Gonostemon flavopurpureus var. fleckii
S. flavopurpurea is native to Cape Provinces and Namibia where the plant grows under small bushes which give the shade sought by stapelia.
S. flavopurpurea is a wonderful succulent belonging to the Asclepiadaceae botanical family. The stem is curved at the base and then grows erect, it is quadrangular, consisting of inconspicuous tubercles, with a flattened edge, of a bright green color that can vary to purple when exposed in full sun. The plant can reach up to 10 cm in height and 8 cm in diameter. Blooming occur in late summer or autumn depending on the temperatures and blossom are borne at the apex of the branches. Flowers are starfish shaped, five-lobed, 4 cm in diameter, and can take on many spectacular colors, they can range from yellow to pale green to orange-purple, changing hue depending on sun-exposure and temperatures.
The flowers of this species do not smell like those of the other species of the genus. Unexpectedly the flowers smell of honey and liquorice. Pollination is done by bees and other insects.
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 5°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 15 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.
Propagation can be done by cutting. 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.
Stapelia owes its name to Dutch Botanist J. B. van Stapel, who lived in 1600.
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