Ceropegia stapeliformis


Ceropegia stapeliformis var. serpentina
Ceropegia stapeliformis subsp. serpentina
Ceropegia stapeliformis subsp. stapeliiformis


Ceropegia stapeliformis comes from South Africa and Swaziland. In its natural habitat, it mimetizes very well: it can be found under some bushes, in the mud.


Ceropegia stapeliformis is a curious plant, with a peculiar habit. In fact, the lowest part of its stems are brownish-grey, resembling woody once, falling and drooping out of the pot or burrowing into the ground, and then reascending and climbing on anything they find. The climbing parts of the stems are thinner, green or reddish-green. Leaves are small, rudimentary, like triangular scales. Roots are fibrous, and they tend to form also from the creeping stems, when they touch the ground. Flowers are similar to snake mouths. Their corolla is swollen in its base, but less swollen than the one of C. armandii and of C. simonae. From the swollen base branches off a slender tube which ends in the 5 corolla tubes, triangular and elongated. All this is light green blotched in dark red-purple blurs but, when the blossoming occurs and the flower opens, it reveals a whitish hairy part inside uniting the corolla lobes.


Ceropegia stapeliformis 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 stapeliiformis 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 fibrous roots growing on the branches. In this case, it’s sufficient taking them off delicately in spring, cutting themo off the rest of the stems, and plant them in a humid substrate, maintaining a warm temperature as if it would be a cutting.


Its name 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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