Stapelia schinzii A.Berger & Schltr.
Gonostemon schinzii, Ceropegia schinzii, Stapelia schinzii var. schinzii
Stapelia schinzii is a spineless succulent with green, mostly purple-mottled stems and attractive star-shaped flowers with hairs along the edges of the petals. It forms lax clumps that sometimes spread for up to 3.3 feet (1 m), with stems that arise from a short horizontal base. The stems are up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and 0.8 inches (2 cm) across. Flowers are usually solitary, up to 9 inches (22.5 cm) in diameter, greenish or reddish-brown with purplish wrinkles.
The specific epithet "schinzii (SHINZ-ee-eye)" honors Hans Schinz (1858-1941), a Swiss explorer and botanist.
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 10°C (50°F) is acceptable, providing that 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 succulent soil mix is essential, and clay pots are advisable for the more delicate species. Some growers prefer mineral-only soil to minimize the chance of a fungal attack on the roots. A layer of grit on the surface of the soil prevents moisture from accumulating around the base of 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.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Stapelia.
This species is native to Namibia, Botswana, and southern Angola.
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