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Stapelia leendertziae (Black Bells)

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Scientific Name

Stapelia leendertziae N.E. Br.

Common Names

Black Bells, Maroon Cup Starfish, Rugose Cup Starfish, Star Flower, Carrion Flower

Synonyms

Stapelia wilmaniae, Ceropegia leendertziae

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Tribe: Stapeliae
Genus: Stapelia

Description

Stapelia leendertziae is a succulent plant with long, erect, angular stems. They are dull green to reddish in color. It is most conspicuous when in flower owing to the unique large, bell-shaped, deep reddish to dark purple flowers that are up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long.

Photo via plantzafrica.com

Hardiness

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  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 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 a mineral-only compost to minimize the chance of 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 attack often occurs as a result of damage to stems by insects… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Stapelia

Origin

Stapelia leendertziae is native to Swaziland.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

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