In the arid climate of Namibia on the African continent, we can find a plant that may not have a very high ornamental value, but it is incredibly resistant. This is the Welwitschia mirabilis.
Let’s know something more about her.
Its habitat is in Namibia and southern Angola. The climate is very dry, so much so that not even cacti can survive in these conditions.
For this reason, it must collect water from the atmosphere to be able to live, which it does through a deliqüescent substance that it has in its leaves.
It is a plant that is composed of only two leaves, which each year grow from eight to 15 centimeters, thus favoring their renewal. They can measure hundreds of meters, in fact, specimens have been found whose leaves measured more than 15 meters. But they do not usually exceed 10 meters, since the sun and the wind dry the tips. In any case, they cannot be appreciated in a linear way, since the climatic conditions cause them to be folded in on themselves, even torn.
It has a single, very long root, which sprouts from the base of a trunk that, although woody, stores water.
Welwitschia is a genus of primitive, unique plants. There is no plant quite like them. In addition, it is very long-lived: it has a life expectancy of 1000 years.
It is in high demand among collectors of cacti and succulents. However, its cultivation is difficult. It is necessary to have experience in the cultivation of these types of plants, which includes being well informed about the climatic conditions of their habitat to try to emulate these conditions in, for example, a greenhouse or terrarium.
A good substrate for seedlings should be composed of: 60% silica sand, 20% perlite and 20% vermiculite. If the seeds are fresh, the germination rate is very high. The difficulty of cultivating Welwitschia lies in the subsequent care of the young seedlings. You will have to be very careful with watering, fungi, and especially the cold, since it does not tolerate it.
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