Orbea semitubiflora is native to Northern Tanzania. It is only found in a small area in the Arusha Province.
Orbea semitubiflora is a small, creeping succulents that forms little cluster of elongated stems, up to 50 centimeters in diameter, staying at ground level.
Its stems are rhizomatous: this means that they work also as reproductive organs, putting roots all along their length, to help the plant spreading horizontally. They are pale green, with purplish-brown spots and stripes, four-angled to rounded, and furrowed with conical, pointed tubercles, very prominent (up to 1.5 centimeters long).
During the summer, dark red, almost black, striking flowers appear in the lateral parts of the top of the stem. Their petals are fused in a star-shaped, tubular corolla, with pointed lobes and a yellow central part that creates a beautiful contrast and add further decorative potential to this already striking species.
After withering, flowers are replaced by spindle-shaped capsules: specific kind of fruits typical of this species.
Orbea semitubiflora is one of the easiest Orbea species to grow. It’s perfect for beginners. Here below are our cultivation tips:
The amount of sunlight required varies throughout the year: in Spring and Summer, they need partial shade or filtered light, while in Autumn and, especially, in Winter, they need plenty of light.
It’s rather frost-sensitive: its minimum tolerated temperature is 10ºC. We advise to keep it outdoors in Autumn untile temperatures become too low. During the Winter it should be definitely kept indoors.
Water regularly and abundantly in Spring and Summer, always waiting for the soil to dry up completely before every irrigation, and keep it dry in Winter to avoid root rot. In the Summer, your Orbea semitubiflora will be happy if kept outdoors in season with heavy Summer rains, though it can handle also severe droughts and hot weather.
Orbea semitubiflora has shallow roots: choose a well-draining substrate such as a cactus mix or a standard substrate enriched in pumice or perlite.
Fertilize once a year with a specific product for succulent, rich in Phosphorus and Potassium and poor in Nitrogen. Dilute it in water at half the doses recommended on the label.
It is a slow-growing species: repotting will be necessary every two years.
The propagation of Orbea semitubiflora can be carried out easily by stem cuttings. Cut the stems with a sharp knife and allow the wound to dry up for a few days before laying it down on a gritty substrate. Avoid any water untile they root. Also sowing is a possible method. Seeds must be barely covered in soil, and will germinate quickly, if their substrate is maintained moist. Orbea semitubuliflora, however, is able to propagate autonomously through its rhizomatous stems, that put roots all along thir length. If you notice that a part of the stem has formed roots, just cut it and plant it in another pot.
The name Orbea comes from the latin word “orbis”, that means circle, disk. That’s because of its star-shaped fleshy flower, which has a raised, more or less prominent disk or annulus in its central part.
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