Flowering Succulent Plants

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It rained so heavily last night and now it is still cloudy and cool 19 deg. C. We had planned to see Comet Ison on Sunday before dawn, but it seemed that this comet did not make it through its journey close to the sun. It is just gone out of sight.  Images from NASA spacecraft showed Comet ISON approaching for its slingshot around the sun, but nothing coming out on the other side. Very sad and disappointed, but at least I have seen the best one so far (Ikeya-Seki).

Note on Ison Nov.30,2013: The latest news…. apparently a tiny part of Ison nucleus has survived and it has been seen coming out from behind the sun. It looked like a tiny nucleus with very short and stumpy tail and still….it may not survive very long.

Now talking about some of our flowering succulents so far:

Donkey’s Tail, Burro’s Tail or Sedum morganianum is an odd plant from Mexico. The very brittle stems and leaves form long and neat strands. The small red bell-shaped flowers are also strange as they grow on the end of the strand hanging down. Very suitable to grow in hanging baskets/pots. Both stems and leaves are very easy to break off at the slightest touch or movement. The good thing is that most of the broken part (even a single leaf) will grow roots and start a new plant if they have dropped on soil.

Donkey's Tail

Donkey's Tail Flowers


Aeonium haworthii or also known as Pinwheel Aeonium is commonly grown and the rosette leaves form nice clumping mounds if grown in full sun. This Canary island succulent has small creamy yellow flowers.

Aeonium haworthii - Pinwheel aeonium

Pin Wheel Aeonium


Crassula tetragona has clumps of tiny white flowers. This southern African native is also known as Miniature Pine Tree (don’t make any sense to me). Just like all succulents, it is very easy to grow, best in full sun and well drain soil.

Crassula tetragona


Dec. 03/2013: More succulent flowers:

Kalanchoe hildebrantii ‘ Silver Spoon’ is one of my favourite succulent plants. The small leaves are spoon-shaped and green-grey silver in colour. The flowers are clusters of red orange bell-shaped blooms that grow on tall stems. When the flowers are matured, they will produce some fruits/pods with seeds inside. Not the prettiest flowers, but the plant offers interesting and pretty leaves.

Flowers and Fruits - Kalanchoe hildebrantii  'Silver Spoon'

Kalanchoe hildebrantii 'Silver Spoon' 1


Kalanchoe beharensis is also known as Elephant Ear. Another favourite succulent of mine. The green silver-grey velvety leaves are kind of triangular. how to explain the peculiar leaves? This is what I get from Wikipedia, by using the proper way to explain leaves. Do not ask me the meanings as I am not an expert. Ha, ha….

Leaves are olivaceous in colour, triangular-lanceolate shaped, decussately arranged with leaf margins that are doubly crenate….” (Wikipedia)

The not so beautiful small flowers are bell shaped, hairy and the colours are cream with green center. This is how I explain them… do not ask me to explain them by using botanic terms:(

Kalanchoe beharensis aka. Elephant Ear


Next flowering succulent is the Stapelia grandiflora or also known as Starfish Cactus or Carrion plant. The flowers are hairy, red meat colour and smell like rotten dead animals. Flies will lay eggs/maggots inside the flowers in believing that there is food there for the maggots to eat. But within a day or so the maggots are starving and dead and the pretty star-like blooms will also wilted. The flies have helped the process of pollination. Mission accomplished!

Flower buds - Stapelia grandiflora - Carrion Plant - Starfish Cactus

Stapelia sp. (Carrion or Starfish Plant).


Although not as fleshy, Yucca plants are also considered as succulent. The one that we have is Yucca filamentosa ‘Hairy’. The name hairy comes from the fact that the leaves grow hairs. The plant consist of trunkless rosettes of soft-textured but wide, blue tinted leaves that are adorned with particularly large numbers of curly white threads, giving the entire plant a hairy effect. The flowers are creamy white that grow very tall, well above the plant itself. Very showy blooms indeed!!

Close-up Yucca filementosa 'Hairy' flowers

Flowers of Yucca filementosa 'Hairy'

Yucca filementosa 'Hairy'


Stapelia – Hairy and Smelly

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Stapelia sp. (Carrion or Starfish Plant).

Our Stapelia plant is flowering. The flowers are star-shaped, hairy and smell like rotting flesh. The colour is dark red like the colour of meat. Though the smell is not as strong as Corpse flower (Titan arum), it is good enough to fool some flies. Flies think that the flower is some kind of rotting carcass, so they lay their eggs/maggots inside the flower. So the missions are accomplished for the plant! The flies have helped the flower with polination. When I took the pictures yesterday, I saw tiny maggots near the stamens inside the flower. Not very long they will die as there are nothing for them to eat in there, within 3 or 4 days the flower will also wilt away.

Stapelia Plant

  • Stapelia is originally from southern Africa and also known as Carrion or Starfish flowers.
  • There are about 40 species.
  • It is succulent plant and not a cactus.
  • Attractive fleshy, smooth and spineless velvety long stems which can grow to about 20 cm long. Green or grey-green with purple tinge in colour.
  • Large flowers and the flower buds grow like balloons before they open.
  • The flowers are hairy, mostly are 5 points starshaped. Once open, they will last for a few days (3-4 days).
  • The flowers come in many different colours: dark red/maroon, yellow, cream, greenish or spotted/mottled.
  • It needs similar growing requirements as other succulents. Sandy but rich well drain soil.
  • Full sun position, keep in sunny place indoor in winter.
  • Much less water during cold season.
  • Liquid fertilizer during the growing season.

Stapelia Flower Bud

Stapelia sp. just about to open.

Star-shaped Stapelia sp.

A fly is attracted to the flower.

Maggots inside the flower.

The Amazing Wonder of Nature….. Sometimes it is just bizarre!