Stapelia gigantea - Carrion Flower|
When I started assembling these web pages and going through my pictures, I was surprised to see only one hanging basket shot. Of all my prolific little plant buddies, this is the profilicest. I mean, this sucker is everywhere. I've seen stem cuttings of this out of the soil that are maybe a year old. They just sit there and wait for soil. Of course, after so much time they get shriveled, limp, and lifeless looking, but it doesn't affect them post-planting.
Stapelia gigantea definitely likes as much sun as you can give it, and lots of water in the growing season, with splashes of water in the cooler months. It can be damaged by a light freeze but will grow back from whatever stub is left. I don't give it much food...or any...so little that I don't actually remember...
The main attraction of Stapelia gigantea are the flowers. I made the mistake of tossing my extras into a bed below the kitchen window, and WOW! Do the flowers ever STINK. And I don't mean regular old stink, I mean STAAAANK. This is a true carrion flower. And the flies love it. After a day or so, there are maggots everywhere. From varieties of flies. Flies I've never seen before ol' Stinky came along. However, if you can put it at a distance, in full sun, with lots of water, the display (from a DISTANCE) is spectacular. The flowers can be 6-8 inches across with a yellow background and red bumps-and stripes. Ok, they're mimicing rotting carcasses. Just don't think about that.