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Huernia zebrina (Little Owl Eyes)


Scientific Name

Huernia zebrina N. E. Br.

Common Names

Little Owl Eyes, Little Owl, Owl Eyes, Zebra-stripped Huernia, Carrion Flower, Lifesaver Plant


Ceropegia zebrina

Scientific Classification

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


Huernia zebrina is a low-growing succulent, more or less creeping, occasionally forming mats. It is one of the most beautiful flowering Huernias and very popular in cultivation for its odd blooms. The stems are erect to decumbent, irregularly branched, 4- to 6-angled, strongly toothed, tapering, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, and 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) in diameter. Flowers are star-shaped, yellow, banded in coppery brown, and with a dark red rim.

Huernia zebrina (Little Owl Eyes)

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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 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.


Huernia zebrina is native to Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.



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