Huernia zebrina N. E. Br.
Little Owl Eyes, Little Owl, Owl Eyes, Zebra-stripped Huernia, Carrion Flower, Lifesaver Plant
Huernia zebrina is a small succulent with erect to decumbent, strongly toothed, grey-green stems usually mottled with purple. It forms dense to diffuse clumps up to 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter. The stems are 4- to 6-angled, irregularly branched, up to 4.8 inches (12 cm) long, and 0.8 inches (2 cm) across (excluding teeth). Flowers are star-shaped, up to 2 inches (5 cm) across, and appear in later summer. They are cream to yellowish, irregularly lined with red to maroon on lobes changing to dots on the shiny annulus, often coalescing there, and uniformly red to maroon in the tube.
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 prevent the soil from staying too wet. An underlayment of coarse gravel below the soil mix also improves drainage. A layer of gravel between the plant and the soil mix in climates with damp, cool summers 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 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.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Huernia.
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