Candlestick flower: plant and care

Candlestick flower: plant and care


Both the plant genus Ceropegia and the species Ceropegia linearis subsp. woodii. It is a popular ornamental plant and is also sold under the name Ceropegia woodii. Candlestick flowers belong to the dog poison family. The natural range of the subspecies cultivated as an ornamental plant is limited to the subtropical regions of South Africa. Other subspecies of Ceropegia linearis are also found in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi to Kenya in the north of the continent.

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Ceropegia woodii has fleshy, thickened leaves that serve as water reservoirs. These succulent leaves are divided into a lanceolate to heart-shaped leaf blade and a three to ten millimeter long petiole. The leaves can be more or less round. The blade is pointed at the end and colored dark green on the upper side. The underside of the leaf appears light green and often has a reddish tinge. The small leaves sit opposite on the shoot and have a high ornamental value due to their silvery-white grain.


The candlestick flower owes its name to the strikingly shaped flowers. These are hermaphroditic and have an axis of symmetry. Each flower reaches a length between two and 2.5 centimeters. Their petals are fused together and form a crown basin that merges with a visible constriction into the crown tube. The crown cup is spherical to oval in shape and about four millimeters wide. The corolla tube has a diameter of two millimeters.

Flower color

While the crown basin is greenish-white to whitish-violet in color with a dark violet veining, the crown tube appears light violet or violet striped. It is often whitish dotted or net-like structure at the upper end. Their light green to purple-colored corolla lobes curve inwards. They are fused together at the top like an umbrella.

Flower ecology

The flower anatomy is reminiscent of small lampshades. With this flower shape, chandelier flowers have a special purpose. They give off a smell that attracts small flies. These get lost in the corolla tube, in which they are caught by the small hairs. The flies pollinate the first mature female flower organs with their brought packets of pollen. The male organs then mature and produce new pollen, which the flies ingest through their movements in the flower. The hairs in the throat relax so that the flies can escape again.


Ceropegia woodii develops tubers that are spherically thickened and have a rough surface. With increasing age, the rhizome becomes stronger and stronger. Winding, creeping or hanging shoot axes that can reach a length of 100 centimeters drive from them. They are very thin with a diameter of between one and two millimeters. Older specimens form small white nodules in the leaf axils, which are used for vegetative reproduction.


Chandelier flowers are ideal hanging plants. The green curtain of shoots and leaves is an interesting eye-catcher in hanging pots. But tall vessels such as vases, old copper jugs or zinc tubs are also perfect for creating green plant arrangements with the chandelier flower. The shoots of the succulent plant can be shaped as desired. You can let the plant grow in a heart shape or as a trellis. Use flexible wires to guide the rung in the right direction.

Is candlestick flower poisonous?

There is no known information about possible toxic ingredients. The chandelier flower has a transparent to whitish milky sap in the tuber and parts of the plant, which is considered harmless. As a precaution, sensitive people should take care of them while wearing gloves to prevent possible skin reactions. Eating the plant is also unknown to animals.

Many dog ​​poison plants, including the candlestick flower, are poisonous and should not be grown within the reach of children and pets. If you decide for this plant, it should be placed in inaccessible places as a precaution. Note that the shoots can get very long. The drooping shoot axes harbor a potential danger for cats who can get caught in them while playing and tear down the bucket.

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Which location is suitable?

Give the chandelier flower a bright location where there is a normal room temperature. Avoid places that are in the blazing sun. The succulent plants react sensitively to direct sunlight, especially around noon. The flower development is supported if the plant gets some sun in the morning and evening hours. Chandelier flowers do not require any special humidity. They do well even in dry air. In summer, the plant expresses its thanks with an outdoor location.

What soil does the plant need?

Ceropegia woodii prefers a nutrient-poor and well-drained substrate. For greater permeability, you can mix 60 percent soil with 40 percent loose mineral material. For this purpose, beads made of expanded clay, (€ 17.50 at Amazon *) sand and perlite, pumice gravel or lava granulate are suitable. (€ 10.95 at Amazon *) These mineral admixtures ensure better air circulation, as they increase the crumb structure of the substrate. They also store nutrients and moisture, which they gradually release to the substrate.

This substrate is suitable for cultivation:

  • Cactus soil
  • Potted plant soil
  • Pricking earth

Propagate candlestick flower

The easiest way to multiply candlestick flowers is through their nodules, which arise in the leaf axils. This propagation variant is possible during the main growth phase from spring to autumn. Pick off the nodules and sprinkle them on a suitable substrate. Cover the nodules with a layer of quartz sand to prevent rot. Place the pot in a shady place where the temperature ranges between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. Make sure the soil moisture is constant.

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When your plant has developed fruits, you can use the seeds in them for propagation. Fill a plastic pot with a suitable growing substrate (9.05 € at Amazon *) which you loosen up with mineral admixtures. Spread the seeds evenly on the soil and lightly cover larger seeds with substrate. Small seeds can be exposed.

Put a transparent plastic bag or foil over the pot to keep the humidity constant. To prevent mold growth, you should consider daily ventilation. On this occasion, put some fresh water on the substrate.

In this location the seeds germinate:

  • partially shaded on the windowsill or in the mini greenhouse
  • Temperatures between 23 and 28 degrees Celsius during the day
  • 20 to 22 degrees Celsius are ideal at night


Cut shoots between eight and ten centimeters in length from the plant and let the interfaces air dry for a few days. Remove the lowest leaves and put the shoots in a sandy substrate.

