Cyphostemma juttae (Dinter & Gilg) Desc.
Wild Grape, Succulent Grape, Tree Grape, Namibian Grape, Droog-my-keel, Bastard Cobas
Cissus juttae (basionym)
Cyphostemma juttae is a slow-growing, deciduous, succulent shrub that can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, but is usually seen much smaller in cultivation. It has heavy, swollen main stems of the type of plants that is often called a caudiciform. These stems have papery, peeling bark and at the branch tips hold large, up to 1 foot (30 cm) long, gray-green, ovate shaped, fleshy leaves with toothed margins that emerge in late spring a red-purple color and fall off during winter. The flowers are held above the foliage but are tiny and inconspicuous and 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 a 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 going to be fed on a regular basis. Organic products won’t burn or damage plants.
Native to southern Africa.
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