Carrion Flower For Halloween
Whats so fascinating about stapelia is that it uses the odor to attract flies, which soon lay eggs in the center. Those eggs are doomed since there's nothing to feed on, the flies duped by a stupid plant. The stapelia on the other hand is now pollinated, and the flies are off to spread the pollen to another roadkill imposter.
Not only does the smell mimic rotting meat, the flower feels fleshy and rubbery too, fringed with very convincing hairs along the petals... which also look like rotting meat. The striations condense towards the center, giving the illusion of depth so the flies think that they're entering deep into a bloody cavity. Now that's a great story to tell trick or treaters.
I grew mine in a large container that almost never receives water or attention. The stems quickly multiplied under neglect, and now trail over the edge, leading me to suspect that this would be a really cool hanging basket subject.
Its popular in rock gardens and is hardy in zone 9, but adventurous gardeners like Mr. Subjunctive from "Plants Are The Strangest People" and Tina from "In The Garden" have grown it as a houseplant... I recommend putting it in a ventilated area when it blooms though, taking it in if there's a frost at night.
Here's a photo from Kanapaha's fall plant sale that I shared with the gals at "The Dirt", which they posted on their blog. They were even nice enough to put it with my vomiting jack o' lantern in the Sunday edition of the Tampa Tribune! Here's the link for the article, which also features some other very creative Halloween plant choices!
What gardening ideas do you guys have for Halloween? Can you think of any other themed plants?