Cissus quadrangularis, commonly know as Veld Grape, is an unusual succulent with vining, 4 angled stems with conspicuous constrictions at the nodes. Smaller plants typically produce smallish segments up to 0.5 inch (1.2 cm) wide and several inches long, with branching stems growing to several feet in length. Older, more established plants will eventually produce stem segments to over 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter and to about a foot (30 cm) in length. The vines of established plants scramble on the ground and climb vegetation, and will eventually spread to at least several yards, and possibly to over 20 feet (6 m). Tendrils, adventitious roots, and ephemeral leaves are produced at the nodes. Mature plants will produce racemes of very small yellowish green flowers, followed by small inedible fruits which ripen to a red coloration.
Veld Grape is native to Bangladesh, India or Sri Lanka, but is also found in Africa, Arabia and southeast Asia. Preparations of the stems have been utilized in traditional medicine in India for the treatment of bone fractures, and injuries to tendons and ligaments. It has also been utilized as a treatment for the symptoms of malaria in traditional treatments in Africa.
Growing Conditions and General Care
Veld Grape is fast growing and easy to grow. While most people who grow this plant are drawn to the curious geometric shapes of its stems, established plants make attractive, low maintenance house plants. Plants probably show best with their stems cascading from a 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. Given warm temperatures, bright sunlight, evenly moist soils and occasional fertilization, Veld Grape will produce remarkable growth.
Once it has reached its desired size, Veld Grape can be maintained by pruning off any unwanted growth. Pruning will encourage the production of numerous side branches which will give this plant a fuller, more lush appearance.
Keep in mind that this plant produces tendrils which helps this plant to secure a foothold onto the plants and stones which it climbs over. If you do not want this plant to be come 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 best growth.
It is easy to propagate additional plants by rooting cuttings. There is really no minimum size for a cutting to root. A section of stem with several segments is probably best, but this plant can be propagated from a single small segment.
Allow the cuttings several days to about 2 weeks to heal and callus before planting in a 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. Cuttings which are healthy and in growth when they were taken should root readily. Cuttings taken when the plant was dormant or stressed will take longer, sometimes much longer to establish roots.
Veld Grape can also be propagated from seed harvested from the fruits of this plant, but flowers and fruits will only set on established plants.
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