Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mystery Mesemb Undergoes Radical Surgery!

OUCH! That's what my Mystery Mesemb had to say about its new leaf pair last week:

As you may recall, it's my newest mesemb, a freebie from the nursery, whose leaves got horribly bloated there because it was left out in a tropical storm for several days.  So the new leaves were trying to emerge, and it wasn't a pretty sight. I've read that mesembs can die because of this condition, so I consulted a couple of books by botanists about what to do. The answer seemed to be radical surgery....

I simply took a very clean, sharp, small knife and cut away the old leaf that was not shrinking enough to let the new leaves grow. I was worried, but everything turned out to be fine, and the mystery mesemb is now healthy with new leaves growing freely, and fast!

The new leaves, which should be healthy and normal, look a lot more like a Gibbaeum than the old, scarred and bloated pair. You can see how the newly freed leaf pair is much smaller than the other that was emerging normally. This should correct itself fairly quickly. 

Have you ever done mesemb leaf surgery? How did it turn out?


  1. Cool Marla; what a great tip! And good to know that your plant recovered well from the surgery too. :) I've had a few cases with Lithops where new leaves were having trouble emerging from the old leaves, and this advice would have been the perfect helping hand to assist them in their transformation. Now I know what to do for next time. Thanks!

  2. It's good to know that this technique can work, and we don't have to stand by helplessly and watch part of our collection die when the old leaves don't shrivel quickly enough.

  3. Ah! Nothing like having a medical "gene" running in the family! Nice work! Love, Dad XOXO

  4. I'm glad tried-and-true surgical techniques provided a solution in this case!