What is the importance of growing the Smelly Starfish Cactus Flower in a garden?

Starfish Cactus Flower, is the cacti plant of (Stapelia Grandiflora) the Starfish  Cactus ,which is also known as the carrion flower. Stapelia species belongs to genera, including Stapelia gigantea and Orbea variegata.

The name “carrion plant” is because of the odor emitted by the flowers as a method of attracting flies in areas where other pollinating insects are scarce.

Thus this plant helps in the pollination of other plants in the vicinity where insects and flies are scarce.

Being a native to South Africa, growing Starfish Cactus Flowers usually requires warm, humid temperatures or a specialized greenhouse environment.

Stapelia Grandiflora is a species of seed plant within the genus Stapelia of the Apocynaceae. It is commonly mentioned as the carrion plant, Starfish Cactus Flower, giant toad plant, or starfish cactus, although it’s not related to cacti in any respect.

Stapelia Grandiflora is sometimes also known as the name Stapelia Flavirostris. This plant may be a very variable species, with many hybrids.

How to Identify the Cactus

Starfish Cactus

These stinky, but spectacular, plants share similar traits to those from the carnivorous family in that they possess an insect-attractive aura.

The size of the flowers of this Starfish Cactus Flower ranges around 5 inches and sometimes may also bear 12-inch flowers.

The Starfish Cactus Flower is velvety and smaller in size than those of Stapelia gigantea, they are available in various shapes and colors. Flowers are intermittently produced within the late summer and fall seasons.

This Starfish Cactus Flower is not exactly cactus but they are members of the succulent group. Starfish Cactus Flowers may produce amazing five-petaled flowers that exude a rather unpleasant odor. The smell of Starfish Cactus Flower attracts flies and other insects, which help pollinate the blooms.

The greatest danger of keeping this plant is that it can give a hard time for you and your neighbors due its extremely unpleasant smell. As a workaround you can keep this species outdoor or well-ventilated space without direct sunlight.

In addition, Starfish Cactus Flowers are red to brown and should be mottled with a few colors. Stapelia is the family name of the Stapelia cactus. The “gigantea” is that the most ordinarily collected, as a showy specimen with foot-wide flowers.

This Starfish  Cactus Flower is a very variable species, with many hybrids. The stems can be either erect or ascending 9-10 (-30) cm long and up to 3 cm in diameter (usually less than 2 cm).

Starfish Cactus Flower Care

Growing Starfish Cactus Flower as houseplants is good in most zones of the U.S. and you can move them outside within the heat of summer or grow them in a greenhouse. These starfish flowers are easy to worry about and thrive in various light conditions.

As succulents, starfish flower plants are very easy to care for. They grow quite a bit and wish some tending during the spring and summer months, but they’re quite carefree through the winter and into the spring.

How to care for Starfish  Cactus Flower?

The basics of Stapelia Grandiflora care require feeding, watering, airy & well-drained soil, and bright light.

During the nice and cozy summer months, your plants can live outdoors fully sun.

Light Requirement

Indoors or outdoors, starfish plants like much bright, indirect sunlight. Protect them against the direct sun because it can be damaging.

They will perform well fully to partial sun. Morning light is that the best with some protection from harsh midday rays. The name starfish flower cactus is misleading. The plant does need consistent moisture, unlike its true cacti cousins.


They like a hot temperature and will be kept at above 50° degrees Fahrenheit within the wintertime. Keep the tiny plants warm and in bright light but not in direct sunlight.

In winter, keep them as houseplants during a bright room that stays above 50° degrees Fahrenheit.


Wait for the soil to dry completely between watering. You should water sparingly once or twice a week and very little during the winters.

Allow the top of the potting mix to dry slightly between watering.

Wait for the stems to shrivel a bit during the winter season before watering lightly.

Soil Needs

Like most succulents, Stapelia plants like light, airy, well-drained soil. Because you’ll not provide fertilizer, your cactus soil potting mix should contain quite a little bit of natural, organic matter. It should not be too acidic.

Keep the soil consistently moist with a fine mist spray bottle or by placing the container in very few inches of water until it soaks up through the combination from the bottom.

If you are wondering how to root a Starfish Cactus Flower, then you must know that a cactus is a type of succulent that can root in either water or dirt. Some varieties of cacti will root better in the dirt, but many will also root in water.


You can fertilize with a half dilution of indoor fertilizer in early spring. Use liquid fertilizers only and the ones with a low amount of nitrogen.

The dilution of the fertilizers needs to be done to half its strength and for that, you need to add water to the solution.


There’s no regular pruning for this succulent plant. Just remove any dead or unsightly stems. Remove the flowers when they stop blooming.

Cactus Problems & Diseases

You might wonder why my starfish cactus is turning yellow. Well, the most obvious reason is watering incorrectly. While cacti are considered desert plants, they still ought to be watered properly.

