This funky looking plant is an easy to grow, fairly hardy stapeliad that produces unique flowers consistently through its blooming season. I’ve had mine just under a year, and absolutely adore it.
This is a nursery hybrid between H. hystrix and H. pendula, and isn’t found in nature.
The name itself isn’t botanically valid, and some folks suggest the hybrid may actually be between H. recondita and H. aspera.
I’ve never produced these from seed personally, and instead rely on what the internet tells me.
To be honest, the exact hybrid cross doesn’t seem to matter much – the care is the same.
Care for the Huernia
Soil and Potting
These do best potted in a well-draining succulent soil (a surprise, I’m sure). I amend mine with 50% pumice and a bit of orchid bark – think 1 scoop pumice, 1 scoop soil, and a half scoop bark.
The addition of pumice and bark ensures that water drains rapidly, keeping the roots from getting soggy. You want to ensure your stapeliad doesn’t sit in damp soil for days or weeks on end, or it will become prone to root rot, mealybugs, and other pests.
They don’t need particularly large pots or room for the roots, as you can see with mine. You can pot them up into something larger, as long as the soil remains well draining. This will encourage more growth, and with more surface area of the soil, there’s a good chance any arms trailing along the soil will root and grow.
To get nice, compact growth, you have to resist the desire to keep them well watered. I could not resist and as such, you can see the long, snake-like arms that mine has developed.
I watered mine often in summer, at least once a week, sometimes more if it was very hot. In winter, no water at all unless the daytime temperatures in my greenhouse are above 80. I provided some water to ensure the roots didn’t dessicate too much; if you’re not growing in a greenhouse, you probably don’t need to water yours at all in the cold months.
These are very forgiving of too much or too little water in warmer months, making them a great candidate for novice stapeliad growers.
These are fall bloomers, and set their buds and flowers once the heat of summer has passed. To encourage blooming, provide a balanced fertilizer (1:1:1) at half strength each time you water, especially in late summer.
While some care information online suggests that moving the plants when the flowers are beginning to form can cause them to drop the buds without the flowers opening, I have not found that to be the case.
You’ll see buds begin developing in late summer, and a happy plant will continue blooming well through fall and into early winter (or at least, mine did). You may want to consider growing your Huernia in a hanging basket to best observe the flowers, which point down.
As these are in the carrion flower family, the flowers do smell bad if you stick your nose up next to them. Their small size keeps the smell limited, though, so they don’t stink up your greenhouse or patio.
My plant in May 2022, not long after I brought it home.
The same plant in late February 2023.