Ceropegia simonae


No synonyms are recorded for this name.


Ceropegia simonae is native to Madagascar, specifically to the Southern part, Totiara. Its habitat is extremely dry, and its preferred soils are sandy.


Ceropegia simoneae is a peculiar, pretty plant. It’s composed of a tuber from which a lizard-dragon-shaped stem develop. This stem, green-violet depending on the sun exposure in the normal form, Ceropegia simonae, black in the black cultivar; has a really weird aspect. It’s quadrangular and, on staggered sides, has vegetative stems, little branches, which look like noses or little paws of a caterpillar and actually are podaria, namely bases of the leaves. When the plant blossoms, a new stem, thinner and cylindrical, develop from the top of the main, quadrangular one, and it bears the flower. Flowers are curious, especially when still unblossomed, for their corolla lobes (which are the equivalent of the petals in many kinds of corolla) which remain all coiled togheter forming a spiral-like tendril hanging from the base of the corolla. The blossoming consists in an uncoiling of these long, filamentous petals, previously green, then blotched with red. The corolla base is also weird, with its form of a jar with an elongated bottleneck. In this structure, the corona is on the base of the jar and it has triangular sepals. Leaves are dark green, succulents, acuminate, a half centimeter long and 0,4 centimeters wide.


Ceropegia simonae and, in general, plants belonging to the genus “Ceropegia”, are not so easy to cultivate. They are sensitive to rots and also to many diseases although, actually, plants which are available in nurseries belong to tough cultivars and are more resistant. Ceropegia simonae needs dim light, when grown outdoors, and a sunny spot if grown indoors. Attention to cold draughts. Water the plant every 3-4 days, waiting until the soil dries completely before each watering, and suspend watering in winter. Choose a substrate rich in nutrients and organic matter, but one that’s also well-drained. Fertilizers must be applied twice a year, with an ordinary product for houseplants. Repotting is necessary every 3-4 years. Ceropegia simonae comes from hot climates: its minimum tolerated temperatures are among 10-15ºC in winter, and, during the vegetative stage, the ideal temperature is 25ºC: that’s why they are generally used as houseplants.


Propagation is made though branch cuttings or either the tuberous growth which sometimes develop on the branches. In this case, it’s sufficient taking them off delicately in spring and plant them in a humid substrate, maintaining a warm temperature as if it would be a cutting.


The name “Ceropegia” derives from Greek and literally means “wax fountain”, referring to the very particular flowers, which develop into umbrella shape, are very fleshy and have a waxy appearance.

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