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Huernia keniensis (Kenyan Dragon Flower)


Scientific Name

Huernia keniensis R.E.Fr.

Common Names

Kenyan Dragon Flower

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Tribe: Stapeliae
Genus: Huernia


Huernia keniensis is a succulent plant with 5-angled, grey-green stems with some red mottling. The stems are up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) thick. Flowers are reddish to purplish, star-shaped with a distinctive ten-pointed corolla, and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) across. Flowers appear in winter and do not have a carrion-like smell.

Huernia keniensis (Kenyan Dragon Flower)

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USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Huernias require a potting mix with excellent drainage. A succulent plant mix of 50 percent pumice or perlite, 25 percent peat or organic mulch, and 25 percent sand helps prevent rotting and overwatering. Roots experience dieback in cool-season dormancy, so plants grow best in shallow containers that allow the soil to dry out quickly. Using clay pots further helps the soil from staying too wet. An underlayment of coarse gravel below the soil mix also improves drainage. In climates with damp, cool summers, a layer of gravel between the plant and the soil mix also helps prevent the stems from staying too moist.

Outdoor plantings do well in raised beds. Huernias prefer bright light or partial shade. In nature, they grow underneath shrubs or other plants. Too much sun causes stems to develop protective reddish or purple pigmentation and can actually scald the stems. Too little light leads to weak, thin growth with decreased flower production. Huernias grow best between 50 and 80 °F (10 and 27 °C). Protect them from freezing weather. See more at How to Grow and Care for Huernia.


Native to Kenya and Tanzania.


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