Stapelia leendertziae f. cristata (Crested Black Bells)
Stapelia leendertziae f. cristata (Crested Black Bells) is a fascinating succulent with dull green to reddish, fan-shaped stems that hung…
Crested Rugose Cup Starfish - garden
Origin: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar)
Common Name: Black Bells, Star Flower. Maroon Cup Starfish, Rugose Cup Starfish, Carrion Flower.
Maintenance: Spring: When winter ends and they begin to grow again, they will require much more water and soaking the pots will no longer put the plants at risk for rot. In the spring they will grow well in partial shade and leaving them out in the rain may provide them with the water they need.
Summer: In the summer months they will tolerate heavy rain, but will be just as happy if the season is dry. It's best to sort out the stems while the plants are resting in the summer , before they begin their autumnal growth cycle. They will tolerate very hot weather outdoors as long as they are kept in filtered light . They also enjoy some fertiliser.
Autumn: In the fall keep them outdoors until the night time temperatures drop below the 5°C,
Winter: Winter care presents no problems at 5°-10° C , with plenty of light. As soon as they have bloomed, be sure to take extra precautions to keep them dry, because damp cool conditions when the plants are resting is an invitation to fungal infections, but - according to temperatures – some occasional lit watering may be useful.
Propagation: Easiest with stem cuttings. Allow cuttings to dry a day before planting. Stems must be laid ( n ot buried) on gritty compost , and they will then root from the underside of the stems. In any season it's best to lay the stems out for several days before replanting them , and then pot them only in dry soil , withhold ing any water until they begin to shrivel or start growing again.
Potting medium: Since roots are quite shallow, use a cactus mix or add extra perlite or pumice to regular potting soil. A gritty, very free-draining compost is suitable, and clay pots help the plants to dry out between watering. Re-pot every 2 years.
Pest s and diseases: Stapelia are generally fairly easy to grow, especially if kept pest-free. They are very susceptible to stem and root mealy bugs, and damage from these may well initiate fungal attack. Any time when there is a dead or dying stem in the pot , it is important to remove it immediately and completely before other healthy stems can become ill too . I solate the healthy parts, dry them off, and re-root them in new compost.
Crested plant: This crested form grows quickly but becomes soon old and it is very advisable to restart every second year new plants using selected crested cuttings.
During the year prune and remove every normal branch.
Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Stapelia leendertziae.