Dorstenia gigas Schweinf. ex Balf.f.
Socotran Fig Tree
Dorstenia gigas is a caudiciform plant with a large flask-shaped to nearly spherical trunk with many side branches and semi-glossy deep green leaves generally clustered toward the branch tips. The trunk can reach up to 4 feet (1.2 m) in height and up to 3.3 feet (1 m) in diameter, making it the largest and most desirable species in the genus. Leaves are up to 8 inches (20 cm) long.
The tiny flowers are grouped in flat inflorescences called hypanthodium. They appear at the apex of the branches in the fall.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Dorstenias are warm, loving plants, and they need a bit more water than regular succulents. They need a well-drained potting mix, and their water needs vary depending on the season of the year. Water regularly abundant from spring to fall. Allow the soil to dry slightly between watering, but ensure they never dry out completely. During the winter months, they tend to go at least partially dormant. During this period, water very little. Giving plants a warm, sunny position can result in beautiful compact growing plants. Fertilizing plants once in a while during their growing period with a high potash and phosphorus fertilizer is recommended.
With a high-temperature swing between the day and night hours and pretty frequent rains, the spring weather can favor the development of fungus diseases, which should be treated preemptively with a systemic fungicide.
Dorstenias are generally propagated by seed. Many species are self-fertile. Their seeds are expelled explosively from the mature seed heads and are liable to populate pots several feet away. They can also be propagated by cuttings.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Dorstenia.
Dorstenia gigas is endemic to Socotra Island.
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