Dorotheanthus ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’

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

Although it resembles a standard variegated succulent, we find Dorotheanthus ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’ more versatile and less fussy. In the south it is used as a variegated green groundcover, whereas in the north it’s considered a houseplant to take outside in the summer and bring back inside during the winter. In Cincinnati we are in the middle, so we can take advantage of ‘Mezoo’ in landscapes, combos, and as a display specimen. A key feature is its easy-going nature.

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Thick variegated leaves with a spilling habit—a major selling point for ‘Mezoo’

You might find that it looks like a trailing Delosperma but, crucially, ‘Mezoo’ does not require the loose, lean, sandy beach-like soils that Ice Plants do. In pottery and troughs, it works in the traditional Sedum/Sempervivum/Succulent mixtures, but ‘Mezoo’ also grows in standard potting soil. For landscapes, we can get a variegated succulent look using the same basic soil and water regime that works for most of our other typical go-to plants. Maintenance after planting is a big factor in mainstream adoption for any cultivar, and ‘Mezoo’ has this topic covered.

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Flowers emerge from the leaf clusters at the joints

That cultural distinction 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 landscape bed when using a plant that settles into the standard garden soil that already exists. ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’ does exactly that. Most people can take care of it using the standard gardening habits they’ve built up over the years—no special instructions are required.

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Take it inside for winter but avoid frost at night when setting 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. Mezoo 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. That’s a wide margin, but avoid the extemes. Thunderstorms once a week are perfectly fine; a month-long drought is not. Like most of the material we handle, ‘Mezoo’ prefers water on a regular schedule and decent drainage.

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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, sterner plants in a larger garden arrangement are able to grow through the loose mats, whereas the softer material winds its way around the openings. In a mass planting, ‘Mezoo’ 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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‘Mezoo’ blooming in the hottest spot in our Display Gardens last year

During the summer, dime-sized red flowers appear up and down the foliage—charming little daisies that make you smile. These close up during cloudy days but the foliage stays open for business even when the skies are dark.

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.

Dorotheanthus ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’ comes in the 4.5- and 6-inch pot sizes.

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