Cyphostemma juttae (Dinter & Gilg) Desc.
Bastard Cobas, Droog-my-keel, Namibian Grape, Succulent Grape, Tree Grape, Wild Grape
Cyphostemma juttae is an ornamental succulent that develops a beautiful gnarly caudex with thick, fleshy branches that bear large gray-green leaves. The caudex can reach up to 6 feet (1.8 m) in height and 3.3 feet (1 m) in diameter but is usually much smaller in cultivation. The plant develops peeling bark on the caudex and branches. During the winter months, it sheds its leaves. The new leaves emerge in late spring at the tips of the branches. The leaves are fleshy, egg-shaped, p to 1 foot (30 cm) long, toothed, and curling along the edges.
The abundant flowers produced in the summer are inconspicuous but are followed by showy bunches of green, grape-like berries that turn yellow and then to a beautiful wine-red with time.
Cyphostemma juttae is native to Africa. It occurs in rocky, arid areas from Walvis Bay northwards up to the Kunene River and further east to Windhoek and the Otavi Mountains.
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 with optimal drainage. 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.
- Back to genus Cyphostemma
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
Click on a photo to see a larger version.