Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina
Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina

Introducing the lifesaver cactus, also known as Huernia zebrina. Although it is referred to as the lifesaver cactus, the vibrant, circular flowers have a central opening that looks like the hole in a lifesaver candy, hence the name. This lifesaver cactus has many other names, such as owl eyes plant, lifebuoy Huernia, carrion flower, and zebra-striped Huernia.

Native to South Africa, Huernia zebrina has thick, fleshy stems that grow in a creeping manner. Your stunning lifesaver can grow up to 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide. These stems are covered in unique, dark green, triangular-shaped markings that resemble the pattern of a zebra. Hence, the plant gets its common name, "zebrina."

The flowers of the lifesaver cactus are truly captivating during the spring and summer. The center of these star-shaped flowers is adorned with raised, dark red or maroon markings that resemble the shape of a lifesaver candy, hence the nickname. The intricate design adds to the allure of the plant, making it a stunning addition to any succulent collection or garden. The lifesaver cactus flowers are not only visually striking but also emit an unpleasant aroma that attracts pollinators, such as flies. The odor is frequently compared to carrion, the decaying flesh of dead animals, which is why the flower is also known as a carrion flower.

Additionally, Huernia zebrina has no reported toxic effects, making it safe to use around pets and humans.

Watering Needs

Like other succulents, the Huernia zebrina lifesaver plant has specific watering requirements that are different from those of regular houseplants. Succulents, including the lifesaver plant, are adapted to survive in arid conditions and store water in their leaves, stems, or roots.

When it comes to watering the lifesaver plant, it's important to follow a "soak and dry" method. This means that you should thoroughly water the plant until the water drains out from the bottom of the pot, and then allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. It's important not to keep the soil wet all the time because this can cause root rot and other problems.

Watering frequency is determined by several factors, including temperature, humidity, and pot size. As a general guideline, it's recommended to water the lifesaver cactus every 2-3 weeks during the growing season, which is typically spring and summer. In winter, when your Huernia zebrina is in a dormant state, you can reduce the frequency and water it sparingly.

Remember, it's always better to underwater than to overwater the lifesaver plant. If in doubt, it's best to err on the side of caution and let the soil dry out before watering again. Observing your lifesaver and checking the moisture level of the soil using your finger can also help you determine when it's time to water.

Light Requirements

This unique lifesaver succulent prefers bright, full sunlight to partial shade for optimal growth and health. In its natural habitat, the lifesaver plant thrives in semi-arid regions where it receives plenty of sunlight. When it comes to caring for your Huernia zebrina indoors, it's important to mimic its natural lighting conditions as closely as possible. Place your lifesaver plant in a location where it can receive bright, indirect sunlight for several hours a day. A south-facing window is often an excellent choice, as it provides ample light without exposing the plant to direct sunlight, which can cause sunburn.

If you don't have a south-facing window, don't worry! The lifesaver cactus can adapt to slightly lower light conditions but may grow more slowly. You can supplement its light requirements by using artificial grow lights, which can provide the necessary intensity and spectrum of light for your succulent growth.

It's important to note that while the lifesaver plant enjoys bright light, it's best to avoid placing it in direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and cause damage to your Huernia zebrina. If you notice that the leaves are turning yellow or brown, it may be a sign that the succulent is receiving too much direct sunlight.

Optimal Soil & Fertilizer Needs

When it comes to the optimal soil for your Huernia zebrina, this unique succulent thrives in well-draining soil that mimics its natural habitat. For the lifesaver plant, it's best to use a well-draining cactus or succulent potting mix. These types of soil blends are specifically formulated to provide the right balance of moisture retention and drainage. To improve drainage, you can make your own mix by combining regular potting soil with perlite or coarse sand. Instead, make or buy a well-draining potting mix, or ideally, use our specialized potting mix that contains 5 natural substrates and mycorrhizae to promote the development of a strong root system that helps your lifesaver cactus thrive.

When it comes to fertilizing, the lifesaver plant doesn't require heavy feeding. In fact, it's generally recommended to use a diluted, balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for cacti and succulents. During the growing season, which is typically spring, you can fertilize your lifesaver plant once a year with an equal amount of NPK (5-10-5).

 

Remember, it's important not to over-fertilize the lifesaver plant, as this can lead to nutrient burn and other issues. Always err on the side of caution and use a weaker concentration than what is recommended, as succulents are adapted to survive in nutrient-poor environments.

Hardiness Zone & More

When it comes to temperature, the lifesaver plant prefers a warm environment. It thrives indoors in temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It's important to avoid exposing the plant to extreme temperature fluctuations, as this can cause stress and damage to the lifesaver plant.

