Duvalia elegans (Masson) Haw.
Ceropegia jacquiniana, Stapelia elegans, Stapelia jacquiniana, Stisseria elegans
Duvalia elegans is a charming succulent with short, dull green or purplish-tinted stems with 4 to 5 angles lined with conical tubercles. The stems grow to 2.4 inches (6 cm) long and 0.7 inches (1.8 cm) thick and can be either decumbent or ascending.
The star-shaped flowers are shiny dark purple-brown with coarse hairs on the annulus and bases of the corolla lobes and the corona almost covering the annulus. They appear 2 to 3 together on up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long stalks near the base of the stems, developing successively in fall. The corolla is up to 0.9 inches (2.2 cm) in diameter and rather flat. The outer corona is dark red-brown, disk-shaped, and 0.3 inches (0.7 cm) in diameter, while the inner corona lobes are pale brownish-yellow.
Duvalia elegans is the type species of the genus Duvalia.
Duvalia elegans is native to South Africa. It grows under bushes on gravelly soils from Worcester to Riversdale in the Western Cape province.
The specific epithet "elegans (ELL-eh-ganz)" means "fine, elegant or handsome" and refers to the graceful appearance of this species.
How to Grow and Care for Duvalia elegans
Light: D. elegans grows best in full sun or partial shade. It will benefit from light shade during the hottest summer days. Indoors, place the plant near the brightest window in your home. It will stretch if it does not have enough sunlight. Avoid abruptly moving plants adapted to lower light levels to full sun to prevent sunburn.
Soil: Use commercial potting soil mix for succulents or prepare your own with 50 to 70 % mineral grit, such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite.
Temperature: This plant thrives in warm outdoor environments with low to moderate humidity. It does not like winter cold and should remain fairly dry and warm during its winter dormancy. D. elegans can withstand temperatures as low as 40 °F (4.4 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 11a to 11b, 40 to 50 °F (4.4 to 10 °C).
Watering: D. elegans has typical watering needs for a succulent. From spring to fall, during the growing season, water your plant thoroughly and allow the soil to dry between waterings. The plant goes dormant in winter and needs almost no water, about once a month.
Fertilizing: If you want to keep your plant healthy and thriving, fertilization is a good idea. Feed with water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength only when the plant is actively growing.
Repotting: Repot your plant in spring just before the growing season. D. elegans has shallow roots and does not require too much soil to grow. Pick a container with drainage holes.
Propagation: The best way to propagate this succulent is from stem cuttings. Take cuttings during the growing season to ensure good rooting. D. elegans is also easy to grow from seeds. Sow the seeds in spring.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Stapeliads.
Toxicity of Duvalia elegans
D. elegans has no toxic effects reported. It is safe around pets and humans.
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