With its starfish look, Stapelia scitula commonly be called a small starfish flower. The small succulent has long, light green stems that can grow up to 3 inches tall and 0.2 inches thick. The attractive cactus is adorned with starfish-shaped furry flowers with magenta and yellow color throughout the year.

Stapelia plant is fabled to produce a foul smell like rotting meat. The scent uniquely attracts flora to lay eggs on the flowers to help spread the pollen.

Despite Stapelia scitula's unique scent, plant enthusiasts continue to seek it out. Although the small starfish flower is smaller than other Stapelia plants, most people can barely smell it unless they put noes very close to a flower. Also, the beautiful look and quickly growing habit will make up for the smell.

Okay, let's explore how to take care of the beautiful succulent.

How to care for Stapelia citula


Although stapelia scitula, like most succulent plants, is relatively easy to grow, it can be difficult for beginners to take care of a plant full of unknowns. Therefore it's crucial to know what kind of environment succulents need.


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As Much Sunlight As Possible


Native to the deserts of South Africa, Stapelia plants with a desire for full sunlight. However, this dose NOT means that Stapelia scitula likes over-exposed direct sunlight. On the contrary, bright indirect light is preferable for indoor succulents.

As a soft succulent, it is ideal for growing the small starfish flower as a houseplant in most areas of the United States. The succulent prefers warm to moderate temperature environments with low to average humidity. They can grow BEST at about 77-95F and at least above 50-56F in winter.

Growing the Stapelia scitula outdoors during warm regions or warm seasons, such as spring and fall, is recommended. Stapelia scitula feels happy and turns pink after being exposed to morning sunshine at least 4 hours.


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The soft succulent has a slim chance of surviving a frost, and colder temperatures may cause it to die. Therefore, Stapelia scitula should be moved indoors on a chilly day, and it should NEVER be exposed to temperatures below 50°F. Grow lights can make up for the low light indoors. Click here to learn how to take care of succulents in winter.

How to Water Succulents?


As succulents are drought-resistant plants, sometimes, neglecting Stapelia scitula is the best way to keep them thirsty and thrive. Soak and dry soil thoroughly before watering plants since overwatering can lead to fungal infections and even rot. Click here to learn how to save overwatered succulents.

You can water it from the bottom of the planter pot to moisten the soil in spring and autumn. Prepare a wider container with water, and let the planter pot sit in the container. Succulents will drink the water slowly from the bottom drainage hole.


Bottom watering would encourage succulents to grow healthy and strong roots. Happy roots, happy succulents! If you want to know more about Bottom Watering, click here to see more.

As for water frequency, water Stapelia scitula every two weeks in summer is ideal. However, reduce the intervals to once or twice a month during spring and autumn. Stapelia scitula can be neglected for a whole winter. To prevent the stems from shriveling, we suggest you moisten the soil on sunny days.

Grow Succulents in Cactus Soil Mix


For Stapelia succulents, gritty and well-draining soil is essential. The soft-stem succulent CANNOT tolerate being in moist soil for a long time, so the potting soil should be breathable enough to allow excess water to drain from the planter pot.

However, it can be difficult for a novice to fertilize succulent plants, so when fertilization is not needed, we recommend using a cactus soil mix that includes a part of organic feed. Or you can click here to learn how to fertilize succulents.

If you are too busy to make your own succulent soil, we have two types of professional organic succulent soils for you. Our succulents in the nursery love them very much.

DIY the cactus soil is not difficult as long as you get this recipe.


You can adjust the recipe based on your needs.

If Necessary, Repot You Succulents


You can prepare for the repotting in advance, although this may take a long time to wait when the Stapelia scitula grows large enough. Prepare a planter pot enough bigger so that Stapelia scitula can grow in any direction. The planter pot with a large drainage hole would be better, you can even place a layer of pebbles at the Bottom of the pot to help improve the drainage. Again, the best time to repot is in spring and fall. Click here to learn more about how and when to repot succulents.


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Propagation to Get More Stapelia Scitula


There are many ways to propagate stapelia succulents, seeds, stems, or offsets. Here is the leading guide on how to propagate Stapelia scitula by stem cuttings:

  • 1. Use a shaped knife or scissors to cut off a healthy stem from the succulent.
  • 2. Put the cutting in the indirect sun and ventilated place overnight, waiting open wound to heal.
  • 3. Place the cutting in soil, and use a spray can to water in small amounts rather than watering thoroughly as you would a mature succulent until you find it has developed a robust root system.

Click here to learn how to propagate succulents from stem cuttings.

How to Get Rid of Diseases & Pests


Overwatering is the MOST potent killer for Stapelia scitula to rot. Cut the rotted part when you notice any rot issues. If the rot issue is terrible, you need to take emergency action to save it. Take the plant out from the planter pot, cut off the rotted part, and do propagation with the healthy part.

Underwatering can cause the stems of succulents to become dry. In contrast to overwatering, a dehydrated succulent can survive as long as you take some measures. First, you need to check if the soil is loose. You can use a stick to test it. If the soil is well-drained, just water the soil and let it completely wet till the water flows out from the drainage hole. Click here to learn what underwatered succulents look like.

Pests often occur on Stapelia succulents. Scale insects and mealy bugs are the most common. The easiest way to get rid of these pests is to remove them with soft brushes or rinse the plants thoroughly with water. Neem pesticide oil and alcohol spray are recommended if the issue is terrible. Click here to learn How to Get Rid of Mealybugs on Succulents.


In conclusion, the small starfish flower, Stapelia scitula, with its unique appearance and attractive magenta and yellow furry flowers, is a fascinating addition to any succulent collection. While its foul smell may deter some, its beauty and quick growth make it sought after by plant enthusiasts.

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