If you are growing your lifesaver plant outdoors, it can thrive in USDA zones 9 to 11, which are regions with milder climates. These zones generally have average minimum temperatures ranging from 20 to 40 °F. If you live in a colder climate, it's best to keep the lifesaver plant indoors or provide it with protection during the colder months.

In terms of humidity, the lifesaver plant is adaptable and can tolerate a range of humidity levels. However, it generally prefers lower-humidity environments similar to its native habitat. Aim for a humidity level of around 40 to 50%, which is considered average indoor humidity. If the air in your home is particularly dry, you can increase humidity by using a humidifier or placing a tray filled with water near the plant.

Remember, providing the lifesaver plant with the right temperature and humidity conditions and appropriate hardiness zone considerations will help ensure its health and vitality.

Propagating Lifesaver Plant

Propagating this unique lifesaver plant Huernia zebrina can be done through various methods, including stem cuttings and seed propagation. For stem cuttings, you can take a healthy stem from the plant and allow it to dry out for a few days to form a callus. Then, you can plant the stem in well-drained soil and provide it with indirect sunlight and minimal watering. Over time, new roots will develop, and a new plant will begin to grow. Seed propagation is another option, where you can collect the seeds from mature flowers and sow them in a well-draining soil mix. With patience and proper care, you can successfully propagate the lifesaver plant and expand your collection of these fascinating succulents.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the lifesaver plant Huernia zebrina is a captivating succulent that never fails to grab attention with its unique star-shaped flowers. These blooms, with their striking dark green or brownish stripes resembling a zebra pattern, add a touch of whimsy to any garden or indoor space. Taking care of the lifesaver plant is relatively easy, as it thrives in bright, indirect sunlight and well-draining soil. Whether you choose to propagate it through stem cuttings or seeds, with a little patience and proper care, you can expand your collection of these fascinating succulents.

Bloom Season Spring, Summer
Botanical Name Huernia zebrina
Common Name Lifesaver cactus, lifesaver plant, owl eyes plant, lifebuoy Huernia, carrion flower, zebra-striped Huernia
Dormancy Winter
Family Apocynaceae
Flower Color Dark red, maroon markings
Genus Huernia
Growth Habit Creeping
Growth Rate Slow
Hardiness Zone 9, 10, 11
Mature Size 8 in. tall, 6 in. wide
Native Area South Africa
Plant Type Succulent, Cactus
Propagation By cuttings, seeds
Resistance Drought tolerant, pest resistance, heat tolerant, deer resistance
Soil PH 6.5, Acidic, Neutral
Soil Type specialized potting mix
Special Features Easy to maintain
Sun Exposure Full sun, Partial shade
Toxicity Safe for humans, friendly to dogs, friendly to cats
Watering Needs Low

Common Pest & Problems of Lifesaver Plant

The Huernia zebrina lifesaver plant is generally a pest-resistant plant. However, it can be susceptible to a few common problems, including:  

Mealybugs: These small, white, cottony pests can infest the Huernia zebrina, especially in warm and humid conditions. Keep an eye out for them on the stems and leaves. 

Scale insects: These tiny, oval-shaped pests can attach themselves to the lifesaver plant and feed on its sap. They usually appear as small bumps on the stems or leaves. 

Root rot: Overwatering or poorly draining soil can lead to root rot, which can cause the roots to become mushy and black. It's important to ensure the plant's soil dries out between waterings. 

Sunburn: The lifesaver succulent prefers bright, indirect light, but direct sunlight can cause sunburn, leading to brown or yellow spots on the leaves. 

Overwatering: Too much water can cause root rot and other issues. It's important to allow the soil to dry out between waterings and avoid standing water in the pot. 

Underwatering: While the lifesaver plant is drought-tolerant, it still requires regular watering. Underwatering can cause the leaves to shrivel and become discolored. 

Remember, by monitoring your lifesaver plant closely and taking appropriate action if you notice any pests or problems, you can help keep your Huernia zebrina healthy and thriving. 

FAQS - Lifesaver Plant

How do you care for a lifesaver plant? 

To take care of a lifesaver plant, you'll want to provide it with bright, indirect sunlight and well-draining soil. Water your Huernia zebrina sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot.  

The lifesaver plant prefers warmer temperatures, ideally between 70-80°F. During the growing season, you can fertilize it with a balanced succulent fertilizer once a year. Pruning is not necessary, but you can remove any dead or yellowing leaves to keep the plant looking neat. With these simple care tips, your lifesaver plant will thrive and bring joy to your space!  

