The ear of a cat is an evergreen, succulent, perennial plant native to Africa; the genus cyanotis is closely related to the genus tradescanzia and therefore has very similar forms. This plant has small leaves of bright green, succulent, lanceolate, evergreen, which have a thick white hair on the edge, which makes them silver-gray in the distance. When exposed to the sun, the foliage of the cat's ear quickly takes on a reddish green color. The stems are prostrate or creeping, and often also have a thick white hair.
From late spring to autumn at the apex of the stems small purple flowers bloom, very pleasant. Plant of easy cultivation, tends with time to ruin and to bloom less and less, for this reason generally I tend to renew the plants every 3-4 years, or it is maintained pruned every year, so as to enjoy the new ramifications every spring.
Cat's ears prefer partially shady or even completely shaded positions; surely the specimens grown in the shade have a more balanced development, more healthy and bright foliage. These plants fear very intense and prolonged frosts, therefore they are cultivated in full ground only in areas with not too cold winters, or in zones it starts from the cold; they are often grown in a container.
The cultivation in pots, at our latitudes, is certainly the most suitable and recommended type of cultivation for this plant. Cultivating the Cyanotis somaliensis in pot it is possible in fact to choose the most suitable place of the house as regards exposure and temperature, and eventually move the plant according to the needs.
During the beautiful season the Cyanotis somaliensis should be watered quite regularly, keeping the soil slightly damp, but avoiding excesses and stagnations; with the arrival of cold, watering is thinned out and completely suspended for the winter period. From May to October, provide fertilizer for flowering plants, every 20-30 days, mixed with the water used for watering.
Let us remember to water the cat's ears like the majority of succulent plants or supplying plenty of water at the time of watering and then suspend the irrigation until the soil is completely dry.
They are grown in soil that is not too rich, loose and very well drained; three parts of good universal soil can be used, mixed with a part of sand and a part of lapillus or pumice stone. The specimens grown in the container will be repotted every 2-3 years, in autumn, to guarantee a good root development and enough space.
Given the ease with which this rooting plant generally favors propagation by cuttings, to be practiced in spring, taking small pieces from the apex of stems that do not bear flowers. It is also possible to divide the clumps in autumn.
Cat ears - Cyanotis somaliensis: Pests and diseases
The plants of Cyanotis somaliensis fear aphids and root rot. To avoid the onset of these diseases we must first check the watering and perform them correctly, after which a control of the occasional foliage can help reduce the risks against aphids.