Earlier this month I blogged about the Heights Garden Club plant and seed swap. I came home with two interesting cuttings brought by my fellow steering committee member Dee. I later got the names from her. One was a White Ghost Candelabra, Euphorbia lactea ‘White Ghost’ and a darling little called Starfish Flower or Starfish cactus, Stapelia grandiflora. Neither are actually in the cacti family.
I did some more research on the Starfish cactus also called a Carrion Plant because it emits an odor from the flowers as a way to attracting flies in areas where other pollinating insects are scares. I guess it is just as well I have mine outside.
This plant species is native to South Africa, so growing Starfish cactus usually requires a warm climate (zone 9-11) and it likes humidity, not a problem here! I will have to bring this one in during part of the winter. It is said to prefer full sun and well drained soil like most cacti and succulents. It doesn’t need fertilizer but I did used seaweed extract drench for transplanting shock.
Every few days I would take another picture not knowing how long it takes to open. It is said to be easy to propagate from cuttings. Take a sharp knife and slice off one of the branches and rooting it in moist soil.
Starfish cactus are actually members of the succulent group of plants. They are soft stemmed plants without spines, which spread out from a central point. These are thickly skinned and said to resemble carrion flesh.
About a week ago we finally found a pot for our new porch plants. In my research I read that Starfish cactus like to have crowded roots and it suggested its best to keep them in a 4- to 6-inch deep pot. I used succulent soil and a terracotta pot that will not hold too much moisture. I put it on the glass table just outside our office window so I could keep a close eye on it. And on Saturday it finally opened.
I had to use one of the bird statues to prop it up it was so heavy. It is a summer bloomer and the flowers can get up to 10″ across and most varieties have reddish insides, perhaps to further the suggestion of being flesh.
And today I went out to take another picture for this blog and…
I noticed small insects crawling inside but the smell wasn’t all the bad. I see little buds that might turn into blooms we will see!