Bear’s Paw Succulent-Cotyledon Tomentosa

Cotyledon tomento
The  Cotyledon tomentosa is commonly called Bear’s Paw.  It’s primarily grown for its unusual bright green leaves with reddish brown markings that look like claws. It produces yellow orange bell shaped flowers, seen above. Mine is flowering right now, so I thought it the perfect time to talk about this fun succulent. Like my Spider Cactus, it originates in Cape Province, South Africa.

Our youngest grandson chose this plant when we visited a garden nursery several years ago. You can understand why children are fascinated by it.  Bear’s Paw is referred to as a succulent shrublet and grows up to 20 inches in height. They grow nicely outdoors in zone 10, but also do well indoors in containers.

Bear’s Paw most often flowers during the growing season which is April to August. This year mine began flowering in Late October, perhaps because our Southern California summer  was a long one this year.

Bear’s Paw prefers a bright light, but not direct sun. If grown outdoors, it should be in slightly sandy well draining soil. If grown in a container, it should drain well, and be slightly larger than the root system. I like to use my old standby homemade cactus recipe. It consists of one part perlite, one part coarse sand, and one part vermiculite mixed together. During the active summer growing period, it’s a good idea to fertilize with a mild water soluble fertilizer twice a month. Its water needs are moderate, and Bear’s Paw should not be over watered. Bear’s Paw is another easy to grow and fun to look at succulent. You might want to give this one a try.

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