Dorstenia foetida

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Scientific name: Dorstenia foetida
Common name: Grendelion
Natural habitat: Ethiopia
Flowers: very strange star shaped green flowers, shooting its seeds, when ripe.
Soil: cactus soil
Leaves: narrow,  evergreen or caducous, green to grayish-green ,nearly orbicular or linear), 1-15 cm long, 0,5-4,5 cm wide, tip acute to shortly acuminate, or obtuse to rounded.
Sun/shade: semi–shade or full sun
Watering: humid while growing , dry during winter. Good moisture speeds up growth a lot.
Hardiness: not lower than 4 ° C / 40 F
Size: height: up to 30 cm (12 in), wide: up to 15cm (6 in)
Care: very easy, caudex plant
Propagation: mainly by seed, sometimes by cuttings
Soil/pH: 7,5

Sales information:

  • sold as young plant, caudex 1,5cm wide, 3 cm tall.
  • bareroot
Photo by C T Johansson – Own work, CC BY 3.0,


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Dorstenia foetida indoors care

My unofficial category for Dorstenia foetida would be “Cool plants”. Its “cool” feature number one is the typical for caudiciform plants water storing, bottle shaped trunk. Added to that is the strange shape of the flowers with the size of 2cm (0.8 in) looking like a mixture between Sun-flower and a star. Finally when the seeds are ripe they will be explosively expelled from the seed head a few meters away with high chances ending up in your other pots.

The right place for Dorstenia foetida would be a sunny, warm window. Unlike other succulents it will thrive with regular watering during the spring-summer. Let the upper soil get just slightly dry. Winter time reduce the watering to allow it to be a bit more dry.

Use well drained cactus soil and fertilize a couple of times during active growth season with high phosphorus and potash fertilizer.

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Specification: Dorstenia foetida

Weight0.33 lbs

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