Starfish Flower

Stapelia hirsuta

Carrion Flower , Haasoor (Afr.)

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Stapelia hirsuta is a widely distributed, low, perennial succulent and extremely variable, with five recognizable varieties and is closely related to S. grandiflora. The stems are almost always erect and are usually uniformly green to reddish, depending on the extent of exposure to the sun. Only rarely are they mottled with red or purple on green. The flowers are cream-coloured, purple at the centre, with purplish horizontal lines on the lobes which have purple-brown tips. The flowering period extends from late summer to late autumn. Characterized by their foul-smelling flowers reminiscent of the odour of rotting meat attracking pollinators. The hairs, coloration and surface mimic decaying animal matter and attract mostly flies, which act as pollinators. The strong carrion scent is sometimes recognizable at a great distance, especially on hot afternoons.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer, Autumn

Fruiting time

Autumn, Winter

Harvesting

Unlike other succulent cuttings that are planted in sand to encourage rooting, these plants prefer to lie on top of the ground, rooting where they fall without planting. Planting cuttings makes them far more prone to rot.

Propagation

Cuttings

Allow cutting wound to heal for a week or two and then place in well-draining sandy soil mixture. Do not cover, but allow new roots to develop and anchor the new plant.

Seed

Sow in Spring and allow seed to rest on top of the ground where they will root. Germination 100% if sown when fresh.

Special features

Drought resistant

They are excellent subjects for a water-wise garden, they can go for extended periods without water.

Pot plant

The small-flowered species are suitable as container plants.

Special features

Origin

Southern Africa

Natural climate

Mediterranean

Environment

Light

Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Ornamental

These plants are mainly sought by collectors of succulent plants.

Attracts food for birds.

When in full flower, pollinators are attracted by the odour. For the eco-friendly gardener this is a way of attracting food for birds and reptiles such as lizards to the garden.

Notes

Houseplant, Rock Garden / Wall

Personality

Family

Apocynaceae

Flower colour

Yellow, Cream, Red

Scent

Strong

Problems

Rotting is the biggest problem to avoid.

Companion plants

Plant with other succulents in rockeries.
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Knowledge and advice

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