Adromischus maculatus, “Calico Hearts”, or “Chocolate Drop” is a grey-green type of succulent. Its appearance is that it has a flat, oval leaves with purple-colored spots all over them.
Beginners can learn how to plant and care of succulents using this specific plant. It propagates well in bright light or even indoors. It rarely blossoms indoors but outdoors it tends to produce tube-shaped, white blooms.
Calico Hearts are succulents native to Africa that can propagate indoors because a sufficiently bright indoor light is enough for it to survive. If it’s given enough light, it can be grown indoors. This succulent can grow up to 20 centimeters or 8 inches wide and about just as tall. It’s best grown at a minimum temperature of -6.7° C or 20° F.
#1. When to plant
Plant the succulent in a container you can bring indoors if you live in a zone where it can get colder than -6.7° C or 20° F. It’s not cold-hardy and too much cold can kill it. It’s best planted during spring to fall. Plant in a garden that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. You should also protect the plant from frost by planting it indoors or anywhere sunny.
#2. Where to plant
Plant it indoors or outdoors. As mentioned above, it should be kept indoors if your wintertime season temperatures drop to less than the aforementioned range. It’s a compact plant, so plant it on compact spaces like a sunny window ledge, the greenhouse’s top shelf, or a small pot by the window bay with a water drainage pan underneath.
#3. How to plant
Calico Hearts plants should be planted by pot if the winters are especially cold in your area or by garden with loads of sunshine. Just dig just enough for the leaves to take root and plant.
As long as it’s placed where it gets 6 hours of sunlight or lots of indoor fluorescent light, it’s good to go. If you live in a tropical, sunny, or even sub-Saharan climate, the plant will thrive with hardiness against hot climates.
Care for Calico Hearts
It can grow in any gritty compost that’s free-draining. To ensure that you avoid over-watering the plant, you should employ the soak and dry method of watering the plant from time to time and avoiding watering them until the soil is soaked dry. Put the plant indoors or in a shed if it’s rainy in your area.
#2. Light & Temperature
Calico Hearts are all about sunlight or artificial indoor lighting. It’s partial to full sunlight. It’s also one of the best indoor plants because it thrives on semi-regular watering and incandescent or LED light just fine. It’s also a good outdoor plant for summary to tropical climates. It can also handle temperatures of up to -3.8° C or 25° F but it prefers anything above 10° C or 50° F.
#3. Water & Humidity
Water the plant sparingly and make sure the soil is completely dry before attempting to water the succulent again. This is known as the “soak and dry” method. It’s sensitive to overwatering, just like aloe vera or other succulents. The more you soak it the likelier its root will rot. It also doesn’t need high humidity and will survive under most household settings.
Use the organic liquid variety of fertilizer on the Calico Hearts during the growth season. In other words, it should be given fertilizer during the beginning of spring until the summer season. It will boost the plant’s defense system as it thrives at fall and endures the cold temperatures of winter, of which it is weak against.
You can propagate the Calico Hearts by using its leaves. Just carefully plant every leaf into the soil for about an inch or so without damaging the tips of the succulent. Water immediately but don’t over-water. It’s Spring and Fall plant capable of growing up to 8 inches or 20 centimeters in height and width.
Cut the stem of the Calico Hearts within half an inch of the desired node or leaf. The cut must be done at a 45° angle with a sharp knife so that you can end up with the cleanest cut possible. Afterwards, remove up to a third of the leaf’s length as you prune the plant up to a more compact and manageable shape.
#1. Growing Problems & Diseases
Calico Hearts can suffer from root rot. This succulent is also quite fragile, so be careful when you touch it. Once odd bump or stray twist can snap the leaves in twain, much like an oregano plant. You should find the right spot for it to propagate then leave it alone.
The most well-known pests for Calico Hearts are vine weevils and mealybugs. You can save the plant from its natural predators of pests by with a systemic insecticide. Just watch out from using any chemicals that could kill helpful insects like bees.
#1. Where did Calico Hearts come from?
Calico Hearts originated from South Africa, specifically in a place called Mpumalanga. It’s clear why it’s the kind of plant that is sensitive to overwatering. In its native South Africa, water is scarce and it can survive with little watering. It’s also sensitive to cold for obvious reasons (it’s a South African plant that’s used to heat and not acclimated to frost).
#2. How does the Calico Hearts plant fare during the different seasons?
As expected of a South African plant, Calico Hearts isn’t hardy to cold. It instead actively grows throughout spring and fall while it should be put indoors during winter. You should keep water off of the leaves in the wintertime as well. It thrives well during summer.
#3. Does the Calico Hearts plant have any known herbal medicinal value?
No. It can be toxic to humans and animals (pets) so please avoid eating it. It’s unlike oregano, which can have its essence or oils extracted in order to treat conditions from asthma to diabetes. Avoid trying to extract its oils for consumption.
#4. How can you take care of Calico Hearts in the winter?
If there’s snow and frost, put it indoors where there’s heat. It can survive during the winter as long as it’s cool and frost-free. Keep water off of its foliage during the season as well to prevent it from getting frosty and “frostbitten”.