Stapelia gigantea N. E. Br.
Zulu Giant, Starfish Plant, Starfish Flower, Carrion Plant, Carrion Flower, Giant Toad Plant, Toad Plant
Ceropegia gigantea, Stapelia cyclista, Stapelia marlothii, Stapelia meintjesii, Stapelia nobilis, Stapelia tarantuloides, Stapelia youngii
Stapelia gigantea is a clump-forming succulent with fat, green, erect and deeply ribbed stems up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) thick. The flowers are large, star-shaped, 5-petalled, up to 14 inches (35 cm) in diameter, pale yellow, with transverse crimson lines variable in color and covered with purplish or crimson hairs.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °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 withdrawal of water during the winter months. A minimum winter temperature of 10°C (50°F) 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 habitat and prefer light shade rather than full sun.
A gritty succulent soil mix is essential and clay pots are advisable for the more delicate species. Some growers prefer a mineral-only soil to minimize the chance of fungal attack on the roots. A layer of grit on the surface of the soil prevents moisture from accumulating around the base of the stems.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Stapelia.
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