The Red Dragon Succulent

Huernia Schneideriana. AKA the Red Dragon.

These succulents can grow very long and look stunning in hanging planters. They flower easily and often. Trimmings will root easily in dry soil. The flowers are a beautiful deep red 5-pointed star, about an 1 inch across. The stalks can get sunburned in hot, sunny weather here on the mountain.  Make sure your soil is well draining – adding some coarse sand and perlite to your potting mix can help with this.

This is a succulent whose name is close to the dragon fruit cactus.  Not to be confused, this is not a cactus and will not have dragon fruit.

I will have a few young plants available in the next sale in late July.

Description from Ola Brisa Gardens in Florida “Indeed, the flora of this Malawian, Tanzanian, South African area succulent are not only endearing but actually seem somewhat shy and retiring!  (Just like me, I am sure!)  That is to say that the small – just over a half inch (2 cm) – five pointed, bell shaped, maroon (purplish-brown) with almost black centered flora appears to hide under or below its pendulant arms.  Or, are those legs?

Growing to a height of 12-18 inches (30-46 cm) they are said to prefer a bit of shade.  Ours is near a large Aloe Vera and a prickily mammillaria longiflora  that’s related to the Powder Puff Pincushion (now that’s a great name!) on the Stepped Terrace below the pool.  There they seem to enjoy the sun the majority of the day.  (We once had them free planted in a succulent bed but they staged a little cactus coup and tried to take it over!)

They can be most attractive in a hanging pot with their trailing ½ inch (2 cm) across, appendages growing to three to four feet (92-122 cm) – if they touch nothing.  On those grey-green hanging segments are numerous fleshy (non-hurtful) teeth that I’ve found folks like to stroke once they realize they are non-threatening!

Drought tolerant, this plant is also suitable for growing indoors and you may want to re-pot them every three years or so, depending on their growth.

For quite some time, it was thought to be a natural hybrid of Huernia verekeri and Huernia aspera.  However, now it is recognized as a legitimate species all onto itself. . . . and we’re so proud!

The Red Dragon Plant likes lots of water and fertilizer in the hot climes if it’s to flower regularly.  Ensure you have well-draining soil (I add no little pure river sand)

Graham Charles – who knows a great deal more about cacti and succulents then I ever will –  succinctly states that their “small stems . . . make clusters from which the flowers appear on short stalks near the soil level.”  Yep, sounds like my shy little Red Dragon Flowers!

While reinforcing that the Huernia  genus slowly grow in a mat-like format, Terry Hewitt, another man who knows these plants well, aptly describes them this way “. . . the long-lasting, star shaped blooms, with deep cups and twin-horned seedpods, cluster at the bases of new stems.”

Between what we three have said – and the accompanying photos from Ola Brisa Gardens – I think you get the proverbial picture as regards their flora!

I’ve found this to be rather easy to grow, attractive and a good conversation piece.  So if you seek a succulent but wish to avoid punctures, this may be the guy for you!”

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