Cyphostemma juttae (Dinter & Gilg) Desc.
Wild Grape, Succulent Grape, Tree Grape, Namibian Grape, Droog-my-keel, Bastard Cobas
Cyphostemma juttae is a slow-growing deciduous shrub or small tree that can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall but is usually seen much smaller in cultivation. It has a swollen main stem with papery peeling bark and branches that hold large fleshy gray-green leaves with toothed margins that emerge in late spring at the tips of the branches and fall off during winter. The leaves are ovate-shaped and up to 1 foot (30 cm) long. Flowers are tiny and inconspicuous and held above the foliage. They are followed by showy grape-like bunches of pinkish-red berries towards summer end.
USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 45 °F (+7.2 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Wild Grape is a very sought-after plant for the garden, as are other caudiciform plants such as Baobabs, Adeniums, and Tylecodons. They make superb container or open garden subjects in and around the garden, especially around swimming pools and courtyards. Because this species grows mainly in the summer, plants must be kept dry during the colder winter months. They are ideal accent plants for a rockery or may be planted in a large container on a sunny protected patio.
The Wild Grape fares best in loamy or sandy soil where drainage is optimal. Adding plenty of river sand and general compost will greatly improve drainage in heavy clay soils. Soil quality can also be improved dramatically by lightly working some bone meal into the soil. Although smelly, the effect on soils is quite remarkable. As a rule of thumb, use only organic products, such as those based on seaweed extract, especially if plants are fed regularly. Organic products won't burn or damage plants.
This species is native to southern Africa.
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