It is impossible to imagine plants that could compete with slipways in their exoticism. For the beauty of flowering, they are rightly ranked among the most original and vibrant indoor cultures. But due to the unpretentiousness of the slipway - one of the best indoor succulents. The huge five-radiant flower stars of this culture, covered with an unusual edge, are unforgettable. Like their far from completely pleasant aroma, which spoils their entire impression. Those who decide to grow slipway houses will have to deal with the problem of an unexpected smell and take care of their cool wintering.
For the beauty of its huge flowers, stapelia among flower growers around the world is better known under the name of a coral reef, starflower, sea or order star. The genus Stapelia is part of a rather diverse and vibrant Kutrov family (Apocynaceae). It is easy to distinguish a slipway from brothers by its delightfully original flowering, but the stalks of the succulent are also very decorative. Stapelia - representatives of the South African group of exotics-succulents, found in nature in the mountains, in secluded places near ponds or in the shade of large trees.
Stapelias are original succulent plants with thick and fleshy stems that are very easy to confuse with cacti. These are stunted succulents, the maximum height of which is limited to 20 cm. Stapelia shoots are leafless shoots, most often tetrahedral, with weakly or strongly pronounced faces, outwardly resemble ripsalidopsis. The processes at the stocks appear at the base of the stems, the plant constantly grows sprawling stems and forms bizarre "bundles" of numerous shoots, which makes it look very attractive. All slipways are characterized by a light, saturated, bright color of greenery, which is perceived as unusual and cold.
Flowers of slipways are inimitable even in details. Reaching a diameter of 15 cm, single flowers hanging or rising on thick pedicels, they surprise already with their huge size. The corolla is modified, it looks like a five-pointed, fleshy, regular "live" star. Five pointed leaves of the cup emphasize a round or bell-shaped rim, the five petals of which taper to the apex, forming the same star-shaped effect. The tips of the “rays” drawn and rounded at the ends only emphasize the ideal star-shaped shape. Many slipways are characterized by an unusual crown with lanceolate or rectangular, short, dissected or straight, curving or flat, free petals, together with tight-fitting anthers that form a fleshy circle. The flowers unfold unusually, with a loud pop, unfolding the petals and revealing their stars slowly (being under attentive glances).
The slipways are characterized by dull, but far from boring colors. Brown, cherry, red color of spots and strokes creates an illusion of animal colors and skins on a light background and due to the edge or unusual texture, it evokes an association with luxurious fur or outlandish mollusks.
The status of foul-smelling houseplants was firmly entrenched in the slipways. A specific smell attracts flies to the succulent, but it is not equally pronounced in different types of slipways. And the beauty of fleshy, outlandish flowers more than compensates for this drawback. After all, such an exotica is grown primarily to replenish the collection of its original plants, and not as an ordinary indoor culture.
Types of slipways
In a room culture, there are mainly six species from the fairly extensive genus Stapelia ( Stapelia ). Only two plants differ in surprisingly large flowers, the rest of the slipway captivate with its shape and edge more than the size of the flowers.
Stapelia grandiflora ( Stapelia grandiflora ) is a luxurious succulent plant with very beautiful glossy shoots, on which ribs appear beautifully. Young stems seem fleshy and tender, their brilliant lime color changes over time to a rougher texture with a silver-pink bloom, due to which the plant seems luminous. The flowers correspond to the species name: huge, up to 16 cm in diameter, stars with pointed rays captivate with a wrinkled texture as if with a velvet surface and the presence of a miniature crown or crown in the throat around the stamens. The petals are almost lanceolate, they are beautifully bent, so that the ciliary edge seems luminous. Brown and red spots on a white background create a unique color, which is more intense, in the form of strokes appears closer to the throat. The picture can be seen close up, from afar the color seems a little dirty brownish-pink. Each flower in this species lasts less than a week. The status of the most beautiful exotica in large-flowered stapelia is combined with the status of the most smelling: the aroma fell and rot, which it radiates, is so strong that it is better not to contain the plant during flowering even for a short time in residential premises.
The size of the flowers with the large-flowered stapelia can be argued by only one starflower - the giant stapelia ( Stapelia gigantea ), which gives the impression of a very powerful plant, a large-flowered species. Shoots up to 20 cm high are distinguished by blunt edges, small whitish cloves and greater thickness. Flowers on long pedicels in diameter can exceed 30 cm. They are flat, deeply dissected, widely triangular, with a very elongated thin tip. The color is almost graphic: subtle dark red touches appear on a light yellow-beige background. The charm of the flowers adds an edge of long white hairs. This is one of the non-aromatic species that does not cause unpleasant emotions, even near.
