Orbea decaisneana subsp. hesperidum (Maire) Jonkers
Caralluma hesperidum, Angolluma hesperidum, Caralluma commutata subsp. hesperidum, Caralluma decaisneana subsp. hesperidum, Pachycymbium decaisneanum subsp. hesperidum
Orbea decaisneana subsp. hesperidum is a much-branched succulent that grows up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall, forming diffuse mats up to 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter. Stems are slender, cylindrical, slightly angled with a conical protuberance, erect to decumbent, 3- to 6-ribbed, up to 16 inches (40 cm) long, and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in diameter. They are whitish-green to grey-green, marbled or spotted with brown to purple. Flowers are dark purple or reddish-brown, star-shaped, and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Several species are fairly easy to grow. Others, often those with slightly hairy stems and the more unusual flowers, are more challenging and require careful watering (with some fertilizer) during the growing season and complete withdrawal of water during the winter months. A minimum winter temperature of 50 °F (10 °C) is acceptable, providing that plants are kept dry. A heated growing bench or incubator may help delicate plants to get through the colder months. However, many species live under shrubs in habitat and prefer light shade rather than full sun.
A gritty compost is essential, and clay pots are advisable for the more delicate species. Some growers prefer a mineral-only compost to minimize the chance of a fungal attack on the roots. A layer of grit on the surface of the compost prevents moisture from accumulating around the base of the stems.
Keeping Stapelias and their roots free of pests such as mealybugs is the real key to success as fungal attack often occurs due to damage to stems by an insect.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Stapelia.
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