Composted Cyphostemma juttae

caudex1October 14, 2007

A couple of months ago I pruned most of my Cyphostemma juttae and threw the leaves into the compost bin. Today I walked by and saw a few erect leaves poking out, luckily I'm not the greatest compost maker, haven't turned the pile in at least a year. Anyway, retrieved 12 rooted cuttings. Didn't think the small leaf branches(1/2" diameter) would root up, I'll know next time.

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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Very cool, I did not even realize people pruned C. juttae!! I got my first one this past spring and it has just gone dormant over the past couple of weeks here in zone 6 so it is off to the basement for the winter. I thought that there was so little annual growth on these that they would never be and learn as always :o) Dan

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 7:07PM
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When your plant has a 24inch diameter it has to be pruned or it will shade out everything else.

2007, This is the plant I was pruning and a couple of smaller ones.

Purchased this in a 3in pot in 1991. After seeing one in the ground at Strawberry Canyon Botanical Garden(Berkeley) I put it in a raised bed in 1995.

In 2000 dug it up just before we moved.

2001 tried bonsai treatment

2002 put back in the growing bed, this was in 2003


2005, pruning before winter sets in

2006, transplanting to a larger area

Wish I would have take a picture of the original purchase, but didn't start photo documenting till 2000. I'm told this is usually fast growth for a juttae, out of the 25 juttae I have none grow this fast. Another thing, this one doesn't grow tall. It's only about 28in tall without the foliage.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 7:50PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Wow. What exactly is the objective when pruning C. Juttae? Is it simply, as you imply, to keep it smaller? Are you trying to induce back-budding (assuming that can be done), i.e., can you predict where it will bud when you prune it?

I can't believe it started in a three inch pot. I bought mine in an 8 inch pot last year - can't wait to see the monster it will become!


    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 8:57PM
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They wont grow much in a pot will they?..putting them in the ground is a different game. Mine is 5-6 years old,in a very large container with other big succulents and still isnt growing much. If they can have big flushes at the cool climate UC Berkeley garden then that proves the in ground need.
Ooooph,that is one valuable plant Caudex. Congrats.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 9:06PM
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If I would stop putting plants in the growing bed close to this beast I probably wouldn't prune it. It does seem to keep this plant compact, but others I've pruned still continue to grow tall. It does back bud, I try to direct growth away from the center of the plant and most the time it works. Sometimes there's no telling where it will bud.

You can speed up growth by over potting but no like in a raised bed. You can always tell when the roots reach the native clay soil, growth explodes!

The largest juttae I've seen for sale was about 1/3 of the size and was priced at $700! I may dig it up next year and enter it in a C&S show, friends have been urging me to do so. We'll see in the spring. It'll take 3 of us to move it once it's potted. Last time I transplanted, it weighed 90lb bareroot!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 9:32PM
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cactusjordi(z10 CA)

Caudex 1, you have grown a great plant there!
When do you prune it and do you actually prune it more than it would shed its new growth every late fall anyhow? Good that transplantig it in early spring doesn't disturb its new growth.
Those who want it to grow faster should ad manure or another high nitrogen containing fertilizer in early summer. It loves it.
The biggest one I have seen 'in person' up to now is located in the New World Garden of the San Diego Wild Animal Park. I don't know how old nor how heavy it is. I only know I wouldn't like to have to transplant this one!


    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 10:14PM
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Great photo Jordi!

I actually prune 2 or 3 times a year on this one, the others just once. Cyphostemma in general love a rich soil, I never feed mine just amend the soil every couple of years. Did you know most of the years girth is put on in the late summer and fall?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2007 at 10:40PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

BTW, does anyone else have those tiny, clear balls on the foliage of their C. Juttae? Noticed it on mine this growing season. Is that normal, or do I have an issue...?


    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 8:40AM
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"does anyone else have those tiny, clear balls on the foliage of their C. Juttae?"

Every year they're there, only on juttae. Never have seen them on any other Cyphostemma. Not sure what it is but the show up in the spring and are gone by late summer.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 8:47AM
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TT, zone 5b MA

caudex1 -

I am so glad you have these, too! I was picking them off this year wondering what the heck they were...

