General notes on the cultivation of Ceropegia

Ceropegias have been my passion for about ten years now, and after a number of attempts to grow numerous species in a variety of conditions, soils, and temperatures, I am now growing most of them successfully. The following will describe what has worked for me in my conditions here on Staten Island in the northeast corner of the U.S. From time to time I will update this page.

Plant Types

  • A - Rootstock is fusiform, fleshy or fibrous roots. Flower corolla lobes are free at the apex. (C. stapeliiformis.)
  • B - Rootstock is fusiform, fleshy or fibrous roots. Flower corolla lobes are fixed at the apex. ( C ampliata, C. arabica. )
  • C - Rootstock is a tuber. Flower corolla lobes are free at the apex. (C. simonae (?))
  • D - Rootstock is a tuber. Flower corolla lobes are fixed at the apex. ( C.woodii, C. linearis.)


I have tried potting my plants in cactus and succulent mixes, sterile potting soil, mixtures of humus, garden soil, and sifted pine bark; so far, I find the best soil for both tuberous and thick rooted types is a mix of professional potting soil, perlite, and sifted pine bark. In my basic mix I also include fast and time-release fertilizers (Hollytone and Osmocote). Note: Osmocote is a time released fertilizer that is temperature sensitive, that is that it is released at warm temperatures, presumably when the plants are growing (summer) and not while they are resting (winter).

I am growing some of my fleshy-fibrous rooted ceropegias in an orchid seedling mix. My hybrida hort growing very happily and flowering more than it ever has. C.stapelliformis has also done well as did a propagation of C. armandii. The real test will be to see how they revive after the winters rest. I may have let the armandii get too dry as it appears to have died. A tuber of multiflora tentacula in a small pot of orchid seedling mix seems to have wintered well

My larger armandii plants were a little too cold in the greenhouse which was kept at 60 degrees Farenheit through the winter, and they along with the pettignattii and some of the thicker stemmed vining type plants developed some spots of rot. All of those plants have been moved into a 72°-78° F. space under lights. I hope they recover as it was very difficult to obtain and grow them. (March 1998)


revised November 2000

After visiting Dr. Jerry Barad, who has a terriffic collection of asclepiads and and thousands of other succulents and cacti, I began to use his potting formula for my ceropegias and lithops. The lithops responded so well that I adapted the formula for my ceropegias. The barad mix by itself is very porous and, I think too dry for most ceropegias, so I added about 2-3 parts of Ball mix #2. In the wild most ceropegias grow in the leaf litter trapped around the shrubs in which they grow, the ball mix is an attempt to mimic that type of loose leaf mold.

  • 2 parts professional potting soil (Pro Mix or Ball #2, Ball #2 will hold more moisture and is heavier then the pro mix.),
  • 3-4 parts Barad mix, listed below.

Barad mix

  • 3 parts Scott's metromix with Coir
  • 1 part large pumice
  • 1part small pumice
  • 1 part turface and a dusting of the pile with Micromax trace elements (expensive, 50 lb sack is about $68.00)
  • To about 1 gallons of this mix I add small a handful of hollytone fertilizer.

This soil mix is a freely draining potting soil that will retain some moisture. It is also forgiving if you are an over-waterer like me. The loose nature of this soil gives roots pretty good air circulation (Orchid seedling mix is very free draining and provides much more air circulation) which seems to be beneficial to these plants. Some plants seem to need weight in the pot (dichotoma and fusca) and I add traction grit to the mix. I have been thinking that as I find out more about the natural habitat of particular ceropegias, I will add marble or granite chips to their mix which may help maintain a more favorable ph.


I have added marblechips and the associated marble dust to the Barad- Ball mix and the response of the plants has been good so far.


NOV 2000 - This fall I have brought all the ceropegias into my living space and gotten them out of the greenhouse and the yard. I've left a pot of linearis hanging outside and the temps have dropped below 40° F with no apparent harm, it has also been the driest October in 6 years, with less than an inch of rain. There have been a few surprises. Many of the plants seem to like it better in the house than outside, the dichotomas and fuscas are growing and putting on leaves. All of the vining types are growing all over each other, the radicans and sandersonii are hanging from a 4 tube flourescent fixture and seem quite happy. The niloticas are blooming as did the stenantha, I hope to get these pictures up soon. There has been a surprise or two. I am growing the pettignatti in an aquarium with a closed top in very bright light. It doesn't seem to like the light at all. The plant has bleached leaves and the stem has arched itself out of the pot into the shade of other nearby pots. There is no evidence of the black rot so the temperature and humidity seem to be okay. The temperatures in the aquarium range between 68° F and 100° F on a daily basis, this seems to be about right for the pettignattii some medium thick stemmed varieties and the cimicifuga.

MARCH '99 - This winter has shown me that these are tropical plants. We recently put a new thermostat in the greenhouse and set it to 60° F. The thin stemmed ceropegias (ampliata, woodii, linearis, etc. ) did fine. The thicker stemmed plants all protested by either rotting at the roots ( except for the ones grown in leca stones, see more about leca stones under Propagation.) or by developing black circular spots of rot ( Hybriba hort. seedlings, armandii, pettignattii, albisepta). My past practice had been to take the trellised vines into my house and put them in a dormer window where they have spent the winter without harm. This year the dormers were full of paintings and clivias, and the plants, except for C. cummingiana, ballyana, crassifolia, and one distincta, stayed out in the greenhouse. I learned last year that cummingiana, being from the Phillipines, would not tolerate 58° F. , its leaves yellowed and fell from the plant. At the end of this January it was apparent that the greenhouse was not warm enough for many of the plants and warmer arrangements would have to be made, so I moved the invalids to warmer rooms even if the light wasn't as good as in the greenhouse.