South eastern Africa
Stapelia gigantea is a species of flowering plant. Growing up to 20 cm (8 in) tall, it is a clump-forming succulent with erect green stems 3 cm thick.
In summer, it bears large star-shaped five-petalled flowers up to 25 cm 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. They have the smell of rotting flesh, in order to attract the flies which pollinate them.
Due to its tender nature and intolerance of extended freezing, this plant is usually grown as a houseplant in temperate zones.
In general they are drought-resistant succulents suited for rockeries, and the small-flowered species are suitable as container Cactus.
They are excellent subjects for a water-wise garden, Provided that they are not over-watered and are given a warm position.
They like a sunny position and will also grow in light, semishade in hot climates. The soil should have good drainage
Some large-flowered species make a good show when grown in masses in the garden.
For watering cacti, the golden rule is to make sure the soil is completely dry before watering! This will stop the roots from rotting. It is advised to always use a pot with a drainage hole so that excess water can get drained out. If kept in a sunny area, you will need to water it once every week. If it is in a semi shaded or filtered light area, you might need to water it once in 2 weeks.
Cacti like soil that is well aerated and fast draining. You can fertilise the cactus in the summer months when it is in its growing season. During the winters it is best to cut back on any fertiliser and let the plant rest.
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