This Pleiospilos nelii, commonly known as a Split-Rock plant, recently arrived at my house along with a tillandsia and a crassula succulent I’d ordered from an eBay seller. Since it was listed in the succulent section of the shop, I foolishly made the assumption that I could pop this in with the rest of my succulents outside, forget about it, and wait for the cute little flower.
This is the ‘Royal Flush’ variety, which grows a pink flower and is less common than the other yellow/orange-flower-producing split-rocks. I’ve never thought much of the looks of these plants, except for perhaps, “Ew.” I’ve seen these at Home Depot and kept walking. It’s really not pretty, although it is at least more attractive than lithops, which to me look like nasty warts, or sometimes brains. But with the flower surprise, I thought, what the hell, it’s kind of cute when it’s blooming.
(Although, just now, because of the color and emerging new leaves, its inner appearance is sort of… oh, my. Anastasia Steele would be blushing and chewing her lip if Christian Grey sent her one of these with a note: “This reminds me of you. Laters, baby.”)
Without any real further research, then, I hit “Buy Now.” And then I did the research… and found that I’d just bought one hell of a picky houseplant. You see, this thing comes from a region of Africa with hardly any rainfall. It didn’t want to get eaten by thirsty animals, so it evolved to look like a rock. It also has no mechanism to tell it to stop drinking (perhaps bearing some similarity to me around wine), so it will go ahead and try to absorb as much water as you give it into those two fat little leaves. Which, if you water it too much, spells death for this plant. Thus, if I were to put it outside, it would most certainly binge on the next rainstorm and die.
You are also only supposed to water it at certain times of year / certain points in its life cycle. It is picky about its living conditions. Its living quarters. Its watering frequency and amount. Generally, it wants to order me around and if I don’t obey, it threatens to promptly commit suicide.