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Huernia procumbens


Scientific Name

Huernia procumbens (R.A. Dyer) L.C. Leach


Duvalia procumbens (basionym)

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Rhipsalideae
Genus: Huernia


Huernia procumbens is an intriguing succulent perennial herb with reptile-like, sinuous stems which trail close to the ground, occasionally lifting their “heads” or becoming pendent. The stems are up to 12 inches (30 cm) long, up to 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) thick, dull green, pale greenish-mauve, purple in the stem grooves. Flowers appear in inflorescences of 1 to 2 flowers, at the base of the young shoots. The corolla is up to 2.2 inches (5.5 cm) in diameter, with a chestnut-brown, glabrous annulus and slender sharply acuminate cream to earth-colored corolla lobes.

Huernia procumbens

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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 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. Lifesaver plants 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 degrees Fahrenheit (10 and 27 degrees Celsius). Protect them from freezing weather… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Huernia.


Native to Zimbabwe, South Africa and probably Mozambique as well.


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