The cuttings feel comfortable in slightly damp soil. Water sparingly and allow the top layer to dry off between watering units. The location should be bright and ensure temperatures between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius. The first roots have developed after seven to eight weeks.

Candlestick flower in a pot

Choose a bucket that offers enough space for the roots. Candlestick flowers do better in shallow pots than in deep pots. When choosing, you should make sure that the pot offers enough space for drainage. It should have a drainage hole so that the water can drain away. Cover the bottom with potsherds and then fill the container with substrate.

Ceropegia woodii develops fine roots on which numerous nodules are formed. These thickenings not only serve to store water and nutrients, but also take on photosynthetic functions. The roots need some light for energy conversion. Cover the roots only lightly with a sandy layer that should not be more than one centimeter thick.


During the summer months you can place the chandelier flower on the balcony or terrace without hesitation. A place in partial shade is ideal because the leaves are sensitive to direct sunlight.

Water the candlestick flower

Chandelier flowers are specialists when it comes to water supply. They store moisture in their thickened parts of the plant and use these reserves in dry periods. You only need to water your candlestick flower moderately. Let the soil dry between the watering units. The plant does not tolerate waterlogging. Pour out the excess water in the coaster after five minutes at the latest.

Watering candlestick flower in winter

Reduce watering to a minimum during the resting phase so that the root ball cannot dry out. Orientate yourself on the room temperature of the winter quarters. The cooler it is, the less often you need to water the plant. Rainwater is suitable for watering. Candlestick flowers are satisfied with tap water, as long as it is not too hard.

Fertilize candlestick flower properly

Fertilize the plant sparingly as its nutritional needs are low. Mature and healthy plants are fertilized every four weeks between spring and autumn. Cactus fertilizer is a good supplier of nutrients, which is administered in low concentration with the irrigation water. When the candlestick goes to sleep in winter, you don't need to continue fertilizing the plant.

Cut the candlestick flower correctly

Candlestick flowers can be cut all year round if the shoots get too long. Larger prunings should be carried out in spring so that the plant can regenerate quickly afterwards. Heavy pruning will result in the plant developing numerous new shoots. The brood tubers are stimulated to sprout.

How do I transplant properly?

As soon as the roots have spread throughout the pot, you should transplant the candlestick flower. Young plants need a few years before the space becomes too tight. You can repot older plants annually. The best time for this measure is spring, shortly before the end of winter dormancy.


From November the chandelier flower goes into hibernation, which lasts until February. The succulent plant likes to spend the winter in a cooler place in the house. Place the bucket in an unheated stairwell or in a rarely used room. The temperatures should be between 12 and 18 degrees Celsius. If the thermometer drops below eight degrees Celsius, the candlestick can be damaged.

The cold spell is important for the plant to flower in the following spring. During this time you should reduce the maintenance measures to a minimum.


Candlestick flowers are robust plants that are hardly weakened by diseases. Frequent damage can be traced back to incorrect maintenance. Waterlogging is the plant's greatest enemy because it leads to root rot. If this factor is not recognized quickly enough, the plant can die.

Fungal attack

If the leaves suddenly wilt or turn a pale green color, an attack by fungi of the genus Phytophthora may be the cause. These mushrooms are considered to be aggressive occasional parasites. Once they have established themselves on a host plant, it usually does not survive the infection. You should remove the infected plant to prevent the fungus from spreading to other plants in the area.

Phytophthora colonizes putrid parts of plants. The fungi are often involved in root rot and also accelerate the rotting process. As a preventive measure, you should ensure that no waterlogging forms in the substrate. Over-fertilization also favors the living conditions of the fungal spores.


Candlestick flowers are attacked by pests that feed on the sap of the plants. If the infestation is not treated in good time, the growth will be increasingly weakened.


The pests leave a sticky film on the leaves. This honeydew offers soot dew fungi optimal growth conditions. These mushrooms look unsightly but do not cause any further damage to the plant. Aphids prefer to multiply in dry summer months. Healthy plants are less susceptible to the pests. If your plant is infected, you can remove the aphids with a sharp jet of water. Neem supplements are helpful in case of a larger pest infestation.

Mealybugs and mealybugs

These pests appear occasionally and leave behind white webs that are reminiscent of cotton balls. They suck out the sap and inject the plant with toxic substances that affect its growth. Affected leaves turn yellow and curl up until they finally fall off. Plants weakened by incorrect care are particularly susceptible to pest infestation. Put affected plants in a light and cool place and spray the plant parts with an antidote.

Control agents against mealybugs and mealybugs:

  • 15 ml of alcohol
  • 1 liter of water
  • 15 ml curd soap, dissolved curd soap or paraffin oil


Chandelier flowers are often sold in normal peat or potting soil into which a few styrofoam beads have been mixed. Replace the substrate at home with a more suitable soil, because this will support healthy and vigorous growth.


  • Variegata : leaves striped with silvery-white stripes with a pink margin, vigorous. Drooping shoots, up to 51 centimeters high.
  • Ceropegia sandersonii: Candlestick flower with climbing shoots. Flower up to seven centimeters tall, light green with white stripes and dark green speckles. Rungs up to two meters long.