How much water does a lifesaver cactus need? 

The lifesaver cactus doesn't require frequent watering. It's best to water your succulent plant sparingly and allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can harm your Huernia zebrina. So, it's crucial to wait for the soil to dry completely before applying more water. 

Remember, it's always better to underwater than to overwater when it comes to cacti like the lifesaver plant!  

Why is my lifesaver cactus turning brown? 

Your lifesaver cactus may be turning brown as a result of overwatering or poor drainage. Cacti, including the lifesaver plant, are prone to root rot if they're sitting in soggy soil for too long. Make sure you're allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings and that the pot has proper drainage holes.  

Additionally, check if the cactus is receiving too much direct sunlight, as excessive exposure to intense sunlight can cause sunburn and result in browning. Adjusting the watering and sunlight conditions should help your lifesaver cactus regain its healthy green color.  

How do I get my huernia zebrina to bloom? 

To encourage your Huernia zebrina lifesaver plant to bloom, you can try a few things. First, make sure it's getting enough sunlight. Huernia zebrina prefers bright, indirect light, so placing it near a sunny window should do the trick. Next, ensure that you're not overwatering it. If you want to avoid root rot, let the soil dry out in between waterings.  

Finally, give it a little extra care during the winter dormant period. By reducing watering and providing warm temperatures between 60-80 F, you can simulate the plant's natural conditions and encourage blooming. With a little patience and the right care, you'll hopefully see those beautiful star-shaped flowers in no time!  

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Lifesaver Cactus - Huernia zebrina

sku: 2589

Regular price$ 16.49
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Please note: All Landscape Ready plants that are in a 6-inch pot or larger WILL NOT come with a pot as it will be shipped bare root.

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Please note: Our large plants are many years old, and as a result, they might have minor scaring but will arrive 100% healthy and looking great.

Please note: Our large plants are shipped bare root. They are also many years old, and as a result, they might have minor scaring but will arrive healthy and looking great.

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Detailed description of this plant is below...

If you live in a cold climate and are expecting temperatures below 40 degrees within the next five days after placing your order, we highly recommend adding a heat pack to your order. If you do not order a heat pack, we do not send one with your order.

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To prevent plants from freezing while in transit, orders placed for areas with extreme severe freezing temperatures will be held for shipment until it is safe to ship.

FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER $89 in the
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Plants that are in 3.5" pots and smaller will be shipped in its pot to prevent any damage to the roots.

Any plant that is 6" and larger WILL NOT come with a pot as it will be shipped bare root.

Depending on the species and season, you will receive a very similar plant to the one in the picture. It may or may not be blooming at the time of your purchase.

We ship via USPS Priority Mail, If you don't get Free Shipping, then we calculate the shipping cost based on the weight and volume of your purchase.

Care instructions are included in every package you order. Please allow us up to 3 business days to process your order. Depending on your location, we will ship the plants on a certain day to avoid transit time during weekends or holidays. If you wish to receive your order on a specific date, or have special instructions, please add a note on your order. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at any time.

  • Description
  • Key Plant Features

Introducing the lifesaver cactus, also known as Huernia zebrina. Although it is referred to as the lifesaver cactus, the vibrant, circular flowers have a central opening that looks like the hole in a lifesaver candy, hence the name. This lifesaver cactus has many other names, such as owl eyes plant, lifebuoy Huernia, carrion flower, and zebra-striped Huernia.

Native to South Africa, Huernia zebrina has thick, fleshy stems that grow in a creeping manner. Your stunning lifesaver can grow up to 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide. These stems are covered in unique, dark green, triangular-shaped markings that resemble the pattern of a zebra. Hence, the plant gets its common name, "zebrina."

The flowers of the lifesaver cactus are truly captivating during the spring and summer. The center of these star-shaped flowers is adorned with raised, dark red or maroon markings that resemble the shape of a lifesaver candy, hence the nickname. The intricate design adds to the allure of the plant, making it a stunning addition to any succulent collection or garden. The lifesaver cactus flowers are not only visually striking but also emit an unpleasant aroma that attracts pollinators, such as flies. The odor is frequently compared to carrion, the decaying flesh of dead animals, which is why the flower is also known as a carrion flower.

Additionally, Huernia zebrina has no reported toxic effects, making it safe to use around pets and humans.

Watering Needs

Like other succulents, the Huernia zebrina lifesaver plant has specific watering requirements that are different from those of regular houseplants. Succulents, including the lifesaver plant, are adapted to survive in arid conditions and store water in their leaves, stems, or roots.

