The Fascinating World of Stapeliads: A Guide to Growing and Caring for These Unusual Succulents

Why do stapelia attract flies stapeliads

The Stapelia genus (often referred to as stapeliads), native to South Africa, is known for its strange and fragrant flowers which have earned them the nickname “carrion flowers.” These plants are generally low-growing and spineless, with simple stems or branches that grow as mats or small shrubs. The foliage is not particularly noteworthy, but the stems have a peculiar, otherworldly appearance. Within the genus, there are many species as well as some that were once classified as Stapelia but are now in their own genera (such as Huernia, Caralluma, and Hoodia).

Can you grow stapelia from cuttings stapeliads

The Characteristics of Stapeliads

The flowers of stapeliads, which are pollinated by flies and other insects that feed on carrion, have a strong aroma resembling rotten meat. However, the scent is not always overpowering and may not be noticeable unless one is close to the flowers. The blooms are short-lived, lasting only a day or two after fully opening, but the plant itself may continue to flower for weeks or even months. Some species, such as S. gigantea, have larger flowers that resemble balloons as they grow.

Do all stapelia flowers stink stapeliads

Stapeliads have smelly flowers because they are adapted to be pollinated by flies and other insects that are attracted to the scent of rotten meat. These insects are attracted to the strong, unpleasant aroma of the flowers, which helps to spread the pollen and facilitate reproduction in the plant. The strong smell is a way for the plant to attract the insects that it needs for pollination.

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Fertilization is not necessary during the dormant season stapeliads

Growing and Caring for Stapeliads

In order to successfully grow stapeliads, it is important to use well-draining soil, especially if they are in a pot. For those living near the coast with higher humidity, a soil mixture of 50% pumice and 50% succulent soil may be beneficial. Stapeliads prefer a sunny location, but can also tolerate partial shade. They should be protected from intense midday sun, as well as frost.

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How long do stapelia flowers last stapeliads

Stapeliads are drought-tolerant and do not need frequent watering. Water only when the soil is completely dry, and be sure to drain any excess water from the pot to prevent root rot. In the winter, watering can be reduced even further. Stapeliads can be fertilized once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength. Fertilization is not necessary during the dormant season (winter).

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How long does it take stapelia to flower stapeliads

Stapeliads can be propagated by seed, cuttings, or division. Seeds can be sown in a well-draining soil mixture and kept moist until germination occurs (which can take several weeks to several months). Cuttings can be taken from healthy, non-flowering stems and placed in a well-draining soil mixture. Division can be done by carefully separating offsets from the parent plant and replanting them in their own pots.

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Is stapelia a cactus or succulent stapeliads

Stapeliads can attract pests such as mealybugs and aphids, which can be controlled with an insecticide or by removing the pests by hand. By following these guidelines, you can successfully grow and care for your stapeliads and enjoy their unique, fragrant flowers.

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Stapelia flowers smell like rotten meat stapeliads


Stapeliads can attract pests such as mealybugs and aphids stapeliads

The Stapelia genus is full of interesting and unusual plants that make for a unique addition to any succulent collection. With proper care, including well-draining soil, infrequent watering, and protection from intense sun and frost, stapeliads can thrive and produce their strange and fragrant flowers. Whether grown in pots or outdoors, these intriguing succulents are sure to be a conversation starter.

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They should be protected from intense midday sun stapeliads