Chocolate Fingers Plant: Cotyledon orbiculata var. “Oophyla Lady Fingers”

If you’re looking for a stunning addition to your drought-tolerant garden, look no further than the Chocolate Fingers Plant –  Cotyledon Orbiculata var. Oophylla, also known as “Lady Fingers.”

chocolate fingers plant

With its soft, fleshy finger-shaped leaves, this beautiful little shrub or container plant is sure to catch your eye.

A Touch of Elegance

The bluish-green leaves of  Chocolate Fingers Plant  are dusted with a fine white powder, giving them a unique and intriguing appearance.

Each leaf is tipped with reddish tones, adding a touch of vibrancy to this already captivating plant.

And if that wasn’t enough, come early summer, it bursts into an excellent display of orange flowers.

Easy Maintenance and Beautiful Displays

chocolate fingers plant

To keep Chocolate Fingers Plant thriving, it’s important to remove dried flowers and replant every three years.

This encourages new growth and ensures your plant continues to flourish.

By simply removing the old growth, cutting off the younger heads, and replanting, you’ll have a bountiful display for years to come.

At The Little Garden, we’ve found that Chocolate Fingers Plant looks especially stunning in our display beds.

Its blue tones and attractive pink edges truly make it stand out.

And as an added bonus, its velvety soft gray egg-shaped leaves are covered with a white chalky dusting, giving it a unique velvety texture.

Nature’s Little Marvel

chocolate fingers plant
Chocolate Fingers Plant – Young Flower Buds

This moderately fast-growing succulent spreads into a colony, creating a beautiful and natural cover.

In spring, it sends up flower spikes adorned with bright red bell-shaped flowers, making it a favorite among hummingbirds.

For the best purple coloration, be sure to give it plenty of sunlight.

Cautions and Considerations

As with any plant, it’s important to be aware of its potential risks.

Chocolate Fingers Plant is poisonous to humans and domestic animals, particularly sheep and goats.

Even after cooking, the meat of animals affected by the plant remains toxic.

So, it’s crucial to exercise caution and keep this plant out of reach if you have pets or small children.

Remember, never use winter oil sprays on plants that have a glaucous white powder on their leaves.

This powder actually helps protect the leaves from sunlight, and the oil can wash it away, leaving the plant more vulnerable.

chocolate fingers plant

Discovering Horticultural Delights

If Chocolate Fingers Plant has piqued your interest, get ready for some intriguing details about this plant!

It hails from the Crassulaceae family and calls South Africa and Swaziland home. It loves dwelling in coastal bluffs, dunes, and even rock crevices.

  • Temperature: This plant is pretty chill, handling various temperatures, withstanding as low as 20-25°F (-6.7 to -3.9°C).
  • Light: Chocolate Fingers Plant prefers full sun to light shade, though it flowers best when given ample sunlight.
  • Water: It is highly drought-tolerant, but some water during the growing season can benefit its overall health. Remember to water the plants from below to preserve the beautiful white, waxy leaf coating.

Maintenance and Propagation

chocolate fingers plant

Maintenance is simple, with the occasional removal of spent flower stalks.

You can use Chocolate Fingers Plant to create magnificent displays in rock, cactus, and succulent gardens.

It also works wonderfully as a low-to-medium height xeriscape ground cover or in containers.

Creating more of this plant is a snap! You can propagate it with cuttings or by planting its leaves in sandy soil.

If you’re starting from seeds in the spring, remember to keep them moist, but not too soggy.

Once the seedlings hit about an inch in size, you’ll know it’s transplanting time.

Pig’s Ear Variant

If you cannot find this rare variety, you can choose the more popular Cotyledon orbiculata (Pig’s Ear). Here are some interesting facts about this plant:

chocolate fingers plant
Credit: Abu Shawka/WikiCommons
  1. Appearance:
    • For me, Cotyledon orbiculata is a real gem. This succulent sports these adorable, round leaves that come in shades like gray-green or bluish-green. They’re like little water reservoirs, thanks to their thick, waxy coating, keeping them fresh and hydrated.
  2. Leaf Arrangement:
    • The leaves are arranged in a rosette form, and they can have red or brown margins, particularly when exposed to bright sunlight or stress.
  3. Flowers:
    • In the late winter to spring, Cotyledon orbiculata produces tubular, bell-shaped flowers on tall, slender stems. The flowers can be various colors, including shades of orange, coral, or red.
  4. Growth Habit:
    • The plant has a shrub-like growth habit and can reach a height of about 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm).
  5. Special Features:
    • Personally, I view Cotyledon orbiculata as being like the superhero of succulents—super tough and flexible. It can handle drought like a champ and is totally chill with various environments, perfect for dry or semi-dry spots. You’ll often spot it strutting its stuff in succulent gardens, hanging out in rock gardens, or even cozying up in containers.
  6. Cultural Significance:
    • In some regions, Cotyledon orbiculata is considered a sacred or protective plant. In addition to its ornamental uses, it has cultural and medicinal significance in certain traditional practices.
chocolate fingers plant

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Chocolate Fingers Plant is a delightful addition to any plant collection.

With its unique appearance, ease of care, and potential health benefits, it’s a fantastic choice for both new and seasoned plant enthusiasts.

From its captivating chocolate-scented leaves to its adaptability in various environments, this plant is sure to bring joy and style to your living space.

So, why not add this charming plant to your home and experience the wonder of the Chocolate Fingers Plant for yourself?