Discover the wonders of Stapelia gigantea, also known as the Zulu Giant or Carrion Flower. Learn about its care instructions, propagation methods, common issues, and interesting facts. Embrace the beauty of this unique houseplant and add it to your collection.


Are you a houseplant enthusiast looking for unique and intriguing plants to add to your collection? Look no further than Stapelia gigantea, also known as the Zulu Giant, Carrion Flower, or Giant Toad Plant. This fascinating succulent is sure to grab attention with its striking appearance and unique characteristics. In this article, we will explore the care instructions, propagation methods, common issues, and interesting facts about Stapelia gigantea. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of this extraordinary houseplant.

Care Instructions for Stapelia gigantea

Stapelia gigantea, a member of the Apocynaceae family, is native to the arid regions of South Africa and Tanzania[^1]. To ensure the healthy growth of this exotic plant, it is essential to provide the appropriate care and meet its specific requirements. Here are some detailed care instructions for Stapelia gigantea:

  1. Height and Exposure: Stapelia gigantea can grow up to 30.5 cm (12 inches) tall and requires full to partial sun exposure[^1].

  2. Watering: This plant is drought-tolerant and follows the “soak and dry” method. Water the soil only when it is dry and crumbly. During summer, watering once every 7 to 10 days is recommended[^1].

  3. Pot and Soil: Choose a terracotta or ceramic pot with drainage holes to ensure proper soil aeration and prevent waterlogging. Opt for a shallow pot that is 10% wider than the plant’s diameter. Use well-draining soil, such as succulent or cactus soil mixed with gritty materials like sand, pumice, or gravel[^1].

  4. Sunlight: Stapelia gigantea requires at least 6 hours of bright light every day. It can tolerate both partial and full sunlight. However, protect it from intense midday sun to avoid sunburn[^1].

  5. Fertilizing: During the active growth period (summer), use a thin water-soluble fertilizer every 15 to 20 days. Avoid fertilizing during the dormant period (winter)[^1].

  6. Propagation: Propagation of Stapelia gigantea can be done using stem cuttings. Choose spring as the best time for propagation. Before planting the stem cuttings in a shallow clay pot filled with succulent soil mix combined with pumice, sand, or perlite, allow the cut ends to callous over. Rooting should occur after approximately 14 days[^1].

  7. Common Issues: Overwatering can lead to root rot in Stapelia gigantea. If root rot occurs, cut out the infected portions and repot the plant in fresh soil while allowing it to dry out between waterings. Pest infestation, especially by mealybugs, can also occur. Isolate affected plants and treat them with isopropyl alcohol or diluted neem oil. Regular inspection and treatment of the plant and soil are recommended[^1].

  8. Flowering: Stapelia gigantea produces large beige flowers with reddish-brown transverse lines during the fall. These flowers have a putrid, rotten meat-like scent to attract flies for pollination[^1].

Propagation Methods for Stapelia gigantea

Propagation is an exciting process that allows you to expand your houseplant collection or share the joy of growing Stapelia gigantea with fellow enthusiasts. Here are the steps for propagating Stapelia gigantea through stem cuttings:

  1. Select the Stem Cutting: Choose a healthy stem from the main plant. Use a sterile, sharp knife or pair of scissors to make a clean cut.

  2. Allow Callousing: After cutting the stem, allow the cut end to callous for several days. This process helps protect the cutting from infections and promotes successful rooting.

  3. Planting the Cutting: Once the cut end has calloused, plant the stem cutting in well-draining soil. A mixture of succulent soil and perlite or sand can provide the ideal growing environment.

  4. Watering: Water the soil lightly after planting the cutting. It is important to avoid overwatering and keep the soil slightly moist until the cutting establishes roots.

  5. Rooting: With proper care and environment, the stem cutting should root within approximately 14 days. During this time, it is crucial to maintain the right moisture levels and provide adequate light.

Common Issues with Stapelia gigantea

While Stapelia gigantea is a resilient plant, a few common issues may arise during its growth. It is crucial to address these issues promptly to maintain the health and vitality of the plant. Here are the common issues and their solutions:

  1. Root Rot: Overwatering can lead to root rot in Stapelia gigantea. If root rot occurs, it is necessary to cut out the infected portions, repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil, and adjust the watering frequency to avoid future incidents[^1].

  2. Pest Infestation: Mealybugs are a common pest that may affect Stapelia gigantea. If you notice signs of infestation, such as the presence of white cotton-like clusters on the plant, isolate the affected plant and treat it with isopropyl alcohol or diluted neem oil. Regular inspection and treatment of the plant and soil can prevent further pest problems[^1].


If you are looking for a unique and intriguing addition to your houseplant collection, Stapelia gigantea is a fantastic choice. This succulent, also known as Zulu Giant, Carrion Flower, or Giant Toad Plant, brings an exotic touch to any indoor space. By following the detailed care instructions, propagation methods, and addressing common issues promptly, you can ensure the growth and health of your Stapelia gigantea. With its large beige flowers and fascinating odor, this plant is bound to captivate plant enthusiasts and spark conversations. So, embrace the wonders of Stapelia gigantea and enjoy the rewards of nurturing this remarkable houseplant.


[^1]: About Succulents. (n.d.). Stapelia Gigantea: Zulu Giant, Carrion Flower. Retrieved from

[^2]: Home and Garden Digest. (n.d.). Zulu Giant Succulent Care: How To Grow Stapelia gigantea. Retrieved from