Whenever you’re watering your succulents, check that water is draining from the drainage holes.

If you’re feeling like you’ve poured enough water but nothing is getting through the holes on the bottom of the pot, remove any stones glued to the bottom. Most cacti are sold this manner and often the stones block the drainage.

Other problems also may happen due to watering irregularity. Let us discuss the most obvious ones.


Watering your cactus too often may be a problem. If you keep the soil too wet you’ll see a yellow shade developing on your succulent. This is an indication of stress, and therefore the plant can’t live in such moist conditions.

Your cactus should be watered only if the soil is fully dry. Invest in a reasonable moisture meter, so you’ll precisely measure the amount of moisture within the soil.


Not providing enough water can be a problem also. If you’re watering your cactus once a month, it will turn yellow. Make sure to regularly water your plant, because the nutrients provided by the water are vital.

After monitoring your cactus for a month or so, you’ll understand what the proper watering quantity is.

Problem with Pests

While most cacti don’t have a major problem with most pests, every species of cacti has its own pest nemesis. Depending on the type of succulent you’re growing, you must research which pest can cause a problem.

The color change may be the sign that your cactus has a pest problem.

Potting & Re-potting

The Starfish cactus also prefer to have crowded roots, so keep them in a 4- to 6-inch (10 to 15 cm.) pot with well-drained soil.

Plant them in individual containers within the sandy potting mix.

Repot, transplant, and propagate your Stapelia within the springtime, just before the season. Select a low, wide pot that permits the plant to spread.

Be sure to place a layer of pebbles, pot-shards, or Styrofoam packing peanuts within the bottom of the pot to supply good drainage. Find the types of best pots here.

Propagating the Starfish

You can start these succulents easily from cuttings. Unlike many succulents, they’re also quite easy to grow from seed.

Cuttings should be taken in the springtime. Use a sharp knife to chop off a healthy baby plant stem.

Allow the succulent stem cuttings to air overnight then place it (cut end down) in a pot of cactus mix or your own soil mixture. Care for it as you’d an adult plant.

Seeds are large and flat. Cover them very lightly with soil. Mist the surface of the soil with water and keep the uncovered containers during a warm (60° – 65° degrees Fahrenheit) bright area. Your seeds should sprout in a few days.

The Starfish Flowers

stapelia gigantea bloom

This succulent plant has a number of the most amazing flowers in the world. The starfish cactus Flowers are startling to behold and smell.

The cactus has light yellow blooms with red squiggly lines everywhere. The blooms are almost a foot across, so big that they only about obscure the plant itself.

Get up close and take a whiff of that vast blossom’s dubious odor, and you’ll vow there’s nothing just like the starfish flower.

You might wonder how often starfish cactus blooms. Blooms are rare and depend on prime growing conditions. The amount of sun and water they receive, the fertility of the soil, and the variety. On average, you’ll expect a baby plant to bloom in two years with only one or two flowers.

If you are also thinking how long does it take for a starfish cactus to flower? Let me tell you, the blooming time of starfish cacti depends on where they are being raised. On average, you’ll expect a baby plant to bloom in two years.

Growing flowers from the cuttings

If you can handle the smell, you can let the flowers die back and allow seeds to form. Collect the seeds and start them in a warm area to propagate more of these interesting plants. Much easier still is propagation by cuttings. Remove a 3- to 4-inch (75 to 10 cm.) section of stem.

Put the cut end into peat which has been lightly moistened. Place the potted cutting in low light and keep the soil just damp, but not too moist or it will rot. In time the cutting will become a plant.

Repot the baby plant in regular soil and continue with recommended starfish flower plant care. This is a less smelly method of growing starfish flowers and allows you to share this entrancing plant with friends and family.

Uses of Starfish Cactus

The flowers ripen to a rather horrifying odor after a few days. If you have a fruit fly infestation or another pest, try moving your stinky plant darling into the area.

More common uses of starfish cactus are as a decorative specimen that’s quite a center of attention.

The wide succulent branches have little ornamental use themselves, but once the flowers arrive in summer, the plant features a high wow factor. You must cope with the smell, but you can move it outside if the odor is too offensive.

Just remember to bring it back inside if you reside in any zone outside of USDA plant hardiness zone 9 to 11.

These splendid  Starfish Flowers can be bought online both as flowers only for beautifying or buy the potted plant to grow indoors, mainly in the Online Shopping Site Of Amazon: Starfish Cactus


Starfish cactus is a succulent native to South Africa, all producing Starfish Cactus Flower and long, slender, spiked branches.

It gets a standard name stapelia because of the Starfish  Cactus Flower attracting flies not only with their potent smell but also with the soft white fur that covers the Starfish  Cactus Flower and resembles mold covering rotting flesh.

All are frost tender and thrive in consistently warm climates. Starfish  Cactus Flower looks very beautiful and used for room decoration.