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Plants that fill a similar niche:
Echeveria x gilva Form
Echeveria multicaulis Echeveria Multicaulis
Salvia rosmarinus Rosmarinus officinalis
Stapelia hirsuta has some common insect problems:
Mealybugs

Hairy Toad Plant Stapelia hirsuta

Previously known as:

  • Gonostemon hirsutus
  • Stapelia hirsuta var. hirsuta
  • Stisseria hirsuta
Phonetic Spelling
sta-PEL-ee-uh her-SOO-tuh
Description

Discovered by Johannes van Stapel, this plant gained its Latin name from his discovery.  Hirsuta translates to hairy, which is used to describe the flowers.  

Starfish Flower is a succulent plant with fleshy square stems and large, hairy, star-shaped, maroon flowers.  There are several varieties within the species.  Some are easy to grow and others are more of a challenge.  Varieties that have slightly hairy stems and the more showy or unusual flowers may not be as easy to grow as varieties that do not have these traits.  Those varieties require careful watering during the growing season and no water applied during the winter months.  Winter temperatures should be kept above 50 degrees and the soil should be kept dry.  Placing the delicate plants on a heated grow bench will help them make it through the colder winter months.      

For a successful plant, use a gritty succulent soil mix as well as placing the plant in a clay pot with drainage holes.  Clay pots are porous, which allows air and water to flow through the pot, which in turn will help prevent root rot and other diseases.  Place a layer of grit on the surface of the soil to prevent moisture from accumulating around the stems base.  

Propagation can be done with both seeds and by cuttings.  When working by either method, leave the seed or cutting laying on the ground, don't cover with soil.  When placed in the soil, there is a good chance of root rot occurring.  Once rooting has begun, the plant can be placed in a sandy soil mixture and allowing for good drainage.  

Flies pollinate the flowers.  They are attracted to the foul smell of the flowers, the smell much like that of rotting meat.  As the flower begins to fade, the hairs, color and surface take on the look of a decaying animal.  This pollination results in twin seed horns that are very attractive.   

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Mealybugs are the major insect issue for this plant.  Woolly aphids are also an issue.  An infestation of insects can cause damage to the stems, which in turn can cause fungal issues.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#houseplant#drought tolerant#low growing#perennials#succulent#frost tender#groundcover#dry soils tolerant#flies#malodorous#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant#showy#perennial#container#odor#foul odor#perennial succulent#waterwise garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#houseplant#drought tolerant#low growing#perennials#succulent#frost tender#groundcover#dry soils tolerant#flies#malodorous#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant#showy#perennial#container#odor#foul odor#perennial succulent#waterwise garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Stapelia
    Species:
    hirsuta
    Family:
    Apocynaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Rock gardens, container, houseplant.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South Africa
    Wildlife Value:
    Flies pollinate the flowers which are also attractive to other pollinators. Small reptiles and birds feast on the flies.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Textural
    Wildlife Food Source
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Houseplant
    Succulent
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Dense
    Erect
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Fruit Type:
    Follicle
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a small follicle that can sometimes contain several seeds. The seeds have a thin outer margin and many hairs. They are spread by the wind.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Large 6", flat, maroon to purple, star-shaped flowers with a foul odor, similar to rotting meat. This odor attracts flies, which in turn lay their eggs on the flower. The flowers are quite hairy. Pollinated by flies.
  • Leaves:
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    The subquadrangular stems grow up to 8" tall and thick. During the winter months and when grown in full sun, the stems will turn a reddish color. Vertical concave grooves along the stem.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Small Space
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Problems:
    Malodorous