Stapelia comes from the Asclepiadaceae family and is often known by the common name Carrion Flower, Starfish Flower, and Toad Cactus.
The Stapelia Starfish cactus are odd, leafless succulents with knobby, angled stems and perfect star flowers in strange color combinations and patterns, from 1” to 18” inches across—sometimes silk-hairy, often smelling bad.
They are usually grown in pots or baskets in the greenhouse, or in a warm, sunny window.
These plants flower in summer and need plentiful moisture in sandy, porous soil.
When they rest in winter, supply just enough water to keep stems from shriveling.
Full sun promotes flowering, but a light shade is needed in torrid areas.
Protect from chilling and frost.
Propagate from the following methods:
- Fast-germinating seeds
- Stem cuttings (let them harden off)
- Grafting some tender types
Different Stapelia Varieties
Foot-long stems and pale-yellow star flowers crossed with purple lines, to 2 ½” inches across.
Zulu giant – Heavy, hanging 9” inch stems and flowers up to 18” inches across, brown-purple and hairy, tan underneath
5” inch star flowers wine-colored, crossed with thin lines, the points tipped with soft whitish hair.
8” inch flowers with long points, dark brown, hairy on the edge.
Favorite species with 6” inch stems, dull-yellow flowers leopard-spotted with dark purple.