Ceropegia woodii “Mini Star”
C. linearis subsp. woodii
Ceropegia woodii is widespread in Canary islands, Africa, Madagascar, Asia and Australia. Its native country, however, is South Africa, where the plant grows on well-drained soil, in half-shaded spots, in partially dry climates. The variety “Mini Star” is actually a nursery cultivar and can’t be found in the environment.
C. woodii is a herbaceous, succulent plant, often used as a houseplant for its highly decorative potential. It has a falling habit its leaves are heart-shaped! It is an evergreen vine, with its trail, wiry stems reaching 3-4 meters in length. The stems are dark, deep purple, very elegant, and the leaves look like the ones of cyclamens. They are dark green, veined in hints of silver-white. Leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, and the pairs are spaced 5 centimters from each other along the stems. The main difference between the regular form of C. woodii and C. woodii “Mini star” lies in the dimension of the plant (Mini star is smaller than the regular form) and of the leaves, which are smaller in “Mini Star”. Also, the shape of the leaves is different: in Mini Star, they are more pointed, elongated, less heart-shaped. The wiry stems of “Mini Star”, in addiction, are paler and maybe thinner than the ones of Ceropegia woodii. The regular form and the variety share, though, the deep green colour, adorned by a central white pattern, always similar to the one of cyclamens. The odd flowers, instead, look the same in both forms.
Its roots and stems may develop tubers. When they form on the stem, they grow from the nodes. The common name of this plant, “Rosary vine”, is precisely due to the tubers hanging from the stems. Flowers look the same both in the regular and the variegated form. They are very odd: bulbous, more enlarged at their base and narrowing towards their top, they are curved upwards and usually numerous on a stem. The peculiar blooming of C. woodi “Mini Star” is one of the reason why it’s very sought after. The blooming season occurs in late-summer or in Autumn. From the flowers, horn-shaped pods develop. They host little seeds, equipped with a parachute-like structure that has the function to help the dispersion of seeds through wind.
C. woodii “Mini star” requires partial shade, with some hours a day under direct sunlight (2-3 hours).
This plant requires a minimum temperature of 5-8ºC. If the soil is maintained completely dry, it can also stand short frosts, down to -5ºC.
Water your C. woodii “Mini Star” regularly during the growth season: every week will be enough. Wait always for the soil to dry up completely before each watering and let the water drench completely through the pot: stagnant water might cause tuber rot.
Choose a cacti mix, very well-draining, better if further enriched with 50% of inert materials such as pumice, lapilli or clay. This substrate should be not so poor.
Fertilization should be carried out once a year using a specific product for succulents, better if rich in Potassium and Phosphorus and, as usual with succulents, poor in Nitrogen, as this element may cause the formation of excessively green, fragile leaves, hiding the attractive patterns of lighter colours of the variegated form and making the whole plant more sensitive to rot. You have just to dilute the product iin water during an irrigation.
Ceropegias are generally propagated by branch cuttings or either the tuberous outgrowth that grow among the branches. You have to detach these outgrows from the plant in the beginning of Spring and plant them, paying attention to keep the pot in a warm and humid place, as if it would be a cutting.
C. woodii has been discovered by John Medley Wood, a botanist who was working in Durban Botanic Gardens: a botanical garden in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. After that, the remarkable beauty of this plant made it extremely popular among succulent lovers
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