Cyphostemma juttae – A caudiciform giant
Freaky! Cyphostemma juttae – the Tree Grape – is a rare, crazy-looking succulent from South Africa and neighboring Namibia. It forms a bizarre canopy of serrated, blue-green leaves that emerge each spring from swollen, tree-like trunks. Each plant takes on a unique shape, with its own “personality”. The plants normally grow to 6 or 7 feet tall, but they can potentially reach 12 feet! This is a great species for fans of funky caudex plants! Cyphostemma juttae is an odd member of the Grape family (Vitaceae). It’s a summer-growing species that sheds its leaves during winter, showing off its attractive caudex and stems. The fat, succulent trunks are lined with a papery, peeling bark. The saw-toothed leaves look truly bizarre, like some sort of carpenter’s tool! The foot-long leaves have a rubbery texture, and are curled upward along the edges, possibly to catch water. Flowers appear in the summer, followed by attractive, grape-like berries. Despite their tasty look, the fruits should not be eaten, since they contain a toxin. This is a slow-growing, long-lived plant. While it will take many years to reach maximum size, it is handsome at any age! Cyphostemma comes from hot, dry areas in southern Africa. It has no problem taking temperatures in the 90s (35°C), although it may need some afternoon shade in hot climates to avoid leaf burn. It can handle winter temperatures in the upper 20s (-2°C), but it’s best to protect it from frost. It is easily grown indoors in a pot. Grow it in fast-draining soil, such as cactus mix. It is drought-tolerant, but it appreciates some water and fertilizer during the summer growing season. Despite coming from areas that are dry in winter, it can adapt to wet-winter areas like coastal California.
A summer grower, this is definitely the season for Cyphostemma juttae, The Tree Grape. Our field stock is leafing out with grapes beginning to appear. Collectors may be attracted to the human-like form of Cyphostemma’s trunk. Each plant has its own unique shape. It’s a great focal plant in the garden — this is a long-lived, slow-growing plant. Very mature specimen can reach 6-7 feet tall.
A native of southern Africa, this plant really takes the heat. Never the less, it’s always good to protect its leafy crown during very hot summer days. Water and feed in summer. Fat Plant collectors grow Cyphostemma juttae indoors. Above all growers must provide excellent soil drainage and observe a resting period.
Common Names: Tree Grape, Wild Grape
Family: Vitaceae (Grapes)
Origin: South Africa and neighboring Namibia
Size Label: Bare root, pot not included.
Mature Size: 6 or 7 feet tall, but they can potentially reach 12 feet!
Height: 4-6 feet
Cold Tolerance: 25-30° F
Heat Tolerance: Very high
Light Requirement: Full sun, partial shade in hot climates.
Water needs: Very drought tolerant. Can take light irrigation.
Maintenance: Although drought-tolerant, it appreciates some water and fertilizer during the summer growing season.
Uses: It’s a great focal plant in the garden — this is a long-lived, slow-growing plant. It is easily grown indoors in a pot. which shows off its uniquely shaped trunk. Collectors may be attracted to the human-like form of Cyphostemma’s trunk. Each plant has its own unique shape.
Planting Instructions: Grow it in fast-draining soil, such as cactus mix.
There is a minimum purchase of any 4 plants for online orders. All plants shipped bare root. Other sizes may be available for pick up from our growing grounds in Fallbrook, CA. For more information, give us a call at 760-990-4762.
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