Hoodia gordonii (Masson) Sweet ex Decne
Stapelia gordonii, Hoodia barklyi, Hoodia burkei, Hoodia longispina, Ceropegia gordonii
Hoodia gordonii is a many-stemmed succulent shrub with upright cylindrical spiny stems with prominent tubercles tipped with a long sharp spine and fused in the lower half into 11 to 17 distinct ribs. The stems are gray-green to gray-brown. They are up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall and 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Flowers are flat, circular to quite clearly 5-lobed, and up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter, and usually appear in early spring. They are flesh-colored to deep purple-red inside and pale flesh-colored with darker veins outside.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Stapeliads are relatively easy to grow. However, they should be treated as outdoor plants as they will easily rot indoors and cannot flower without exposure to outdoor temperature fluctuations. They should be grown under cover so that watering can be controlled. Stapeliads require a reasonable amount of sunlight to promote flowering and maintain a well-shaped plant. Very shady positions will produce very poor flowering.
These plants come from climates where they survive extremely high temperatures in the summer months, so most growth is in spring and fall, with flowering in fall when the weather starts to cool down. In the growing season, water in moderation when needed, making sure soil is fairly dried out between waterings. Do not water between late fall and early spring.
The easiest and best way to propagate Stapeliads is from stem cuttings, which can be taken virtually throughout the year. Using the seed is also a method of propagation of Stapeliads.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Stapeliads.
This species grows naturally in an extensive area of the Kalahari desert in South Africa and Namibia. It is also found in the deserts of Botswana and Angola.
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