Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Lifesaver Plant
Huernia zebrina

Family: Asclepiadaceae (ass-kle-pee-ad-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Huernia (hew-ERN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: zebrina (zeb-REE-nuh) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

46 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Cactus and Succulents

under 6 in. (15 cm)

Unknown - Tell us

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From leaf cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
By grafting

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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to view:

By nancyanne
Thumbnail #1 of Huernia zebrina by nancyanne

By IslandJim
Thumbnail #2 of Huernia zebrina by IslandJim

By PanamonCreel
Thumbnail #3 of Huernia zebrina by PanamonCreel

By PanamonCreel
Thumbnail #4 of Huernia zebrina by PanamonCreel

By spaceman_spiff
Thumbnail #5 of Huernia zebrina by spaceman_spiff

By spaceman_spiff
Thumbnail #6 of Huernia zebrina by spaceman_spiff

By cactus_lover
Thumbnail #7 of Huernia zebrina by cactus_lover

There are a total of 17 photos.
Click here to view them all!


6 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive hawaiigirl1617 On Oct 1, 2014, hawaiigirl1617 from Kapaa, HI wrote:

I have my first bloom. So excited! Noticed several much smaller ones as well. Purchased from hardware store beginning of summer. In a shallow terra cotta pot. Partial shade with a few hours of full sun. Loving it!

Positive Kicoop On May 11, 2013, Kicoop from South Venice, FL wrote:

I am blooming in Venice, Florida!

Positive Ltehouse On Jun 9, 2010, Ltehouse from Albany, GA wrote:

This is an intriguing plant for sure. I have seven 'lifesavers' on my plant today and there is a strange looking, pointed, six inch long what I assume is a seed pod growing out of this plant. It's been there for several weeks and I hope to find out soon what is inside of this 'thing' coming up out of the ground.

Positive tvksi On May 17, 2010, tvksi from Paris, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

Had one for years but was ill one late fall and unable to get my plants in and lost it to the freeze. Otherwise it is a joy and realy undemanding. The first time it bloomed I was tickled pink! Had never seen anything like it before!

Positive debbiesc On Nov 5, 2008, debbiesc from Columbia, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I bought my Lifesaver two years ago at a garden club plant sale and this year it surprised me and bloomed. One of the coolest flowers I have. My plant is planted in a small terracotta plant and stays on my front porch on the southeast side during Spring and Summer, and inside in a south-west exposure during the 3 - 4 months of Winter. I water it when it gets dry, but other than that, it takes minimal care.

Neutral cactus_lover On Sep 27, 2005, cactus_lover from FSD
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

The name refers to the zebra-like stripes on the flowers.
The five striped lobes surround a thick purple central ring.
The whole flower being about 4cm(1.6in) across.

Positive spaceman_spiff On Aug 13, 2005, spaceman_spiff from Saint Petersburg, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

A friend just gave me a specimen of this plant, and I just love it! She knew it only as "Lifesaver plant," based on the center part of the bloom resembling a piece of Lifesaver candy, and I was able to find the Latin name by searching under "Lifesaver" on this site. A very unique bloom, and an easy-to-grow plant. My friend had several pots just sitting out under one of her trees. I've just uploaded a couple of photos.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Prattville, Alabama
Chandler, Arizona
Clayton, California
Martinez, California
Winchester, California
Deland, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Parrish, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Saint Augustine, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Valrico, Florida
Albany, Georgia
Kapaa, Hawaii
Benson, North Carolina
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Columbia, South Carolina
Broaddus, Texas
Dickinson, Texas
Freeport, Texas
Granbury, Texas
League City, Texas
Paris, Texas
Spring, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas

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