The Hoodia Gordonii Cactus Plant

Here’s another really interesting cactus. The hoodia gordonii is a native slow-growing plant of South Africa which bears large flowers that smell really bad. This is to attract flies which are the pollinators of this type of plant.


The hoodia is not a genuine cactus, although it certainly looks like one. It’s actually a species of succulent which grows wild predominantly in South Africa but has also been found in Namibia and is often referred to as the Queen of the Namib.

They don’t like full-sun, prefering to laze the day away in the shade after enjoying the morning sun. Hoodia gordonii is only a small growing plant usually reaching 30cm (12in) high and covering approx 80cm (30in) wide.

There is a lot of press about this plant because of it’s apparent diet suppression qualities. The hoodia is dried and then marketed as a diet suppressant with very little medical proof yet as to whether it actually works.

Watering Requirements

The Hoodia is a succulent so it doesn’t require a lot of water. However, it hates drying out and requires continual moisture.

Soil Type

Hoodia gordonii cacti prefers a fast-draining soil. It dislikes acidic or clay soils and if you plan to mulch around them use a dry mulch such as pebbles or pea gravel.

Where To Grow Them

This cactus needs to be located in a position that receives only morning sun but is kep in light shade for most of the day. Possibly the best location would be in its own xeriscaped garden amongst other cactus plants.

How To Propagate Hoodia Gordonii

Like most cacti and succulents, branches of the hoodia can be broken off and replanted in a good draining potting mix. It is best to leave the broken branch until the cut has calloused over before planting.

Can They Grow In Pots?

Yes. In fact they grow very well in pots as long as you ensure that the potting medium is also fast-draining and that the pot is located in an area that is kept in the shade. To aid in drainage, fill the bottom of the pot with some pea gravel or broken clay tiles. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Additionally, we participates in various other affiliate programs, and we sometimes get a commission through purchases made through our links.