Huernia whitesloaneana Nel
This species is endemic to the Blouberg and the Soutpansberg in Limpopo, the northernmost province of South Africa. It usually grows on more or less flat, sandstone outcrops on top of the mountains in very exposed spots.
Huernia whitesloaneana is a dwarf succulent that forms dense mats of erect stems with deltoid tubercles joined into 4 to 5 angles and abruptly narrowing into a sharp tooth. The stems have a distinctive purplish-green color. They are thick, fleshy, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) tall, and up to 0.3 inches (0.8 cm) thick.
Flowers appear solitary or in groups of 2 to 5, developing successively from short a peduncle in summer. They emit a slight but sharp, bad odor. The corolla is bell-shaped to cylindrical, up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long and 0.9 inches (2.2 cm) in diameter, usually smaller. Outside is smooth, purple-red mottled on cream with 3 to 5 heavy paler raised longitudinal veins on the lobes and the upper parts of the tube. Inside is smooth towards the base of the tube, above densely papillate, with concentric purple-red lines in the lower half coalescing into a dark patch around the corona. The deep maroon corona is up to 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) tall and nearly equal in diameter.
The specific epithet "whitesloaneana (white-sloan-ee-AY-nuh)" honors Alain White and Boyd L. Sloane, two American experts on Stapeliads and Euphorbias.
How to Grow and Care for Huernia whitesloaneana
Light: H. whitesloaneana 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. whitesloaneana. 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. whitesloaneana 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. whitesloaneana 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. whitesloaneana 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. whitesloaneana 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 whitesloaneana
H. whitesloaneana has no toxic effects reported. It is safe around pets and humans.
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