"The hottentot fig is a succulent that is commonly used as ground cover. Its flowers close up at night and in low light, and they look almost like starfish with their long stamens. The plant is naturalised in various locations around the world, including South East England. It's really useful for various animal species; its fruits attract small rodents, so predators, like snakes, like to hide within its leafy clumps. It also feeds larger animals, like baboons and antelopes, and tortoises love it too.
Tips from Garden Coaches
Succulent plants are so popular with people for its low maintenance cost and different but interesting shape.
'Tis at teat that the bud of the lip learns to blow,
That the ice-plant grows gracious, and shakes off the snow;
Ev'n him who at dinner, fat mute as a block,
Or like to a lighter that's jamm'd in a lock…
— By the Same
The origin of Hottentot's name is hard to trace. Although it is often called Hottentot fig, many people think that the word hott carries a discriminatory and derogatory meaning.
This plant is often called sour fig which is derived from ""suurvy"" in South Africa because its fruit is particularly acidic.
Hottentot fig is food for many animals. Tortoises dine on the leaves, while baboons and antelope enjoy the flowers. The fruits are eaten by a number of animals, who disperse the seeds. These plants also provide shelter for small reptiles such as lizards and snakes.
Hottentot fig is a succulent that forms an excellent ground cover in a garden. Its low water requirements make this a popular choice for xeriscaped or low-water gardens, and in areas where drought is a problem. Poor soil quality is no concern for this plant, so many gardeners will use it in difficult areas of the garden, or to prevent soil erosion. It looks most pleasing when planted with other groundcover succulents.
Good luck and good fortune
Spring, summer, autumn
61 cm to 91 cm
5 cm to 9 cm
Cliffs, banks, sandy and rocky places by the sea
Drought-tolerant. Allow the soil to dry completely between watering.
Fertilization once every 2-3 months during the growing season.
Deadhead (or remove) withered flowers after flowering.
Late winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn
Needs excellent drainage in pots.