When it comes to watering the lifesaver plant, it's important to follow a "soak and dry" method. This means that you should thoroughly water the plant until the water drains out from the bottom of the pot, and then allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. It's important not to keep the soil wet all the time because this can cause root rot and other problems.

Watering frequency is determined by several factors, including temperature, humidity, and pot size. As a general guideline, it's recommended to water the lifesaver cactus every 2-3 weeks during the growing season, which is typically spring and summer. In winter, when your Huernia zebrina is in a dormant state, you can reduce the frequency and water it sparingly.

Remember, it's always better to underwater than to overwater the lifesaver plant. If in doubt, it's best to err on the side of caution and let the soil dry out before watering again. Observing your lifesaver and checking the moisture level of the soil using your finger can also help you determine when it's time to water.

Light Requirements

This unique lifesaver succulent prefers bright, full sunlight to partial shade for optimal growth and health. In its natural habitat, the lifesaver plant thrives in semi-arid regions where it receives plenty of sunlight. When it comes to caring for your Huernia zebrina indoors, it's important to mimic its natural lighting conditions as closely as possible. Place your lifesaver plant in a location where it can receive bright, indirect sunlight for several hours a day. A south-facing window is often an excellent choice, as it provides ample light without exposing the plant to direct sunlight, which can cause sunburn.

If you don't have a south-facing window, don't worry! The lifesaver cactus can adapt to slightly lower light conditions but may grow more slowly. You can supplement its light requirements by using artificial grow lights, which can provide the necessary intensity and spectrum of light for your succulent growth.

It's important to note that while the lifesaver plant enjoys bright light, it's best to avoid placing it in direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and cause damage to your Huernia zebrina. If you notice that the leaves are turning yellow or brown, it may be a sign that the succulent is receiving too much direct sunlight.

Optimal Soil & Fertilizer Needs

When it comes to the optimal soil for your Huernia zebrina, this unique succulent thrives in well-draining soil that mimics its natural habitat. For the lifesaver plant, it's best to use a well-draining cactus or succulent potting mix. These types of soil blends are specifically formulated to provide the right balance of moisture retention and drainage. To improve drainage, you can make your own mix by combining regular potting soil with perlite or coarse sand. Instead, make or buy a well-draining potting mix, or ideally, use our specialized potting mix that contains 5 natural substrates and mycorrhizae to promote the development of a strong root system that helps your lifesaver cactus thrive.

When it comes to fertilizing, the lifesaver plant doesn't require heavy feeding. In fact, it's generally recommended to use a diluted, balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for cacti and succulents. During the growing season, which is typically spring, you can fertilize your lifesaver plant once a year with an equal amount of NPK (5-10-5).

 

Remember, it's important not to over-fertilize the lifesaver plant, as this can lead to nutrient burn and other issues. Always err on the side of caution and use a weaker concentration than what is recommended, as succulents are adapted to survive in nutrient-poor environments.

Hardiness Zone & More

When it comes to temperature, the lifesaver plant prefers a warm environment. It thrives indoors in temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It's important to avoid exposing the plant to extreme temperature fluctuations, as this can cause stress and damage to the lifesaver plant.

If you are growing your lifesaver plant outdoors, it can thrive in USDA zones 9 to 11, which are regions with milder climates. These zones generally have average minimum temperatures ranging from 20 to 40 °F. If you live in a colder climate, it's best to keep the lifesaver plant indoors or provide it with protection during the colder months.

In terms of humidity, the lifesaver plant is adaptable and can tolerate a range of humidity levels. However, it generally prefers lower-humidity environments similar to its native habitat. Aim for a humidity level of around 40 to 50%, which is considered average indoor humidity. If the air in your home is particularly dry, you can increase humidity by using a humidifier or placing a tray filled with water near the plant.

Remember, providing the lifesaver plant with the right temperature and humidity conditions and appropriate hardiness zone considerations will help ensure its health and vitality.

Propagating Lifesaver Plant

Propagating this unique lifesaver plant Huernia zebrina can be done through various methods, including stem cuttings and seed propagation. For stem cuttings, you can take a healthy stem from the plant and allow it to dry out for a few days to form a callus. Then, you can plant the stem in well-drained soil and provide it with indirect sunlight and minimal watering. Over time, new roots will develop, and a new plant will begin to grow. Seed propagation is another option, where you can collect the seeds from mature flowers and sow them in a well-draining soil mix. With patience and proper care, you can successfully propagate the lifesaver plant and expand your collection of these fascinating succulents.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the lifesaver plant Huernia zebrina is a captivating succulent that never fails to grab attention with its unique star-shaped flowers. These blooms, with their striking dark green or brownish stripes resembling a zebra pattern, add a touch of whimsy to any garden or indoor space. Taking care of the lifesaver plant is relatively easy, as it thrives in bright, indirect sunlight and well-draining soil. Whether you choose to propagate it through stem cuttings or seeds, with a little patience and proper care, you can expand your collection of these fascinating succulents.

