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Care of the plant Huernia pillansii or Cocklebur.

Care of the plant Huernia pillansii or Cocklebur

The genus Huernia, family Apocynaceae, comprises 60 species of succulent plants native to East Africa. Some species are: Huernia pillansii, Huernia macrocarpa, Huernia zebrina, Huernia guttata, Huernia aspera.

Common names: Cocklebur, Cockle burrs. This species is native to Cape Province, South Africa.

They are small, highly branched, slow-growing succulent plants that reach 10-12 cm in height. The stems have 20 ribs with conical tubercles on the margins; rudimentary hair-like leaves sprout on them and dry with age. Some stems can develop roots (great for making cuttings). The curious flowers are shaped like a starfish and can be yellow, cream, red or brown. If they bloom, they do so in summer.

They are used in pots as indoor plants, for balconies, terraces, greenhouses and in rockery.

The Huernia pillansii prefers a semi-shade exposure avoiding direct sun in the central hours of the day. They resist well the heat of the Mediterranean summer but not the cold below 4 ºC.

The soil can be a mixture of equal parts coarse sand and leaf mulch or a commercial cactus substrate with 20% coarse sand. The transplant does every 3-4 years (in spring) if the pot is too small.

Water moderately, waiting a couple of days after the substrate has dried. The stems tend to wrinkle when the plant needs water.

They do not need fertilizers.

Prune branches that have dried out.

They are sensitive to the attack of aphids and mealybugs; monitor excess moisture to avoid fungal diseases.

They propagate by rooting previously dried branches for a day in a dry and shady place. The seeds germinate very fast but the seedlings grow slowly.

Images of the plant Huernia pillansii or Cocklebur

Huernia pillansii
Huernia pillansii
 

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