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Cissus

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  • Indoor Plants
Cissus quadrangularis
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Josée Bouthot)

Onglets

Botany

Origin and description

Cissus rhombifolia is a fast-growing climber native to the American tropics. It is cultivated for its shiny dark green leaves composed of three to five toothed leaflets. Its long woody stems have tendrils that allow the plant to cling to a support. This vigorous plant is used in hanging baskets or grown as a climber in a pot with a stake or trellis.

Species, cultivars and related plants

Cissus rhombifolia 'Ellen Danica' is a very popular cultivar with deeply lobed leaves. Cissus antarctica has woody stems that bear large toothed leaves. Cissus antarctica 'Minima' is a dwarf form of Cissus antarctica. Cissus striata has smaller, more delicate leaves with five rounded leaflets that are toothed at the tip.

Toxicity

As a precaution, keep this plant out of the reach of children and pets.

Common name

Cissus / Venezuela treebine

Latin name (genus)

Cissus rhombifolia

French common name

Botanical family

  • Vitaceae
Horticulture

Growing conditions

This species prefers bright, indirect sunlight, but can tolerate lower lighting levels. It does best when placed near a west- or east-facing window. It likes moderately warm conditions, and does well with normal room temperatures provided that they do not fall below 18ºC. Provide it with good humidity, especially when temperatures are higher.

Easy to grow?

Cissus is a sturdy, leathery plant that is easy to grow if given good humidity. It adapts very well to the conditions in our homes although it does not bloom as a houseplant.

Watering and fertilizer

Cissus must not be allowed to dry out during the growing period. Water it regularly, thoroughly wetting the soil ball without soaking it. Do not allow water to stand in the saucer. Let the soil surface dry out slightly between waterings. In winter, water sparingly, just enough to prevent the soil from drying out completely. Fertilize three or four times during the growing period, from March to October, with balanced indoor plant food or all-purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20.

Pruning and maintenance

Pinch back new shoots regularly to keep the plant compact and bushy. Clean the leaves occasionally with lukewarm water. If the plant becomes bare near the base, it can be cut back sharply in spring. It is best to cut the main stems back by one-third and the side stems back to a leaf node 2.5 cm from the main stem.

Repotting

Repot in spring, using a well-drained potting mixture for tropical plants. Young, vigorous plants may need to be repotted twice a year.

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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