Huernia barbata (Masson) Haw.
Huernia barbata subsp. barbata, Huernia campanulata, Stapelia barbata,
This species is native to South Africa. It occurs from Pofadder in Northern Cape, Vanrhynsdorp to Karoopoort and Montagu in Western Cape to Port Elizabeth in Eastern Cape, growing on stony slopes under bushes and crevices in rocks.
Huernia barbata is a small succulent that forms dense clumps of short, often very stout stems with spreading deltoid tubercles joined into 4 to 5 angles. It grows up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) tall and 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. The stems are grey-green, sometimes mottled with purple-red. They are up to 4 inches (10 cm) long and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) thick. Flowers are bell-shaped with five nearly triangular lobes and appear solitary or in a cluster of 2 to 5 near the base of stems on a short peduncle, opening successively from the end of summer through fall. They are up to 2.6 inches (6.5 cm) long and 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter. There are five small secondary lobe tips halfway between the big ones. Outside, the flowers are smooth, cream to greenish, with 3 to 5 raised longitudinal veins and sometimes speckled with maroon. Inside, they are cream to pale yellow with maroon spots and long, often club-shaped hairs in the mouth of the tube and onto petals. Seed pods are paired follicles that resemble paired horns and appear up to a year after flowering.
The specific epithet "barbata (bar-BAY-tuh)" is a Latin adjective meaning "bearded" and refers to the long hairs found on the flowers.
How to Grow and Care for Huernia barbata
Light: H. barbata prefers bright light or partial shade during the hottest summer days. Too much sun causes stems to develop a protective pigmentation or get sunburned. Too little light leads to weak, thin stems and decreased flower production. Indoors, place the plant near the brightest window in your home.
Soil: The right soil is crucial to successfully growing H. barbata. Use a 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 but does not like winter cold and should remain fairly dry and warm during its winter dormancy. H. barbata 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: H. barbata has typical watering needs for a succulent. 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 during the growing season is a good idea. Feed with water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength.
Repotting: H. barbata will benefit from fresh potting soil every 2 or 3 years. Repot your plant in spring, just before the growing season. 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. H. barbata is also easy to grow from seeds. Sow the seeds in spring.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Huernia.
Toxicity of Huernia barbata
H. barbata has no toxic effects reported. It is safe around pets and humans.
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