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Gerrardanthus macrorhizus (Bigfoot)

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Scientific Name

Gerrardanthus macrorhizus Harv. ex Benth. & Hook.f.

Common Names

Bigfoot

Synonyms

Gerrardanthus macrorhiza, Gerrardanthus megarhizus, Gerrardanthus portentosa

Scientific Classification

Family: Cucurbitaceae
Tribe: Zanonieae
Genus: Gerrardanthus

Description

Gerrardanthus macrorhizus is a perennial climber with succulent, pumpkin-like caudex up to 16 inches (40 cm) in diameter. The leaves are up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, up to 4.8 inches (12 cm) wide, smooth, alternate, ivy-shaped, dark-green, shiny and prominently veined. The flowers are small, orchid-like and dark brownish-yellow in color. There are male and female plants.

Photo via agaveville.org

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Young plants make interesting hanging basket subjects. They are relatively easy to grow and develop rapidly a nice caudex, provided that they get abundant water and fertilizer in summer and a pot large enough. It is also good in rock and succulent gardens, especially at the back edge climbing a fence or wall or even a trellis or arbor.

The vine can be placed in direct sunlight, but the caudex should stay in the shade. Place Bigfoot under a shelter to keep it out of the rain and bring it inside when it starts getting too cold.

Bigfoot is one of the hardiest plants you can get. It will survive temperatures between 30 and 95 ⁰F (-2 and 35 ⁰C). Still, it will flourish at a temperature of around 80 ⁰F (25 ⁰C).

This plant with its cucumber heritage can survive long periods of time in drought but can use a bit of extra water in the summer, around once a week. The only danger here is if water can't drain from the pot, which can result in the rotting of the caudex. It requires excellent drainage. As a substrate, the cactus mix will be suitable… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for a Bigfoot (Gerrardanthus macrorhizus)

Origin

Gerrardanthus macrorhizus is native to South Africa (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal) and Swaziland.

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