Cotyledon orbiculata (Pig's Ear)

Scientific Name

Cotyledon orbiculata L.

Common Names

Pig's Ear, Pig's Ears, Silver Pig's Ears, Round-leafed Navel Wort, Round-leaved Cotyledon, White Lady


Adromischus mucronatus, Cotyledon ambigua, Cotyledon ausana, Cotyledon decussata, Cotyledon dielsii, Cotyledon elata, Cotyledon engleri, Cotyledon fourcadii, Cotyledon macrantha, Cotyledon mucronata, Cotyledon ovata, Cotyledon paniculata, Cotyledon papillaris, Cotyledon ramosa, Cotyledon ramosissima, Cotyledon tricuspidata, Cotyledon ungulata, Sedum decussatum, Sedum orbiculatum

Scientific Classification

Family: Crassulaceae
Subfamily: Sedoideae
Genus: Cotyledon


Cotyledon orbiculata is a succulent shrub with erect to decumbent stems and leaves hugely variable in color, shape, and hairiness. It grows up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall. The leaves are usually glabrous, egg-shaped with the narrower end at the base, but also rounded, oval, cylindrical, and hairy, up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide, with margins often reddish and undulate. Flowers are orange, red, or yellow, bell-shaped, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long, and droop from the top of an up to 1.5 feet (45 cm) tall stalk.

In Australia, this species is often sold as Cotyledon 'Dan's Delight' or Cotyledon orbiculata 'Dan's Delight'.


USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Cotyledons can be divided into two groups. One group consists of evergreen plants with a summer growing period. The other group is made up of deciduous plants, splendidly magnificent with large, solid fleshy stems. The second group grows during the winter and sheds its leaves during the summer.

These succulents require a free-draining gritty mix and plenty of sunlight. They are tolerant of cool, frost-free conditions during the winter if kept dry. Some require pruning to maintain an attractive shape. Cotyledons should be kept in a sunny position. Follow general succulent watering procedures. Be careful of overwatering when they are deciduous.

As succulents go, Cotyledons certainly are a rewarding garden and indoor subject, practically independent of irrigation in all but full desert conditions. However, they cannot survive low light or poor drainage.

Feed it once or twice during the growing season with a fertilizer specifically formulated for cactus and succulents (poor in nitrogen), including all micronutrients and trace elements diluted to 1/2 the strength recommended on the label.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Cotyledon.

You may just want to divide your Pig's Ear because you want to have more of them. With the right tools and environment, you can get clippings to grow so you can have multiple Cotyledons in your possession.

Learn more at How to Divide, Propagate, and Transplant a Pig's Ear Plant.


Cotyledon orbiculata is native to Swaziland and South Africa (Cape Province, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal).

Varieties and Cultivars

  • Cotyledon orbiculata var. flanaganii
  • Cotyledon orbiculata var. oblonga
  • Cotyledon orbiculata var. oblonga 'Flavida'
  • Cotyledon orbiculata var. oblonga 'Macrantha'
  • Cotyledon orbiculata var. dinteri
  • Cotyledon orbiculata 'Cinderella'
  • Cotyledon orbiculata 'Elk Horns'
  • Cotyledon orbiculata 'Huisrivier Pass'
  • Cotyledon orbiculata 'Lighthouse Road'
  • Cotyledon orbiculata 'Mucronata'
  • Cotyledon orbiculata 'Oophylla'
  • Cotyledon orbiculata 'Staghorn'


  • Back to genus Cotyledon
  • Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus

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Pig's Ear (Cotyledon orbiculata): An upright grower with large, silvery leaves with variable shapes. It has a powdery coating of wax that protects the plant in full sun. Exposure to direct sunlight brings out a bright red outline at the leaf margins. This genus can bloom in the fall, sending up a robust bloom stalk with pink, bell-shaped flowers.

Soft succulents will not survive a hard frost, but if there is a risk of freezing temperatures they can be brought indoors to grow on a sunny window sill or under a grow light. They need ample sunlight, good drainage, and infrequent water to prevent rot. Pick containers with drainage holes and use well-draining cactus and succulent soil with 50% to 70% mineral grit such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite. Water deeply enough for water to run out the drainage hole, then wait for the soil to fully dry before watering again.

This variety is easy to re-root from stem cuttings. Look to our Succulent Cuttings Guide for tips on succulent propagation.

Watch the video: Cotyledon orbiculata, commonly known as pigs ear

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