Stapelia gettliffei is a stem succulent that resembles a cactus; the branches are velvety, spineless, quadrangular in cross-section and determinate, ceasing growth when less than 25 cm tall, may form big clumps up to1 m in a spread. The striking star-shaped flowers have long pedicels and lie face-up on the ground around the plant; the corolla (diameter about 15 cm) is marked in purple lines on a cream-colored background, the disc densely covered with soil purple hairs around the corona, the margins ciliate in white. The peculiar fashion in which the unusually large rudimentary leaves are disposed of, in an erect position close to the angles of the stem, at once distinguish it from all the allied species even when it is out of flower. Although S. gettliffei appears to be the most widely accepted spelling it also frequently appears as either S. gettleffei or S. gettlefii.
Fertilize once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. They need a well-drained potting mix and can withstand extreme heat but avoid direct sun in summer. Best in partial sun or light shade. They need a cool, dry rest period in winter but keep above 10°C and avoid any frost.