Gerrardanthus macrorhizus, commonly known as Bigfoot, is a fascinating and popular pot plant native to southern Africa. It is a deciduous caudiciform vine that forms a very large caudex that resembles a granite rock. The caudex grows up to 16 inches (40 cm) in diameter. Leaves are medium-dark green in an ivy-shaped form. Bigfoot is dioecious, having male and female flowers on separate plants. Flowers are small, orchid-like, and golden yellow. If a female flower is fecundated, it is followed by a flask-shaped brownish dry capsule dehiscing at the top.
The name "macrorhizus" comes from Greek, meaning "big root."
Growing Conditions and General Care
Young plants make interesting hanging basket subjects. They are relatively easy to grow and develop a nice caudex rapidly, 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 around 80 ⁰F (25 ⁰C).
With its cucumber heritage, this plant can survive long periods 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 not drain from the pot resulting in rotting of the caudex. It requires excellent drainage. As a substrate, a cactus mix will be suitable.
Light, regular fertilizing will keep your plant healthy and growing strong.
Bigfoot is propagated by seed or cuttings. Both male and female plants are needed to set seed. Seeds do not store well, so sow as soon as possible.
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