Cissus quadrangularis, commonly known as Veld Grape, is an unusual succulent with vining, 4-angled stems with conspicuous constrictions at the nodes. Smaller plants typically produce small segments, up to 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) wide and several inches long, with branching stems growing to several feet. Older, more established plants will eventually produce stem segments of over 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter and about a foot (30 cm) in length. The vines of established plants scramble on the ground and climb vegetation, eventually spreading to at least several yards and possibly over 20 feet (6 m). Tendrils, adventitious roots, and ephemeral leaves are produced at the nodes. Mature plants will produce racemes of tiny yellowish-green flowers, followed by small inedible fruits that ripen to red coloration.
Veld Grape is native to Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka but is also found in Africa, Arabia, and Southeast Asia. Preparations of the stems have been utilized in traditional medicine in India to treat bone fractures and injuries to tendons and ligaments. It has also been used as a treatment for the symptoms of malaria in traditional treatments in Africa.
Growing Conditions and General Care
Veld Grape is a fast-growing and easy-to-grow plant. While most people who grow this plant are drawn to the curious geometric shapes of its stems, established plants make attractive, low-maintenance houseplants. Plants probably show best with their stems cascading from hanging baskets or when trained to grow on a trellis or similar support.
This plant responds very well to basic guidelines on growing succulents. It benefits from being moved outdoors in summer to experience warmer temperatures and increased daylight. Veld Grape will grow remarkably with warm temperatures, bright sunlight, evenly moist soils, and occasional fertilization.
Once it has reached its desired size, it can be maintained by pruning off any unwanted growth. The pruning will encourage the production of numerous side branches, giving this plant a fuller, more lush appearance.
Keep in mind that this plant produces tendrils that help it secure a foothold on the plants and stones it climbs over. If you do not want this plant to become firmly attached to the plants or other objects in its growing space – keep it set apart from them. This plant really needs good light for the best growth.
It is easy to propagate additional plants by rooting cuttings. There is no minimum size for a cutting to root. A stem section with several segments is probably best, but this plant can be propagated from a single segment.
Allow the cuttings several days to about two weeks to heal and callus before planting them in sterilized potting soil. Keep this soil barely moist and position the potted cuttings in a warm site where they receive very bright but diffuse sunlight. When taken, cuttings that are healthy and in growth should root readily. Cuttings taken when the plant is dormant or stressed will take longer, sometimes much longer, to establish roots.
Veld Grape can also be propagated from seeds harvested from the fruits, but flowers and fruits will only be set on established plants.
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