Orbea variegata in bloom

     Found in eastern and southern Africa, Orbea is a genus of Stapeliad with about 20 species. Commonly called "Carpet Flowers" for the interesting texture and patterning of the blooms. Orbea variegata is probably the most popular species in cultivation and one of the species in my collection. Orbeas have thin knobby stems that often take on a mottled purple or pink color in strong light. What looks like spines, are actualy vestigial leaves. Excellent hanging plants, the stems can reach 12 inches long or more. The speckled flowers are produced in the Fall.
     Orbeas, like most stapeliads, are rot prone and should be potted in a fast draining mix and watered moderately. Probably about once a week when it's real hot. In winter I wait till the stems get a little shrivelled and then water them, always from below. Orbeas can be propagated from seeds, cuttings or divison.

I have two species of Orbea and
a species from a related genus, Orbeanthus
Click on a thumbnail below.

Orbea variegata

Orbea verrucosa

Orbeanthus hardyi

All images and text are copyright 2005 to present, D.S. Franges, unless otherwise noted.