Piaranthus comptus N.E.Br.
Caralluma compta, Ceropegia compta, Piaranthus comptus var. ciliatus, Piaranthus comptus var. comptus
This species is native to South Africa. It occurs from Beaufort West to Laingsburg in Western Cape and Willowmore in Eastern Cape, growing on gravelly flats under bushes.
Piaranthus comptus is a dwarf succulent that forms a compact mound of dark grey-green stems with four blunt ribs lined with tubercle-like teeth with apical deltoid leaf-rudiment. The stems are erect or decumbent, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, and up to 0.9 inches (2.2 cm) thick. Flowers are star-shaped and grow solitary or in pairs, rarely up to four in an inflorescence, emerging at the upper part of the stem between the angles in fall. The 5-lobed corolla is up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) across, dull greenish or greenish-brown outside and whitish, marked all over with small round dark purple-brown spots inside. It is shortly pubescent all over the inner face. Lobes are lance-shaped, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long, and up to 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) wide. The corona is yellow with a reddish upper surface and up to 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) across. Fruits are pairs of follicles that grow up to 0.45 inches (1.1 cm) long.
The specific epithet "comptus (KOMP-tus) means "brought together, formed, arranged; adorned" and refers to the growth habit of the species.
How to Grow and Care for Piaranthus comptus
Light: P. comptus grows best in full sun or partial shade. It will benefit from light shade during the hottest summer days. Indoors, place the plant near the brightest window in your home. It will stretch if it does not have enough sunlight. Avoid abruptly moving plants adapted to lower light levels to full sun to prevent sunburn.
Soil: Use commercial potting soil mix for succulents or prepare your own with 50 to 70 % mineral grit, such as coarse sand, pumice, or perlite.
Temperature: This plant thrives in warm outdoor environments with low to moderate humidity. It does not like winter cold and should remain fairly dry and warm during its winter dormancy. P. comptus can withstand temperatures as low as 35 °F (1.7 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10b to 11b, 35 to 50 °F (1.7 to 10 °C).
Watering: P. comptus has typical watering needs for a succulent. During the growing season, from spring to fall, water your plant thoroughly and allow the soil to dry between waterings. Do not water in winter. The plant goes dormant in winter and needs almost no water, about once a month.
Fertilizing: If you want to keep your plant healthy and thriving, fertilization is a good idea. Feed with water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength only when the plant is actively growing.
Repotting: Repot your plant in spring just before the growing season. P. comptus has shallow roots and does not require too much soil to grow. Pick a container with drainage holes.
Propagation: The best way to propagate this succulent is from stem cuttings. Take cuttings during the growing season to ensure good rooting. P. comptus is also easy to grow from seeds. Sow the seeds in spring.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Stapeliads.
Toxicity of Piaranthus comptus
P. comptus has no toxic effects reported. It is safe around pets and humans.
- Back to genus Piaranthus
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus