the plant does not receive sufficient amounts of light.
Cut these long and leggy branches in February – March before the flowers start to appear.
How to Propagate Lampranthus
Lampranthus can grow from seeds. The best time to sow seeds is during the spring.
Use a mix of peat and sand and make sure not to press down hard on the seeds. Once the seeds are sown, place the pot in a bright spot, maintaining the temperature around 68° to 72° degrees Fahrenheit.
Water lightly to keep the soil moist but not saturated.
Seeds germinate in about two weeks. Move the young seedlings to a shady spot. Once the seedlings are big enough to be handled, move them into individual pots.
Plant using a cactus soil and provide as much light as possible to the young growing plants as possible.
To create fuller pots, plant 4 – 6 seedlings in one large pot.
Lampranthus Blandus also propagated through cuttings.
Take cutting during the spring or early fall. Keep them in a cool, dry place for a few days to dry and callous over.
After a few days plant the cuttings in sandy soil or in a mixture of peat and perlite. Refrain from watering the cuttings for the first week.
Then, water sparingly. If the leaves look dried mist them lightly. Pot the cutting once the roots start to develop.
Lampranthus Pests and Disease Problems
The Lampranthus ice plants are susceptible to attacks by mealybugs and scale insects. Apply a thorough spray of an organic insecticide like neem oil for control.
If the mealybugs have infected the soil, use Neem oil as a soil drench to treat the soil.
These plants are also prone to spider mites. Use miticide to fight a spider mite attack. Aphids and thrips are also common enemies.
To tackle the pest problem, use food grade diatomaceous earth powder instead of spraying the plant. Lampranthus plants can be sensitive to chemicals present in sprays.
Lampranthus requires very little water, especially during the winter, and can experience root fungus due to overwatering.
If the stems start to rot or become excessively soft, cut off the affected stems, allowing the plant to dry off.
Ways To Use Lampranthus
The Lampranthus is an excellent indoor cactus for sunny windowsills. When the plant blooms, the gorgeous flowers are pure candy for the eyes.
At the same time, the plant increases the overall aesthetic appeal of its surroundings, especially during the flowering seasons.
The trailing ice plant also makes for a perfect hanging basket!