Dorotheanthus ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’

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Button-sized red flower of Dorotheanthus ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’

Although it looks like a standard variegated succulent, Blue Ribbon Dorotheanthus ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’ actually differs in a number of ways. It is traditionally considered a houseplant or pottery plant but it leads a double life: you can take it outside in the summer and bring it inside during the winter. ‘Mezoo’ has some unique features we like for gardens, combos, and as a display specimen.

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Thick variegated with a spilling habit—a signature feature of ‘Mezoo’

You might find that it resembles a trailing Delosperma but, crucially, ‘Mezoo’ does not require the loose, lean, sandy beach-like soil that Ice Plants do. This means most people can take care of it using the standard gardening habits they’ve built up over the years with no special instructions required.

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Flowers emerge from the leaf clusters at the joints

A cultural distinction of this nature is important. It’s easier adding a succulent trailer to a combo, planter, or window box if the succulent thrives in the same soil as the rest of the plants. Likewise, it’s a lot less work creating a variegated succulent look in a bed when using a plant that settles into the standard garden soil that already exists. ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’ does exactly that.

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Take it inside for winter but avoid frost at night when settling plants back outside

What we consider a blessing can also be a curse to those who are unfamiliar with this plant. Although it looks like a succulent, it truly is not; it likes the heat but cannot handle droughts like Delosperma or Sedum. Standing water is also bad, as it rots out the roots. ‘Mezoo’ basically needs soil and water straight down the middle: not too dry and not too wet. In essence, it requires water on a regular schedule and decent drainage, just like most garden plants.

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Under the foliage are thick rope-like stems that keep the leaves anchored firmly

‘Mezoo Trailing Red’ grows low at about 6 to 8 inches. It spreads around 18 to 20 inches when grown in the ground—we like to space plants about a foot apart and let them close the gaps. Taller plants in a larger garden arrangement are able to grow through the loose mats, but ‘Mezoo’ also lays down a variegated carpet all on its own. In this regard it’s an effective pioneer plant, growing fast and holding the soil down until the rest of the planting gets settled.

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‘Mezzo’ blooming in the hottest spot on the patio

This plant appreciates a little grooming so trim it back if you want a tighter look or leave it alone for a loose feel. ‘Mezoo’ begins to branch out from the pinch points. Keep the cuttings, especially the ones with the little red flower dots—they make unusual accents in a cut vase or worked into a floral headdress.

During the summer, dime-sized red flowers appear up and down the foliage—charming little daisies that elicit a smile. They close up during cloudy days, but the ‘Mezoo’ plant stays open for business even when the skies are dark.

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