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How to Grow and Care for Xerosicyos

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Xerosicyos is a flowering plant genus of the family Cucurbitaceae. Its name comes from Greek "xeros", (meaning "dry") and "sicyos" (meaning "cucumber"). There are three species, all endemic to Madagascar.

Xerosicyos danguyi is a large liana with thick stems and round, gray succulent leaves. It is common in cultivation and often called the "Silver Dollar" vine. Xerosicyos perrieri is also a liana with thinner stems and smaller, ovate green succulent leaves. Xerosicyos pubescens is entirely different from the previous species. It forms a large caudex from which deciduous vines emerge. The leaves are lobed and semi-succulent and die back in the dry season and during prolonged periods of drought.

Growing Conditions

Light: A location with full sun is best, although Xerosicyos can grow in partial shade.
Temperature: During the winter months, Xerosicyos are kept at a temperature of around 41-48°F (5-9°C) and are watered only enough to keep the leaves from shriveling. USDA hardiness zone 9-11.
Water: They are extremely drought tolerant. A deep soaking once a month in the summer will keep the plant looking good. For pot culture in summer, during the vegetative period, it must be regularly watered, but allowing the soil to completely dry up before watering again (but do not overwater). In winter, it's to be kept dry. Preferable not to water on overcast days, humid days or cold winter days.

Xerosicyos perrieri

Photo via biolib.cz

Soil: Xerosicyos adapts to most soil types, but not too heavy in texture; good drainage is desirable. If grown in a pot as an indoor plant use a succulent plants soil.
Fertilizer: Low food needs. They should be fertilized only once during the active growing period.

Propagation

It is easily propagated by cuttings or by seed in spring. Cuttings grow easily once left to callous for several days and then planted in succulent soil. Seeds germinate in 14-21 days at 21°C.

Links

BACK TO genus Xerosicyos
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