The Asclepiadaceae family: African succulents with beautiful but… smelly flowers

Although more than twenty years have passed, I still remember my first encounter with an Asclepiadaceae. A few years ago, I approached the world of succulents, and I went to visit a nursery just outside my city. I had been browsing among the succulents for quite a while when the owner of the nursery, an elderly but very chirpy lady, noticed me and my interests in plants, approached me and said: “Do you want to see a succulent plant with beautiful flowers?” I said yes, of course, I wanted to see it, so she took me down a narrow corridor cluttered with plants and pointed to a large succulent in a hanging pot. It had thick fleshy, straight green stems with reddish edges, and from one of these stems hung a big star-shaped flower with elongated, thin tips and shaded yellow petals crossed by tiny dark streaks. “Come closer, sniff how good it smells”, the lady said to me, passing from a restrained smile to an open, fat laugh, as soon as I obeyed and immediately withdrew, disgusted by the smell of rotting flesh that from that flower had entered right into my nose.

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September is a brilliant month for all cacti, but pay attention to proper care ahead of autumn

Even in Northern Italy or, generally speaking, in Europe, September is usually a good time for cacti and succulent plants in general. Temperatures drop considerably, there is still plenty of light, and many plants start to vegetate again after the slowdown or stagnation of August when the highs are very high, and many succulents stop to save energy. However, September is also an important month ahead of the fall and winter season, when cacti and succulents stop growing altogether and allow themselves a long period of “rest” while waiting for the new growing season. It’s therefore decisive to accompany the plants on their journey and make the right treatments to arrive in the fall with healthy specimens and ready for the months of drought. Fundamental, for example, is the irrigation regime in this period.

In this article, we see what you need to do this month for keeping cacti and succulents in perfect health, even preparing them for winter diminishing the risk of rot and loss.

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