Stapelia variegata, Star, Starfish Flower. This native of South Africa should be treated as a succulent: The plants need bright light to full sun and a soil that drains quickly. Sandy soils are good. Let the soil dry a bit between watering. Clay pots perform better than plastic. The cascading habit of this species lends itself well to hanging baskets. Occasional application of any all-purpose fertilizer improves growth. Broken pieces root easily in sand. The flowers tend to smell worse in warm, sunny conditions. While the blooms are quite beautiful, they can be safely removed if the odor is troublesome indoors. Warm season growing outdoors is also an option. Normal house temperatures are fine, protect from freezing. Horn-like seed pods may be produced. These split open to reveal Stapelia as a milkweed (Asclepias family); the seeds have the same shape and a silky parachute. You may wish to remove the pods to prevent the seeds from sprouting all over the place!
Return to Botanicals