Orbea lutea (N. E. Br.) Bruyns
Yellow Carrion Flower
Caralluma lutea, Ceropegia lutea, Orbea lutea subsp. lutea, Orbeopsis lutea
Orbea lutea is a succulent plant with grey-green stems mottled with red-brown when grown in full sun. The stems are 4-angled with long, sharp teeth, usually erect but may become sprawling when grown in shaded areas. They can grow up to 4.8 inches (12 cm) long and 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick (excluding teeth).
The flowers are pale yellow to golden yellow, produced in clusters of inflorescences consisting of 6 to 24 flowers. They usually appear in fall at the base of the stems. The fruits are solitary or paired, spindle-shaped follicles reaching up to 3.6 inches (9 cm) in length.
USDA hardiness zone 9b to 10b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °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 water withdrawal during the winter months. A minimum winter temperature of 10°C (50°F) is acceptable if the soil is kept dry. A heated growing bench or incubator may help delicate plants get through the colder months. However, many species live under shrubs in their 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 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 key to success, as fungal attack often occurs due to damage to stems by insects.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Stapelia.
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