Bloom Season Spring, Summer
Botanical Name Huernia zebrina
Common Name Lifesaver cactus, lifesaver plant, owl eyes plant, lifebuoy Huernia, carrion flower, zebra-striped Huernia
Dormancy Winter
Family Apocynaceae
Flower Color Dark red, maroon markings
Genus Huernia
Growth Habit Creeping
Growth Rate Slow
Hardiness Zone 9, 10, 11
Mature Size 8 in. tall, 6 in. wide
Native Area South Africa
Plant Type Succulent, Cactus
Propagation By cuttings, seeds
Resistance Drought tolerant, pest resistance, heat tolerant, deer resistance
Soil PH 6.5, Acidic, Neutral
Soil Type specialized potting mix
Special Features Easy to maintain
Sun Exposure Full sun, Partial shade
Toxicity Safe for humans, friendly to dogs, friendly to cats
Watering Needs Low

Common Pest & Problems of Lifesaver Plant

The Huernia zebrina lifesaver plant is generally a pest-resistant plant. However, it can be susceptible to a few common problems, including:  

Mealybugs: These small, white, cottony pests can infest the Huernia zebrina, especially in warm and humid conditions. Keep an eye out for them on the stems and leaves. 

Scale insects: These tiny, oval-shaped pests can attach themselves to the lifesaver plant and feed on its sap. They usually appear as small bumps on the stems or leaves. 

Root rot: Overwatering or poorly draining soil can lead to root rot, which can cause the roots to become mushy and black. It's important to ensure the plant's soil dries out between waterings. 

Sunburn: The lifesaver succulent prefers bright, indirect light, but direct sunlight can cause sunburn, leading to brown or yellow spots on the leaves. 

Overwatering: Too much water can cause root rot and other issues. It's important to allow the soil to dry out between waterings and avoid standing water in the pot. 

Underwatering: While the lifesaver plant is drought-tolerant, it still requires regular watering. Underwatering can cause the leaves to shrivel and become discolored. 

Remember, by monitoring your lifesaver plant closely and taking appropriate action if you notice any pests or problems, you can help keep your Huernia zebrina healthy and thriving. 

FAQS - Lifesaver Plant

How do you care for a lifesaver plant? 

To take care of a lifesaver plant, you'll want to provide it with bright, indirect sunlight and well-draining soil. Water your Huernia zebrina sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot.  

The lifesaver plant prefers warmer temperatures, ideally between 70-80°F. During the growing season, you can fertilize it with a balanced succulent fertilizer once a year. Pruning is not necessary, but you can remove any dead or yellowing leaves to keep the plant looking neat. With these simple care tips, your lifesaver plant will thrive and bring joy to your space!  

How much water does a lifesaver cactus need? 

The lifesaver cactus doesn't require frequent watering. It's best to water your succulent plant sparingly and allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can harm your Huernia zebrina. So, it's crucial to wait for the soil to dry completely before applying more water. 

Remember, it's always better to underwater than to overwater when it comes to cacti like the lifesaver plant!  

Why is my lifesaver cactus turning brown? 

Your lifesaver cactus may be turning brown as a result of overwatering or poor drainage. Cacti, including the lifesaver plant, are prone to root rot if they're sitting in soggy soil for too long. Make sure you're allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings and that the pot has proper drainage holes.  

Additionally, check if the cactus is receiving too much direct sunlight, as excessive exposure to intense sunlight can cause sunburn and result in browning. Adjusting the watering and sunlight conditions should help your lifesaver cactus regain its healthy green color.  

How do I get my huernia zebrina to bloom? 

To encourage your Huernia zebrina lifesaver plant to bloom, you can try a few things. First, make sure it's getting enough sunlight. Huernia zebrina prefers bright, indirect light, so placing it near a sunny window should do the trick. Next, ensure that you're not overwatering it. If you want to avoid root rot, let the soil dry out in between waterings.  

Finally, give it a little extra care during the winter dormant period. By reducing watering and providing warm temperatures between 60-80 F, you can simulate the plant's natural conditions and encourage blooming. With a little patience and the right care, you'll hopefully see those beautiful star-shaped flowers in no time!  

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