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Huernia oculata

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Scientific Name

Huernia oculata Hook.f.

Synonyms

Huernia rogersii

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Huernia oculata is a dwarf succulent plant with very unusual flowers. Stems are stout, slender, erect or somewhat sprawling, 5-angled, glabrous, strongly toothed, up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall, and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter. Flowers are up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter and appear from late summer to early autumn. The 5-lobed corolla is black-purple or brown-black, with a pure white center.

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (-1.1 °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. These plants grow best between 50 and 80 °F (10 and 27 °C). Protect them from freezing weather.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Huernia.

Origin

Native to Angola and Namibia.

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