Fat plants

Dorstenia foetida

Dorstenia foetida

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small perennial plant with a succulent stem, native to central Africa; the stem produces an enlarged caudex. It has an erect stem, widened downwards, which can reach 30-35 cm in height and 45-60 cm in width; it is grayish brown and tends to become woody or semi-woody. It produces numerous branches, which give rise to a small messy hair. From the apex of the branches sprout small glossy leaves, bright green, usually oval or lanceolate, with wavy or notched margins. Always from the apex of the branches in spring it produces thin stems that carry the particular inflorescences: they are called hypathodi, they are flattened, disc-shaped inflorescences, constituted by innumerable small green flowers; around the disk of flowers branch off some rays that give the flower the appearance of a strange daisy with a few green and fleshy petals. At the center of the inflorescence are produced the seeds, which are pushed by the flower when they are mature, sometimes even for a few meters. Other particular succulents also belong to the genus Dorstenia; D. gygas is the largest species, it is in fact a large pachycaule shrub, up to 180-200 cm tall, which grows only on the island of Socotra.


it is grown in a shady or partially shady place, it fears contact with direct sunlight. These plants don't like cold and are generally grown at a minimum temperature close to 12-15 ° C.


from March to October water regularly, avoiding letting the soil dry excessively; during the winter months we thin out the waterings. Generally with the shortening of the days the Dorstenie tend to lose their foliage, we avoid watering them during this period of semiriposo, we resume with regular watering as soon as we notice the new shoots, at the end of winter.


prefers soft and humus-rich soils, but always very well drained. We remember that these plants, like many other succulents, do not produce a conspicuous root system, and have a better development if placed in small containers.

Dorstenia foetida: Multiplication and Pests and diseases

Multiplication: occurs by seed; It is also possible to propagate plants by cuttings, even if rooting is quite difficult.
Pests and diseases: fears the attack of aphids and cochineal; a very compact and poorly drained soil can favor the onset of root rot.


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