Stapelia leendertziae f. crestata
S. leendertziae is native to KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Provinces and Swaziland. The crested form has Garden origin.
S. leendertziae is a wonderful succulent belonging to the Asclepiadaceae botanical family. The standard form grows in tufts and forms many procumbent stems, dark green in color. The crested form usually grows in the shape of a fan or brain and is furrowed. The unique large, bell-shaped flower is an exception to the star-shaped flowers of the other Stapelias. The flower is reddish to dark purple and can reach up to 8 cm in diameter and the same size in height. Inside the cup is short-hairy and foul-smelling like other Stapelias.
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.
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. The forma mostruosa is a natural mutation that occurred in the S. leendertziae population and that was selected and propagated vegetatively.
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