Propagated Stapelia Plants
Stapelia plants are a group of stem succulent mostly from Southern Africa, but some species are more tropical. With few exceptions they are multiple stemmed plants that grow and spread across the ground working their way to new locations slowly stem by stem. In nature they produce seed pods with air born seeds like Milk Weeds to propagate themselves, but in human propagation it is less common for these plants to produce seeds. The easiest way for making new plants rooting stems. Most species are grown by people with scientific interests, but a few varieties occasionally turn up in greenhouses.
They are often given the common name "Starfish Cactus" because of their 5 pointed shaped flowers, which are often visually textured like the roughness of starfish. From a distance these flowers appear more neutral in color, but they are usually jam packed with brilliant colors. The vivid colors are easier to appreciate up close, and with the colors mixed up in textures along with hair they are highly interesting being visually both brilliant and muted at the same time. Perhaps, from a distance the flowers look more like small dead animals as the hair and textures blend into more earthy tones.
The small dead animal appearance is part of their reproductive strategy, because they are carrion flowers. A few species have a sweeter scent, but most flowers range from smelling mildly like something dead to smelling so much like rotting meat that it's hard to keep the flowering plant indoors.
These plants need special attention to remain healthy, because they are very prone to fungal attacks. Most species will grow in any medium as long as the soil is always kept on the dry side, and allowed to stay dry most of the time. These plants are mealy bug magnets, and the kind most likely to lead to the death of the plant is an infestation on the roots. Repotting the plant to remove old stems and check for insects is good prevention. Any stems or root growth showing signs on a fungal infection need to be removed from the plant completely. Dark colored spots or yellowing of the stems are signs that those parts of the plant need to be removed and destroyed.
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