Monday, November 3, 2008


Orchids, together with roses, are acclaimed worldwide as the most beautiful of all flowers , though I’ve always been partial to succulent blooms myself . For me, the most beautiful, intriguing, maybe even the weirdest flowers in this sphere are the flowers produced by a succulent group called the Stapeliads.
While they are beautiful, many of the Stapeliads’ flowers have a really foul stench like the smell of fresh pooh-pooh or some other rotten organic matter. This is again another wonderful element of Mother Nature. The carrion smell attracts another favorite insect-pollinator the langaws and bangaws of the world. Flies absolutely love many Stapeliad flowers! I always find it a treat when I have one of my Stapeliads flowering (my favorite is Pseudolithos) when I have visitors to my greenhouse. I let my guests take a good whiff of a Pseudolithos flower and, needless to say, they are all stunned by what their noses encounter, thinking that I’ve just played a dirty trick on them.
Air circulation is very important, especially in a humid environment like ours. This will drastically decrease the chances of fungal infection. With the exception again of the more sensitive Stapeliads mentioned earlier, most are fairly tolerant of a wide range of soil types. The key is for the growing medium to be porous. For the more sensitive species, I recommend using only a purely mineral-based mix with a good sandy garden loam as the base. If you follow these general guidelines, you will find your Stapeliads rewarding you throughout the year with the most beautiful blooms in the succulent world.