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How to Grow and Care for Ceropegia


Ceropegia contains a diverse group of 160 named species native to Africa, southern Asia, and Australia. Some of these perennial plants have succulent stems, which may be dwarf or vine-like and possess fibrous roots, while others have tubers and relatively thin stems, along which new tubers may form in some species. Species with fleshy thickened roots are the most difficult to grow. The leaves are opposite but maybe vestigial on species with succulent stems.

Flowers occur either singly or in umbel-like clusters and have a tubular corolla two or more times as long as its diameter and longer than the five lobes. The base of the tube is usually inflated, and the tube may have downwardly orientated hairs on the inside and hairs on the outside and at the edges of lobes. Colors include reds, purples, yellows, greens, and mixtures of these. Flies entering the corolla may become trapped by the hairs until the flower wilts. The tips of the lobes are fused to form a cage-like flower structure in many species but are open in others.

Growing Conditions

Light: Ceropegia does well in bright light. It does not need full sun. If the light is too low, the stem will stretch, and the leaves will be far apart. It will look better if grown in enough light. Also, the purple coloring will fade.
Water: It likes to be water regularly. The leaves should be thick and full. If they are paper thick, the plant is low on water.
Soil: Ceropegia will grow in any type of soils. Add more perlite to the mix, so the roots do not get too wet. In the wetter soil mix, the plant must be allowed to dry between watering.
Fertilizer: Alway with fertilizer, less is more. A little fertilizer is helpful. Using too much will possibly burn the roots.

Ceropegia woodii

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It is usually from cuttings. If they are a tuber forming on one of the stems. They can be placed against the soil in a pot. When they have rooted down, you can cut the stem and have a separate plant. You can also cut off a tuber and part of the stem and coil it around the small pot. It will have the chance to root. Most succulent plants will root from small pieces. It is a natural way to maximize the chances for the plants' survival if not the mother plant then pieces of it.

Grower's Tips

A gritty compost is suitable, and clay pots help with drainage, especially for the species with white thickened roots, which are the most susceptible to rotting and for species forming large tubers. Ceropegias appreciate water and a little fertilizer during warm weather, although some care with watering is required for the more difficult species. The vine-like species can suffer from prolonged drought.

Typically, many of these species grow and climb naturally among bushes, which provide shade and humidity to the base, while the vegetative growth is in the light. Where tubers occur, they are best planted on the surface of the compost, and the vegetative growth allowed to twine around supports or to trail down from a hanging pot. The latter mode of growth has the advantage of not using valuable bench space. Small tubers formed at joints in the thin stems of some species can be used for propagation. If the tuber rots or dries out, don't panic. As long as some of the top growth is still in reasonable condition, it may be possible to save the plant by re-rooting stems in damp gravel.

In the more succulent species, stems layered on the compost will produce roots from their lower surface and climbing reproductive flowering shoots, which can be allowed to hang down or twine around supports. Vine-like species readily root from cuttings inserted vertically in the soil to the bottom of a pair of leaves. A minimum over-wintering temperature of 50°F (10°C) is adequately providing the plants are kept dry.



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