The Complete Guide to the Starfish Cactus Flower ‘Stapelia grandiflora’ and How to Cultivate it

Starfish Cactus Flower “Stapelia grandiflora” is a flowering plant in the Stapelia genus of the Apocynaceae family. It is also commonly referred to as the carrion plant, starfish flower, giant toad plant, or starfish cactus and it is native to South Africa. Stapelia grandiflora, hardiness zones 10-11, has a 14-inch yellow flowers with crimson stripes and enormous carrion blossoms (Stapelia grandiflora). When the sun is high, their green spreading arms take on a touch of scarlet. The arms are covered with thick white spines that protrude from the skin. An inch thick stems with four angles arranged vertically run the length of the plant.

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The Starfish Cactus is a flowering plant native to South Africa. Stapelia grandiflora has a fascinating history that spans over 3,000 years ago in Mexico and Central America, where it was used for medicinal purposes and as a food source. The Mayans used it for ceremonial purposes and even wore them on their heads during ceremonies, while Aztecs used it as an essential part of their diet.

starfish cactus flower

Plant Characteristics.

Whereas the Starfish Cactus flower looks like a star when it is open that can grow up to 12 inches tall with six to eight inches wide arms. Depending on the species, the starfish cactus’ blossoms can measure up to 14 inches wide. Its five-pointed blooms are flesh-colored, although some of them are gray or yellowish, while others are reddish-purple. The smaller flowering species may have blooms dispersed around the cactus, whereas the bigger species have flowers near the base of the plant. When a flower dies, it is replaced by another one, but the process repeats itself over and over again. A gritty texture and pores resembling those seen on skin can be found on the petals.

The plant can also grow in various soil conditions such as sandy, clay, or rocky. The starfish cactus has a lot of similarities with the traditional cactus, but it has some specific features that make it different from them. For example, it has more than one stem or branch that grows from the center. In addition, its leaves are not as sharp as those of other cacti, and they have a more rounded shape

Mature Size and Height.

Star cactus grows up to 14 inches tall with six to eight inches wide arms. The plant can grow in various conditions such as full sun, partial shade, and even droughts.

starfish cactus flower

Trimming and Pruning. 

Stapelia grandiflora needs to be trimmed every year to keep it healthy and looking good. Unfortunately, many people are intimidated by trimming or pruning plants in their homes because they don’t know how to do it correctly. But if you follow general punning and trimming instructions, you’ll be able to trim your plant like a pro!

Pruning and trimming are essential aspects of maintaining a healthy plant. The purpose of pruning or trimming is to maintain the shape and size of the Starfish Cactus and remove any dead or dying branches.

The first step in this process is to inspect the plant for dead or dying branches. These should be removed by cutting them off with a sharp blade at the base. If you do not have a sharp blade, you can use a large sharp scissors instead. The next step is to remove any stems that has been damaged by insects, disease, frost or wind.

Stapelia grandiflora

How to Propagate Starfish Cactus

The starfish cactus is an easy-to-grow plant that prefers warmer climates. It is a slow-growing plant that produces slender, greenish stems with narrow, pointed ribs. It can be grown in a wide variety of soil conditions, such as sandy, clay, or rocky. It is also drought-tolerant so that it can survive in arid climates. The plant can be grown in full sun, partial shade, or even a greenhouse. It can also be grown in a container or a garden. If you grow the plant in a container, make sure that the soil is well-drained. Cultivate your plant in a mixture of peat moss and vermiculite or any other kind of potting soil. The potting soil should be about an inch deep, and it should be placed in a warm area such as a sunny window. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, as this can cause the seeds to rot. Starfish Cactus can grow up to 14 inches tall, so you’ll need a container at least 12 inches deep. The container should be large enough for the plant to grow and reach its full height.

How do you grow a Stapelia grandiflora?

To grow the starfish cactus, you should select a pot at least 10 inches wide and 14 inches deep. The pot should have drainage holes no more than one inch in diameter. The soil should be loose and sandy, and it should be between 8-10 inches deep. Place the pot in a sunny area for the first three weeks after planting. 

Four Simple Steps in growing a Starfish Cactus

If you are interested in growing a starfish cactus, there are four simple steps that you need to follow. The first step is to buy a starfish cactus from your local nursery or garden center. You can also order one online by searching for “starfish cactus”.  The second step after you’ve received the plant is to place the cactus in a pot with well-drained soil. If you plan on keeping the plant indoors, it needs to be near a window that receives plenty of light, or else it will start to stretch and grow into an elongated shape. The third step is to water the plant regularly but not excessively – about once per week should be sufficient if it’s planted outdoors and twice per week if it’s planted indoors. Finally, give the plant fertilizer every few months.

starfish cactus flower

Flowering and Foliage.

Stapelia grandiflora can grow to be up to 14 inches tall and its flowers have a distinctly awful scent, and if you’ve ever tried one, you’ll agree with me. With its remarkably large, brightly colored and texture-rich blooms, it’s one of the few indoor plants that truly stands out.