Associations with various representatives of marine fauna are caused by the appearance of another very popular plant - variable stapelia ( Stapelia mutabilis ). This is a bright succulent plant with hard thick shoots up to 15 cm in height, flaunting with its large large teeth directed upward. Flowers with a diameter of up to 7-8 cm seem very massive. Flat, with wide ovoid rays and a beautifully elongated tip, they pleasantly surprise with a transverse motley pattern of strokes and spots, forming a brown-red ripple on a light yellow background. Ciliated edge and wrinkled surface only emphasize the beauty of the color. On the crown, the pattern is repeated, but in a “finer” version.
Star-shaped stapelia ( Stapelia asterias ) more than other staples resembles the outlandish inhabitants of the marine flora. Green, with blunt edges and small teeth, covered with a reddish-beige bloom at a respectable age, the shoots of this slipway do not look as neat as in the previous species. But her flowers are very different. Located on long pedicels at the base of young shoots, the stars of this slipway reach only 6-8 cm in diameter. Flat, with deeply dissected petals and pointed tips, they surprise you with elongated rays and a brown-red-orange color, on which thin yellow stripes and “washouts” are not immediately visible, which can be seen and glowing. Strikingly long pink finest hairs, which at the edges of the flowers turn into long white soft cilia, emphasize the watercolor-transparent and bright color. The plant seems to be covered with a weightless, finest fur.
The pure color and fur effect also captivates another small-flowered species of slipway - Stapelia glanduliflora ( Stapelia glanduliflora ). At a height of up to 15 cm, its shoots seem tough, graceful. With pterygoid faces and sparsely spaced teeth, they conquer with a darker color than the rest of the slipway. Flowers in diameter are limited to only 5 cm. Lemon-green color is combined with an elongated linguistic form of rays, almost imperceptible pink spots and stripes, a slightly wrinkled surface and an unusual edge. Long white hairs at the edges are combined at this slipway with shorter and thickened flowers in the center.
Golden purple stapelia (Stapelia flavopurpurea) is another medium-sized and brightly colored slipway. Its shoots are massive, up to 10 cm high, shiny, dark green, with blunt, weakly expressed faces. Flower stars, despite a modest diameter of only 4 cm, look impressive thanks to the highly dissected rays of elongated-triangular, strict shape. Strong wrinkling perfectly complements the greenish-yellow color, contrasting with the color of the shoots. The main decoration of the slipway is a large disk-crown with an almost jewelry “spider” of petals and purple bright pubescence.
Earlier, in the genus of slipways, another highly decorative indoor species was isolated - variegated stapelia ( Stapelia variegata ), but the plant was reclassified to the genus Orbea (Orbea) species of Orbey variegata ( Orbea variegata ). This is an original low succulent with ribbed shoots with pronounced denticles, the concave lobes of which form a four-pointed star in the section, and a flower without a crown with bent rounded rays, light wrinkles and a reddish-brown color.
Homemade slipway care
Stapelias are unpretentious succulents that are not at all difficult to grow; this task is also within the reach of beginners. But you can get them to bloom only on condition of a cool wintering, which is not suitable for all gardeners. The most difficult thing is not to go too far with watering and choose the right lighting. Stapelias even need to be transplanted in exceptional cases, and their drought tolerance is enviable.
Lighting and placement of stocks
Stapelia are sun-loving exotics, but in summer, direct sunlight will lead to a loss of decorative shoots, the appearance of dry spots. Despite the status of African exotics, they are found in nature in rather secluded places, and the lighting for them is selected bright, but diffuse. In autumn and winter, direct sunlight to the slipways is not contraindicated, it is better to move the plant to the brightest windows in the house. With the transition from winter to spring to an increase in illumination, it is better to train the slipway gradually.
Stapeli feel comfortable only on sunny windowsills. An ideal place for this succulent would be the southern window sills with scattering screens or the first row on the western and eastern window sills. When placing a slipway, it is worth considering the presence of an unpleasant aroma in some species, which requires placement in ventilated rooms away from living rooms.
Temperature conditions for slipway and ventilation
Stapeli grow well in room conditions. For them, moderate temperatures of about 20 degrees of heat and a warmer environment from 22 to 26 degrees are suitable. Extreme heat is best avoided, but an increase in temperature usually affects only the frequency of irrigation. For the rest period of the slipway, it is worth providing coolness. Optimum temperatures - about 15 degrees - allow the plant to prepare for flowering. The minimum allowable temperature is 12 degrees. In such conditions, the slipway should be from November to March. The transition from warm to cool content and vice versa for slipway should be as smooth as possible, the plant is prepared for the rest period slowly, gradually lowering the temperature.
