The Stapelia plant is one hard to forget. Whether for its large and particular flower, which fans of stranger things You will recognize at first glance, as by the fetid aroma that it gives off, the Stapelia leaves an impression that, although impressive, is not for all audiences.
Perhaps it is precisely because of that eccentric touch that many choose to include it in their collections or gardens, because it is a unique plant. If you want to learn more about what type of plant Stapelia is, join us in this EcologíaVerde article where you will find a Stapelia care guide.
Characteristics of Stapelia
Let’s start by knowing a little better the main characteristics of the Stapelia plant:
- She is known as lizard flower, dragon flower, stapelia, starfish plant and even, among the circles most addicted to the series, demogorgon plant.
- It is a whole genus of plants of the Apocynaceae family, with around 50 species, all of them succulent plants and originating in South Africa.
- between the different types of stapelia we find some of the best known, such as the Stapelia variegatathe Stapelia Giganteathe Stapelia Flavopurpurea and the Stapelia Grandiflorathe most common in gardening.
- They are slow-growing plants, well known for their striking flowers, which can reach diameters of up to 40 cm in larger species. The stapelia flower stands out not only for its striking appearance but, as we have mentioned, for the foul scent that we will recognize if we approach to smell it. This responds to the need to attract its pollinators, which are none other than blue flies. There is a variety, however, the Stapelia Flavopurpureawhose smell is not unpleasant, reminiscent of beeswax.
- These flowers are very hairy and lustrous in texture, with colors and patterns that vary greatly depending on the species.
- Y when Stapelia blooms? The striking and fragrant flowers appear between summer and autumn, so in the cold months it is possible to move the plant indoors without the danger of the home being perfumed with an unpleasant smell.
- Its succulent stems have jagged margins, with four well-marked sides, and grow in the form of claws, without apparent order or concert on many occasions. They are largely part of its exotic appeal.
Location and climate for the Stapelia
Like many succulent plants, Stapelia is not particularly fussy about its care. They are adapted to warm to temperate temperatures and dry climates, with an optimum temperature of about 25ºC in spring and summer, though from 20ºC the plant is doing well.
In the cold months, we should never expose it below 10ºC, since lower temperatures cause considerable damage and could even kill it. Bearing this in mind, of course, surviving frost is totally ruled out.
Regarding light, the plant needs an exposure of at least half shade, although in environments without a very strong sun it will appreciate a direct exposure. If you see that the stems of your Stapelia are turning reddish or purple, it means that the plant is stressed from receiving too much sun, and you will need to put it a little more under cover.
Despite being a succulent, the Stapelia is not a cactus, and needs more abundant watering than these. Of course, when it comes to knowing how to care for stapeliait is vital to bear in mind that, like most plants of its characteristics, it does not tolerate waterlogging at all. Water it frequently but sparingly, making sure that the substrate never dries out completely, but always taking care to avoid waterlogging of the soil or the pot. If this happens, it is very likely that the roots of your Stapelia are affected by rot. At this point, it is always better to fall short than to overdo it. If you see that the stems of your plant begin to wrinkle and lose volume, slightly increase the irrigation doses until they recover their normal appearance.
Here you can learn more about When to water plants.
Substrate for the Stapelia plant
Here the plant is not demanding at all, being one of the main reasons why it is so easy to grow. The only important thing that you have to maintain is that the substrate or soil offers a drain as best as possible, to avoid accumulations of water that would damage the plant.
will do any light sandy mix, to which you can add vermiculite and perlite to improve its properties. You can also place a bed of coarse pebbles at the base of the pot, precisely to prevent the roots from coming into direct contact with unwanted accumulations of moisture in the saucer.
We recommend you read this other post about How to make a substrate for cacti and succulents.
This is one of those plants that appreciate spending a few months of winter lower temperature to enter winter rest state. When winter arrives, locate it in an area around 15ºC and reduce the frequency of watering significantly so that the plant goes to rest, so that when spring arrives it will reactivate with more energy.
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