Stapelia gigantea “Zulu Giant”

Stapelia gigantea is a species of flowering plant in the genus Stapelia of the family Apocynaceae.

The plant is referred to as Zulu giant, carrion plant or toad plant (although the nickname “carrion plant” can also refer to Stapelia grandiflora).

Growing up to 20 cm (8 in) tall, it is a clump-forming succulent with erect green stems 3 cm (1.2 in) thick. 

In summer, it bears large star-shaped five-petalled flowers up to 25 cm (9.8 in) in diameter.

The flowers are red and yellow, wrinkled, with a silky texture and fringed with hairs, that can be as long as 8 mm (0.3 in).

The flowers of this plant bloom in the Fall season, due to the shorter daylight hours.

They have the smell of rotting flesh, to attract the flies which pollinate them. 

Because of the foul odor of its flower, S. gigantea can act as an appetite suppressant in humans.

This succulent is known for having one of the largest flowers in the plant kingdom. 

Don’t let the look of the large yellowish flower fool you — the smell of rotting meat gives this succulent its other common name, “Carrion Flower.” 

The tall green stems of this succulent are similar to a cactus, although it is actually in the milkweed family.

Tips to take care Stapelia gigantea “Zulu Giant”

Light

It requires being in full sunlight. 

Hang the pot or basket in the sunniest window available. If possible, hang up the outdoor plant in summer to give fresh air and extra light.

It is recommended to use a good mixture of draining soil that is sandy, sold and used for cacti and succulents.

Temperature

During the period of active growth, normal room temperatures are adequate. 

In winter, these plants they should rest at a temperature of 7 to 10 ° C (45 to 50 ° F) if possible, but tolerate temperatures up to15 to 16 ° C (59 to 61 ° F).

Irrigation

During the period of active water growth, abundantly keeping the potting mixture completely moist, but don’t let the plants stand in a lot of water. 

During the winter rest period, prevent the mixture from drying out.

Fertilization

use a medium concentration liquid fertilizer sprayed on the plant stems once every 2 weeks only during the period of active growth. 

During winter rest, do not apply fertilizer.

Propagation

To spread, use a 15 cm (6 inch) tip or a 15 cm segment of any part of the stem.

Allow each cut or segment to dry for three days. 

Then, insert it at a depth of approximately 2 cm (0.8 inches) in a small saucepan or pot of the recommended mixture for mature plants.

Make sure any segment of the stem is planted with the bottom end facing down.

If this superficially inserted cut tends to fall, it can be supported by gently tying it to a small wooden stick.

The cultivation needs of the cuttings are the same as those of mature rat tail cacti and rooting It will occur in a few weeks.

It can also be grown from seeds.

Plagues and diseases

It is subject to attack by parasites such as the red spider and scale insects. But this cactus is usually disease-free.