Stapelia, unlike many other indoor succulents, love frequent airing. In summer, slipways can even be carried out into the open air, protecting from direct sunlight. The plant is not afraid of drafts, but it is better to protect it from hypothermia.
Stapeli watering and air humidity
It is necessary to water the starflower gently, allowing the soil to dry out between these procedures in the upper layer. When watering, you need to be careful not to soak the base of the shoots and not to spray drops on the plant itself. During the dormant period, during the cool maintenance of the slipway, it is watered with a minimum amount of water, just not allowing it to dry out, wrinkle, or lose turgor to the stems. You always need to focus on indicators of temperature and the rate of drying of the soil.
There is no need to increase air humidity for this succulent, the slipway is not afraid of a very dry environment both in summer and in winter.
Feeding and composition of fertilizers for stocks
Top dressing for all slipways is applied only during the period of active growth, in spring and summer. For this succulent, the standard dosage and the frequency of feeding are suitable - about 1 time in 2 weeks. During the fall and winter, feeding for slipways is not carried out.
Fertilizers for slipways are easy to pick up: only special fertilizers for cacti and succulents are suitable for them. For this crop, an increased level of potassium in the composition of fertilizers is important.
Stapelia pruning and shaping
Stapelias are cut off only when damaged, weak, drying out areas on old shoots appear. An acute clean cut of undecorative shoots allows not only to improve the aesthetics of the bushes, but also to stimulate the growth of lateral growth. At the slipways, the oldest shoots can be cut annually, eliminating the need for cleaning during transplantation.
Stapeli transplant and substrate
Stapelias are afraid of transplants, adult plants are stored in the same containers until there is an urgent need for transplantation or separation. At a normal growth rate, adult stapelias can be transplanted no more than 1 time in 2-3 years or until the plant has enough space in the old container. The transplant can be replaced by simple procedures for changing the topsoil and pruning the oldest shoots.
For slipways, low pots are used, since they develop mainly in breadth, and the root system does not differ in impressive volumes. Capacities must be stable.
For stocks necessarily use special earth mixtures for succulents and cacti. If the soil is mixed independently, then it provides an increased content of sand. A simple mixture of turf soil and sand in a ratio of 2 to 1, as well as more complex options, will do. Charcoal is best added to any slipway soil.
At the bottom of the containers for growing stocks lay a high layer of drainage, which should be at least 1/3 of the height of the pot. The transplant procedure itself is not entirely simple. Earthball is best not to destroy. For old slipways, carefully remove the old, shrinking shoots. Usually they are located in the center of the outlet, gradually woody and dry out, spoil the decorative. Such a cleaning allows plants to bloom more magnificent, because peduncles appear only in young twigs. After cleaning, the remaining bushes are left intact or neatly divided into 2-3 parts, trying to get beautiful, not bare plants. Stapelias are planted at the same level at which they grew in old containers. The transplant cannot be completed with watering: a light test watering is carried out only after a week, otherwise there is a high risk of loss of succulent due to rot.
Diseases and pests of stapelia
The only thing that threatens this succulent is improper care. Rotting resulting from too frequent and abundant watering or even ordinary watering when kept cold is a common cause of plant loss. The effects of overmoistening are manifested in a lethargic, oppressed form, followed by withering and blanching.
Common growing problems:
waterlogging of the soil and wilting or decay of stems;
the appearance of burns in direct sunlight;
stretching the plant in the absence of dressing or in shading
Stapelias are not the easiest succulents to reproduce. You can get offspring from stapelia from seeds, but more often use vegetative methods:
separation of bushes into large parts during transplantation;
Cuttings from a stapelia are cut from old shoots, and you can use those stems that were removed during transplantation, allowing the slices to dry for several days. Rooted cuttings in slightly damp sand. This process is short-lived, but waterlogging can cause decay of plants, and insufficient moisture can dry out cuttings. After rooting, plants are immediately planted in individual containers.
Plant seeds ripen for about a year, wilted flowers are unattractive and they are rarely decided to leave on the plant to achieve full maturity of numerous seeds. Yes, and the non-preservation of the initial characteristics, mutations, and the consequences of crossbreeding force us to abandon seed propagation in favor of cuttings. But if you want to get a large number of plants, then this option is the best. The seeds of slipways are sown freshly picked in a light sandy substrate, slightly covering the soil. Under a film or glass, they will germinate in about a month. Plants dive as they get stronger, transferring into small individual pots. In a year, the young slipways will need another transplant: it is better to carry out it not by the classical method, but by transshipment.
Take care of young slipways as well as adult plants.