S. engleriana is native to Cape Provinces where the species grows in rocky regions and in sunny exposure but under the shrubs. The species is widespread in the driest areas and can live up to 1200 m of altitude.
S. engleriana is an uncommon succulent belonging to the Asclepiadaceae botanical family. The plant has a branched stem, thick and square, dark green in color. The stem is arranged in four ribs which has small teeth at the angles; it is lightly pubescent and can reach up to 30 cm in height. Flowers appear towards the apex of the branches. Flowers are borne on densely hairy pedicels, 5 mm long. Corolla is circular backward curved; the flower is rugose and glabrous on the inner face and is purple brown in color. Fruits are follicles, smooth, puberulous, dark green to purple brown. Seeds are lanceolate, smooth and light brown.
This is a slow growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. The plant does not like temperatures below 12°C so it needs to be placed indoors in the coldest periods. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly in Spring and Summer: during the vegetative period you can water the plant (every 7 days), checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
The easiest and fastest method of propagation is to use stem cuttings but is also possible to propagate the plant by seed. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By seed it is very simple to propagate the plant, it is enough to sow the seed in a sandy loam soil and keep it with a high level of humidity and at temperature of 14 C°.
Stapelia owes its name to Dutch Botanist J. B. van Stapel, who lived in 1600.
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