Orbea wissmannii var. eremastrum (O.Schwartz) P.V.Bruyns
Angolluma eremastrum, Caralluma eremastrum, Pachycymbium eremastrum
Orbea wissmannii var. eremastrum is a low-growing succulent with erect, 4-angled stems that spread over the ground forming large crowded cushions. It grows up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) tall and 3.3 feet (1 m) in diameter. Stems are green, dappled, and soft-toothed. Flowers are star-shaped, 5-pointed, up to 10 inches (25 cm) across, and appear in late summer or fall. Corolla lobes are up to 0.8 inches (2 cm), mostly yellow suffused with red (sometimes flesh-colored) in the proximal half and greenish-yellow to yellow towards the tip.
USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °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 water withdrawal during the winter months. A minimum winter temperature of 50 °F (10 °C) is acceptable, providing that plants are kept absolutely dry. A heated growing bench or incubator may help delicate plants to 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 compost surface 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 attacks often result from damage to stems by insects.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Stapelia.
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