Stapelia gettleffii R.Pott
Stapelia gettleffii is a succulent plant with green, 4-angled stems with toothed ribs. It grows in nature under trees and can spread horizontally up to 3.3 feet (1 m) in diameter. The stems are decumbent at the base then erect, up to 10 inches (25 cm) tall and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) across. They turn red in the dry season and become paper-thin. Flowers are burgundy red, very hairy, and up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter.
USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °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 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 attacks often result from damage to stems by insects.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Stapelia.
This species is native to the warmer, dry, sandy parts of the Limpopo River catchments in southeastern Botswana, the northern parts of South Africa, southern Zimbabwe, and just over the border into Mozambique to the east.
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