Ceropegia


A very rare tuberous-rooted species that grows in Zimbabwe. The only part of this plant that is actually succulent is the tuber, the rest is non-succulent growth. The stems are thin and hairy, the leaves are heart-shaped without any hairs on. The flowers are pollinated by small flies of various species; size being the important qualification and not the particular species of fly as the plant is pollinated over here by different flies from the ones they have in Zimbabwe. When pollinated, seed horns are formed of about 10 cm. Make sure you catch the seed before it is released, otherwise you will lose it. The seed should be sown within half a year of collecting, preferably earlier, because it has a limited shelf-life. The seeds can germinate within 24 hours if sown under plastic and kept moist. It will form a reasonably-sized tuber and flowers in the first year of growth.
The plant should be kept in a warm greenhouse (minimum 15°C). In the winter the tuber has to be kept dry, otherwise it will rot. The plant prefers an open soil with good drainage.

Ceropegia meyeri is very rare in cultivation, partly because seed is hardly ever available and the plant is not so easy to propagate from cuttings. It is possible to take cuttings, however, but you need a high temperature (25-30°C) and a high humidity. As with most other tuberous-rooted ceropegias, unlike some other caudex plants (e.g. Adenium obesum), a plant grown from cuttings will develop a tuber. The plants climbs through other plants, using them as support.

Ceropegia meyeri

Ceropegia meyeri

This is a very easy species to grow, just as easy as Ceropegia woodii. It is a trailing variety which will sometimes climb; it will grow very long, but do not be tempted to cut it back or you will lose the flowers. The flowers will appears when the plant has reached a length of about 1.50 metre. The flowers are about 2cm long and do not stand out. The leaves are long and thin, hence the name linearis. If you grow a stem horizontally, for instance on a potting table, the nodes will send out roots if they touch the soil. This is an easy way of propagating the plant, which is useful as linearis seed is rarely produced.

It is a tuberous-rooted species and the tubers will form from cuttings, as is true of all tuberous-rooted ceropegias. It will grow in most soils and requires only a little bit of heat (5-10°C) in the winter. In the summer, it prefers to be grown in a shady place, but temperatures can be quite high without any problem.

Ceropegia linearis

Ceropegia linearis

This species originates from Kenya and is very similar to C. robynsiana and C. evelynae, but is easier to grow and will tolerate lower temperatures and humidity. It grows in its natural habitat on sheltered river banks and in wooded valleys. One of the places it can be found is the Meri river near Mount Kenya and another is the Teita Hills near Voi. Voi, by the way, is where a number of species of Ceropegia can be found, such as C. solomensis and various nilotica types.
The plant will get very large, producing growth up to 3 meters in length. Only when it has reached a certain length will it flower. This is a common feature in a number of rampant species and it is therefore advisable not to cut back the shoots or no flowers will appear. The colour of the flower tips can vary slightly, from pale yellowy green through to red and the stems can reach a diameter of 2.5 to 3 cm at the base. Unlike most other ceropegias, this species will flower on the peduncles from the previous year.

 

Ceropegia succulenta

Ceropegia succulenta


Ceropegia succulenta

Ceropegia succulenta

Ceropegia rupicola comes from Yemen; Ceropegia aristolochioides comes from an area between Senegal and East-Africa, in other words, from the tropical area just south of the Sahara. Normally these two species do not come into contact with each other, but in collections this is quite possible and this is what happened. The result is the cross of which you see the flower in the picture below.
The flower and stem are similar in structure to that of C. aristolochioides, but it is much larger. Barring the difference in size, the plant could easily be mistaken for an aristolochioides, but for the fact that the seeds were definitely collected from a rupicola plant. One of the reasons that there are not more hybrids from these two species, unlike for instance C. sandersonii and C. stapeliiformis which produce many hybrids, is because rupicola is difficult to keep in cultivation and you need to have a large plant before it flowers.
The C. rupicola x aristolochioides prefers conditions more like those in the natural habitat of C. aristolochioides, that is: hot and moist, rather than the dry heat in which C. rupicola grows. It can take drier conditions, but then it will not grow so very fast. In cultivation, it can also take cooler conditions, down to 15°C, but it does a lot better when it is kept warmer.

 

Ceropegia rupicola x aristolochioides

Ceropegia ampliata is one of the easiest South African species to grow in a greenhouse. It has thick fleshy roots, succulent stems and tiny leaves. The large flowers always appear in the autumn. In the winter it should be kept dry and it can take temperatures down to 8°C. If grown in good conditions, it can grow a number of metres in a year.
It is very easy to propagate from cuttings as they root very well. It does not readily produce seed in cultivation, so you will not often see seed on offer. Hybrids from this species are not available, unlike those from Ceropegia sandersonii and Ceropegia stapeliiformis which are quite common. The pollination mechanism in Ceropegias is so complicated and small that it is virtually impossible to do by hand; you must leave this delicate work to insects. It does not matter much what species of insect attempts to pollinate the flowers, it is the size of the insect that is important.

 

Ceropegia ampliata

Ceropegia ampliata

This is one of a number of new species from Madagascar that has been brought into cultivation over the last few years. It has a creeping stem which will elongate and climb into shrubs when ready to flower. There are two colour forms, the white one seen here and a green one which is more common. It requires a winter temperature of 15°C to do well. It is not difficult to cultivate provided it is kept shaded in the summer.
It can be propagated from cuttings or, although rarely available, from seed. Seed can germinate within 24 hours which tends to be common in Asclepidaceae anyway. The stems of petignatii are similar to those of C. armandii and C. simoneae; some people would call it “like dead braches”, but don’t be fooled; they are obviously not dead. The vegatative stems are normally thick, but when they start to flower, they elongate and become very thin.
Please note that the leaves you see in the picture below are from a different species; the petignatii was growing in amongst it.

A photo of the green variety can be seen in Art Vogel’s album.

Ceropegia petignatii

Ceropegia petignatii


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This species comes from Kenya, despite its name, and is quite distinctive because of the square stems. It is a tropical species requiring reasonably warm temperatures. It is a clambering species that tends to drape over branches in shrubs. Flowers are not produced often, but are worthwhile waiting for.
It belongs to the larger nilotica group due to the constriction in the base of the flower. It is a very rare plant in cultivation and only infrequently offerred.

 

Ceropegia mozambicensis

Ceropegia mozambicensis

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