Tender annual and perennial flowering plants, from South Africa, which belong to the Daisy family, Compositae. The chief kind, O. crassifolia, is a perennial, shrubby at the base and having trailing or drooping stems, clothed with small, fleshy, oval leaves 1 in. in length, and bearing yellow, daisylike flowers, 1/2 in. in diameter, in summer. The name Othonna is derived from othone, linen, a reference to the downy covering of the plant originally called by this name. Othonna crassifolia is sometimes called Little Pickles.
For a Sunny Greenhouse or Window. These plants require a minimum winter temperature of 45 degrees and a soil compost of two parts of loam, with a little leaf mold and sand added.
Repotting is done in March. The plants are taken out of the pots and the crocks and all loose soil removed from the roots; then the plants are repotted in slightly larger pots. No shade is required. After potting, the soil is not watered until it becomes quite dry. When the plants are established in the new pots, the soil is, however, kept moist throughout the summer. During the winter comparatively little water is required; the plants are then watered only when the soil becomes quite dry, just enough water being given to prevent the stems from shriveling.
O. crassifolia is an excellent subject for hanging baskets in the greenhouse as well as a fine plant for a sunny window. In mild, dry climates such as that of southern California it is a useful ground cover for the outdoor garden.
When to Take Cuttings. Propagation is principally by cuttings; small side shoots are removed at almost any time, but preferably in spring and early fall, and inserted in pots, which are well drained and filled with equal parts of sand and loam. The pots of cuttings are placed in the open benches or on a windowsill and no water is given to the soil until it becomes dry; it is then thoroughly soaked.
This procedure is continued until roots are formed, when the rooted cuttings are potted separately in 3-in. pots and, later, into larger pots.
Raising Seedlings. Seeds are sown in pots of sandy soil in spring or summer. Well-drained pots are filled with finely sifted compost. The seeds are scattered thinly on the surface and lightly covered with soil. A pane of glass is laid on the pot after the soil has been thoroughly moistened.
When the seeds have germinated the glass is removed and the seedlings are exposed to full light. They are eventually pricked off, 2 in. apart, into a seed pan, and, when large enough, are potted separately in 3-in. pots.
The chief kind is O. crassifolia (capensis), Little Pickles, trailing stem, yellow flowers. Other kinds
are O. amplexifolia, 18 in., shrubby, yellow; O. carnosa, 12 in., subshrubby, yellow; and O. tuberosa, 2 ft., tuberous-rooted, yellow.