How to Grow Dorstenia - Planting & Caring

By Sharon & Team   /   Grassy Category   /   2023

Dorstenia, a genus in the family Moraceae, is a small group of ornamental plants native to tropical and subtropical regions. The most common species in cultivation is Dorstenia contrajerva, which is native to Africa and Asia. These plants are grown for their showy flowers and interesting leaf shapes. Dorstenia are typically propagated by rooting stem cuttings.

How to Grow Dorstenia - Planting & Caring

Growing Easiness

Is it easy to grow Dorstenia plant? So, if you're looking for an easy-care plant, Dorstenia is a good choice.

Plant Size

How big can it be? Sometimes, the Dorstenia plant can grow up to 30-40 cm in height. The inner barrel usually has a 15 cm diameter. This plant is usually found in tropical Africa, Arabia, and India.

Growth Rate

How fast is the growth? Because Dorstenia is a plant that can grow quite tall, up to 20-25 cm per year, it's important to keep an eye on its height. If the plant gets too tall, it may need to be staked or supported so that it doesn't fall over.

Dorstenia Basic Knowledge

Plant Form Grassy
Family Moraceae
Origin Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman

Lifespan, Perennial or Annuals

How long is the lifespan? The Dorstenia genus contains about 60 species of perennial herbs, shrubs, and small trees in the family Moraceae. They are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Dorstenia species are characterized by their unique flowers, which lack petals and sepals and are borne on leafy inflorescences. The flowers are pollinated by insects that are attracted to their unusual appearance and scent.

Ideal Temperature

What is the ideal temperature? Although the Dorstenia plant is thermophilic, it cannot tolerate low temperatures. The optimal temperature range for the Dorstenia plant is between 73.4 and 87.8 degrees Fahrenheit in summer, and no lower than 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.


What about the humidity? Since the Dorstenia is a plant that originates from tropical Africa, it needs high humidity to grow properly. The ideal humidity level for this plant is 30-40% during its growth period. However, during its period of rest, the Dorstenia plant only needs 20% humidity, though it is better to put the plant away from radiators if you have them turned on.

Light Requirement

What amount of light this plant needed? The Dorstenia plant prefers a bright place with at least 7-8 hours of scattered light daily. Young plants need more shading.

Soil Composition

What is good soil for Dorstenia? When planting, the soil should be light and easy to flow. The soil should not be too fertile, with a pH between weakly acid (6.0 – 6.5) or neutral to slightly alkaline (above 7.0). For example, a mix of 1 part sod land, 1 part peat, 1 part leaf land, and 1 part sand. In the soil, you can also add crushed limestone or granite, gravel, and pumice for good drainage.

Watering Time

How much I must water Dorstenia? While the Dorstenia plant needs regular watering in the summer, about every 7 to 10 days, you should only water it about once every three weeks in the winter. The water you use should be soft and warm. Also, the soil should be allowed to dry slightly between waterings.

Fertilizing and Nutritient

About fertilizer. If you grow dorstenia in a pot, for a season it is enough to make fertilizer once in a half dose. This is a tropical plant, so it is necessary to maintain a high level of humidity. Dorstenia loves a warm climate, so in winter it is better to move the pot to a warm room or greenhouse.


How to reproduce Dorstenia? Common Dorstenia plants reproduce by stem stems, which can be obtained from shoots of 2 to 3-year-old trees. The stem cutting process begins with cleaning the would-be cutting with tap water and liquid detergent, followed by a washing with distilled water. These cuttings usually take root no more than 3 weeks. Plants grown from such cuttings will bloom and bear fruit after 5 to 7 years. Dorstenia plants can also multiply at seeds at 77 ° F. When the first leaf appears, the seedlings are dived and transplanted into 7-cm pots. However, seeds do not germinate very well.


Why Dorstenia won't bloom? The blooms are a strange greyish-greenish color and have a "horned" appearance in the form of a shield. Each bloom consists of several small flowers.

Transfer or Repotting

How much I must water Dorstenia? Although it is possible to transplant Dorstenia at any time of the year, it is best to do this in February-March. Young plants are transplanted annually, increasing the diameter of the pot by 4-5 cm. In adult plants, if the pot diameter exceeds 30 cm, you can replace the top 3 cm of soil. This will help the plant to develop new roots. When transplanting, you can add organic fertilizer to the soil mixture.

Caring The Dorstenia

How to care the plant? The reason for the leaf loss could be any of the following: too much sun, waterlogging or drought, pests or diseases. If the plant is in a pot, make sure to check the drainage holes are not blocked. If the plant is in the ground, make sure the soil is not too compacted.

Pests & Challenges

What is the challenge when caring Dorstenia plant? Since it is not very popular, there is not much information about it. What is known is that it is quite rare that this plant is affected by sucking insects. If the plant goes into a period of rest, it is normal for the leaves to fall off. If this happens outside of the resting period, then it is most likely due to insufficient irrigation or too much moisture which leads to the decay of the roots.

Toxic & Poisonous Type

Are Dorstenia poisonous? The smell is due to the latex in the plant. When the trunk is damaged, the latex oozes out and smells like vinegar. The smell is an indication that the plant is poisonous. The latex is also poisonous if ingested.