Stapelia leendertziae 'Cristata'
Black Bells, Carrion Flower, Maroon Cup Starfish, Rugose Cup Starfish, Star Flower
Stapelia leendertziae f. cristata
This succulent is a form of Stapelia leendertziae selected for its crested stems.
Stapelia leendertziae 'Cristata' is an unusual succulent with fleshy fan-shaped stems that grow along the ground or hang elegantly over the pot. The stems are dull green to reddish in full sun. The plant is most conspicuous in bloom due to its unique purple-brown to dark purple flowers that appear in late summer. The flowers are bell-shaped to urn-shaped, up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long, nearly equal in diameter, and appear in late summer.
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 plants are kept 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 attack often occurs due to damage to stems by insects.
See more at: How to Grow and Care for Stapelia.
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