Cactus & Succulent Garden

Black Bells

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Black Bells

Ceropegia leendertziae

  • Common Name: Black Bells (other common names: Carrion Flower, Rugose Cup Starfish, Maroon Cup Starfish, Star Flower)
  • Scientific Name: Ceropegia leendertziae (also accepted: Stapelia leendertziae)
  • Family Name:    Apocynaceae
  • Origin: South Africa – Zimbabwe, Swaziland
  • Height: 1’ - 2’
  • Width: 3’ – 4’
  • Growth: plants grow fast, and most will flower within two to three years.
  • Zone: 9A - 11
  • Light Needs: Full sun – Partial shade
  • Salt Tolerance:  unknown
  • Soil/PH/Texture: use a gritty compost, or some growers prefer to use a mineral-only compost to minimize a chance of fungal attack on its roots.
  • Soil Moisture: Average water needs, regularly but do not overwater.
  • Drought Tolerance: moderate – suitable for xeriscaping
  • Pests/Diseases: no serious pests or diseases usually. (watch for mealy bugs)
  • Growing Conditions: easy to grow and low maintenance
  • Characteristics: this succulent plant has dull green to reddish stems that are erect, long, angular, and leafless. Its showy and unusual bell-shaped flowers are red/dark purple/black, up to 5” long, and blooms appear in late spring – mid summer.
  • Propagation: by stem cuttings
  • Wildlife: unknown
  • Facts: may produce toxins that are harmful or irritating to humans and pets. The sometimes-putrid smell of the flowers of many species attracts flies and other insects for pollination (myophily). It has been reported that odor can trick the flies into laying their eggs around the fleshy corona, thinking that it will be a food source for their larvae when they hatch.
  • Designer Considerations: use for accent plant, along foundations, in cactus or succulent garden beds, in containers (3 gal. or larger), and is excellent for xeriscaping