Tavaresia barklyi is native to Angola, Botswana, Cape Provinces, Free State, Namibia, Northern Provinces and Zimbabwe where the plant grows on rocky outcrops and slopes and in sandy soils on plains.
Tavaresia barklyi is a beautiful perennial succulent belonging to the Apocynaceae botanical family. The plant has an erect habit and can reach up to 6 cm in height and 1,5 cm in diameter. The stem is cylindrical, blue-green or tinged with purplish, arranged in 10-12 ribs made of short tipped tubercles. The three spines are bristle-like, sharp, whitish in color can be erect or curved. Blooming occurs from the late spring to the late summer and the blossoms are borne at the base of the stem. The inflorescence one to four flowers that open successively. The flowers are large, showy, trumpet-like pale yellow to creamy white with reddish spots and pollination is carried out by insects. The huge and wonderful flowers make this plant unique and suitable to decorate your home and office. The fruits are elongated follicles that open when ripe and release seeds that are scattered by the wind.
This is a fast growing plant, easy to cultivate. The plant needs a full light sun exposure but prefers partial shade during the summer. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The maximum resistance to cold is 10 °C so it is recommended not to expose the plant to lower temperatures. Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. Temperatures between 10 and 15 °C allow the plants to enter vegetative rest which is essential for the flowering of the following year. Plants should not be placed inside the house where average temperatures of 20 degrees prevent vegetative rest. 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. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering can be done regularly during the vegetative period. During the vegetative period you can water the plant every 5 days with half a glass of water, checking that the soil is completely dry before watering again; in winter you should stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. The plant is used to growing in poor soils, for this reason it does not need abundant fertilization, it is sufficient to fertilize once in spring and once in summer. 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; it is usually done every 3-4 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
The easiest and fast method of propagation is to use cuttings but also grafting is possible . 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. It is advisable to use rooting hormone at the base of the cut to energize root development. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. By grafting you can use Stapelias. Make the cut as close to the growing tip as possible, then chose a stock with a diameter similar to that of the scion. After the cut, wash away the latex until it no longer remains. Bring the scion closer to the stock and held together with elastic bands. The plants should be left in an airy and shady place for 7-10 days before the bands are removed. Propagation by seed it is not recommended for this species because it is very slow. To fast the propagation, you can try to immerse the seeds in water for 1 day. Sow the seeds in a sandy loam and keep them in warm, humid conditions.
This plants have huge, incredible flowers, which that have earned her the common name “Devil’s trumpet.” Tavaresia in the native places was not considered only a beautiful ornamental exemplar, but the inside of its stems was considered even useful as an unguent to be provided to relieve muscular pains!
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