Hardy succulents


Huernia ...

Huernia ...  

A MEMBER of the Asclepiadaceae family, the Huernia is a good looking succulent, native to South Africa. Related to the much larger Stapelia, it has a multi-branching formation of green stems about five inches long, and about half an inch thick. The fleshy stems are angled with soft teeth, and no leaves. The plant is also commonly called the Star Flower.

Statuesque by itself, the Huernia further rewards the gardener with superbly shaped, unique flowers — spotted, striped or hairy, generally star shaped with a fleshy five-pointed appearance. The only drawback is the somewhat foul odour the flowers give out.

The Huernia loves the sun, and only a little water. A well drained soil formed by a generous mix of sand or perlite is the trick to ensuing a healthy Huernia.

Black spots indicate rot due to overwatering. Propagation from offsets is a fairly easy task. The plant is a genuine rare delight, with hardly any demands at all.

Popular varieties of the Huernia are: H.aspera (purple red flowers); H.zebrine (zebra-like stripes of purplish brown on a yellow background); H.barbata (pale yellow flowers spotted in red); H. primulina (pale yellow/pinkish flowers).

A MEMBER of the Liliaceae family, these plants, native to South Africa again, resemble the aloe. Best grown in semi-shade, the Haworthia can lose its striking green colour under a very hot sun. This succulent has a fantastic form.

... and the Haworthia ... a delight to grow.

... and the Haworthia ... a delight to grow.  

The Haworthia attenuata has a stemless rosette of really tough dark green leaves that have bands of glistening white tubercles. Sharp pointed at the edge, a single haworthia soon offsets itself, and fills the pot.

Flowers are borne on long thin stalks — tiny white bells that do not do any justice to the lovely plant. However, seeds are formed in plenty, by the tiny flowers.

A freely draining soil keeps the plant healthy.

H.Margaritifera too is very pretty, vwith pearly tubercles. The H.retusa, H.viscosa and the H.fasciata are all worth sourcing, to grow in the garden, as well as to add interest by way of form and design in shady verandahs and patios.

Text and pictures by RUPA GOPAL

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