Flowers can in fact grow higher than the entire plant, if you look closely enough. There are many gardeners who are drawn to this houseplant because of its vividly colored blossoms, which appear at the base of its stems and have a pungent odor.

Soil and Transplanting.

Soil is an essential part of any garden. Unfortunately, it is also the most challenging to maintain. The soil needs to be rich in nutrients, have good drainage, and retain moisture. Coconut coir should be added to the mixture as well. In order to prevent the soil from becoming overly acidic, coir is used. Compared to peat moss, which can be somewhat acidic at times, it has a virtually neutral pH that varies from 5.5 to 6.8. Maintaining moisture in the soil is a key benefit of using coir mulch. Your starfish cactus bloom will cover the whole growing pot when it reaches its full maturity stage.

It is important to know when it is time for your plant to be transplanted. When your Stapelia Flower becomes too large for its container, it may be time for transplanting. You should always water your newly transplanted plant when the soil is dry but not soggy. The best way to transplant the starfish cactus is to remove it from its pot by loosening the soil around its roots then pulling it out. And spring is the best time to do this activity. Take advantage of an extra-large diameter container for your plants to grow in any direction. Use a layer of stones in the bottom of the growth medium before filling it with potting soil to speed up drainage.

Sunlight and Temperature. 

Starfish cactus needs plenty of sunlight and warmth and it is one of the most popular varieties due to the fact that it can thrive in both cooler and hot climates. Keep in mind that the starfish cactus can grow in cold and hot climates. This makes it ideal for people in places like Arizona or areas around the southwest of the united states, where the temperature varies drastically. However, the ideal temperature should be between 26-35 degrees Celsius or 80-95 degrees Fahrenheit. Stapelia grandiflora prefers the warmer climate, but it can survive in any climate that has a warm summer. It needs to be kept in a sunny area, but it does not necessarily in direct sunlight. However, if you are growing the plant in a greenhouse, you should ensure that it gets enough light.

starfish cactus flower

Common Pests and Diseases.

The starfish cactus is susceptible to common pests and diseases, such as mealybugs, mites, aphids, whiteflies, and powdery mildew. These pests and diseases can cause damage to the plant, and they can also cause the plant to lose its branches or stems. Therefore, it is vital to check the plant regularly for these pests and diseases, and you should remove any insects or plants infected with a disease. These pests can attack the cactus in different ways, including sucking up its sap or feeding on its leaves. The most common diseases that affect this cactus are rot and root rot caused by overwatering. To prevent these pests and diseases from spreading, you should use an insecticide or fungicide, or other pest control natural methods. These pesticides will kill insects, mites, and other pests without harming the plants. However, it is essential to use these pesticides in moderation.

How do you take care of a starfish cactus?

If you are looking for a houseplant that is easy to care for and can survive in low light, the starfish cactus is a perfect choice. The Star Cactus is an ideal plant for anyone who wants to grow without spending much time caring for it. It can thrive in low light conditions and does not require much watering or fertilizing. In contrast to other cacti, the Starfish Cactus does not require maintenance. It can be grown in various conditions and can grow in full sun or partial shade. The plant can also grow in sandy, clay, and rocky soil. The Starfish Cactus is best planted in the spring and can be pruned and fertilized in the fall. Cut back its leave and old branches to encourage new growth. The Starfish Cactus should be watered and pruned regularly to keep the plant alive. If the plant is grown in sandy soil, it should be watered about every two weeks and in clay soil, every four weeks since clay will retain moisture longer. 

starfish cactus flower

Starfish Cactus varieties.

Pachycereus pringlei: 

One of the most well-known types of starfish cacti is because it has an interesting shape with many branches, and it has red-brown spines or the Pachycereus pectinatus, which has purple spines. Its branches are typically between 6 and 12 inches long. The color varies depending on the soil where it grows but can be any shade of brown or grayish-green.

Cereus peruvianus: 

This variety does not have a sharp spine on its edges like most other species.

Pachycereus schottii: 

The most common type is the Pachycereus schottii, which has large spines that are white-yellow.  

Stapelia grandiflora

Frequently Asked Questions

How often does a starfish cactus bloom? 

The starfish cactus blooms vary widely but, it does not bloom often at least in certain areas and in certain climate conditions. In the wild, this cactus will bloom a little more often than when it’s domesticated. 

What does the starfish flower smell like?

The starfish cactus flower has a strong odor; thus, it attracts flies and certain insects to its flowers. 

Where to buy starfish cactus?

The starfish cactus are available from various sources, including many online stores like Amazon and eBay.

Is Starfish Cactus Toxic?

The Starfish Cactus is not toxic to humans and animals, but it can irritate if touched. The spines on this cactus are large and sharp and can irritate if they contact human skin.

The star cactus is beautiful. It is not only beautiful to look at, but it is also very easy to care. It thrives in various conditions and can be grown in full sun or partial shade. The star cactus is best planted in the spring and can be pruned and fertilized in the fall.

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Michael is an author and entrepreneur that specializes in content production and marketing. I love helping authors and entrepreneurs succeed. My life experiences have given me a unique worldview, which I've used to write compelling material for my audience. Thank You