Would love to know why they exist, though. I see them on the flowers, too.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:43AM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

WOW!!!!!!!!! I lost track of this thread, but that is absolutely awesome....AWESOME!!!!! I wish I could grow mine in the ground, but no way here in zone 6. I bought this one last spring for what I thought was a good price ($175), but still a lot of money:

It is around 30" or so tall or so without leaves and around an 8-9" diameter base......I love it, but want to get one that is shorter and more spread out like yours :o) Dan

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 5:25PM
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bluebonsai101 what are those plants on the right side of you juttae? joe

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 7:48PM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Hi Joe, Those are some of my Boophane collection. I've got B. disticha:

B. disticha (Frilly leaf form which is evergreen):

B. haemanthoides:

And I just purchased 2 more unnamed species from Ootshorn and Aus Namibia that I received 2 days ago and are just starting to leaf out now for winter growing. I really love Boophane as they have awesome bulbs, wonderful leaves and a fantastic flower head

Hope you like them :o) Dan

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 7:59PM
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well what the heck I didn't recognize them, I have two of them for a couple of years and they never bloomed for me yet.those in the picture looked like caudexes. joe

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 8:45PM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Hey Joe, They need to be pretty decent size to bloom.....fertilize like you mean it in the summer assuming they are disticha and keep your fingers crossed!! I do not know if my B. haemanthoides will bloom since I can not give it the sun in the winter it requires but I could honestly care less since the bulb and leaves are worth the price of admission :o) Dan

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:46PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

bluebonsai -

How do you overwinter your C. Juttae down in PA? It must be going dormant by now, right?

Also, what kind of temps do Boophane tolerate? How cold has it been down by you? Looks like you still have them outside.

Very nice plants.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 10:02PM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Hi Tom, Yep, my C. juttae is completley dormant and is in the basement for the will get down to around 50F in the winter so cool, but no frost of course.

We have not had any freezes so far this year (global warming) and so the Boophane are still outside. The disticha are going dormant and will go in the basement next to the C. juttae pretty soon....the frilly leaf form that is evergreen and the B. haemanthoides go in the basement under a 400W MH light for the winter so they have more heat and light to grow through the winter.

I just ponied up for 2 new Boophane bulbs....species without names....smaller bulbs, but obviously very old based on the bulb tunic.....I love the way the bulbs wife....less impressed!!

I have contacted Obesa in South Africa to see if they have any specimen size bulbs/plants that interest me.....maybe an import in the spring, but the cost of shipping from South Africa is around 3x what it is from India and Thailand so that makes it much more costly!!

Thanks :o) Dan

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 7:26AM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Hi Dan -

So, no light over the juttae during dormancy? Does it start to wake up at some point under those conditions? I may treat mine differently now - I keep mine in a sunroom with MH lighting - always trying to give it a piece of as much light as possible. Now, upper 70s during the day, 50s at night. Maybe I won't care so much about the light anymore - free up some real estate for something awake...

This may sound naive, but no issues importing directly from S.A. or India?


    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 8:18AM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Hi Tom, No light on my dormant room under the lights as I have too many other things growing that are green and need it. They sit on the floor so they are cool and around April 1 I maybe give them a bit of water to see if they want to start waking up for me.

I used to import thousands of bulbs from India, Thailand, South Africa, etc. (small web business), but got tired of it so now just import for myself and anyone that is interested in unusual things that maybe are cheaper by going overseas. You need an import permit (easy and free) and have to pay phyto fees and that is it.....those are cheap by the way.....South Africa has the most expensive in the world that I know of and they are around $50. Shipping from South Africa is also more expensive than anyplace in the world at around $35 per Kg (India and Thailand are around $10 per Kg to give you an idea). My thought is that if I can get a phenominal C. juttae for $250 from overseas that people in this country charge $500 for then it is worth my effort. Same with the Pachypodium bispinosum I want and other Boophane I would love to get....for example I paid $35 each for the frilly leaf B. disticha above and they sell for $150 each here in the U.S.....worth the effort for me :o) Dan

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 10:23AM
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The $175 was a bargain. Save a decade and a half of waiting and who knows what can happen in that time?..seen it all.
Im all for buying large plants if possible. And I'm for growing from scratch-both methods are ok with me.
Once those C.juttae take off they are really something to see.I saw a photo of a large group of them in habitat,dormant and only with gravel around them. More meditative then a Japanese garden...

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 8:58PM
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bluebonsai101(6a PA)

Hi Stanofth...that is my philosophy......if it costs $20 per year to get a really nice 10 year old plant then my time is worth more than that and if I now keep it alive for 10 more years think how lovely it will be.....I do not want this C, juttae to get any bigger....just get some lovely peeling bark and a really nice aged look.....too heavy already :o) Dan

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 7:45AM
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Live and learn.I'm almost certain i will put mine in ground in the spring.Just to give people an idea how slow they grow in pots-outdoors,mine is about one third(1/4?)),maybe,the size of Caudex's 2001 photo.And mine is already 6-7? years old. It didn't seem to bud until last years freeze here in California. This spring it grew new branches-all with half sized leafs. Not sure why.

Last year somebody posted a pic on the internet of a huge 100 pound+ plant in San Diego with very little peeling bark.The plant was an unusual mostly smooth shiny green. Any ideas why?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 11:52AM
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Don't let "Zone 6" scare you about not growing C juttae in the ground. Get a big drill bit, add a bunch of new drainage holes along the sides on the bottom portion of the pot, then bury your pot about half way into your garden. The roots will grow through the holes and you should achieve outstanding growth.

In the fall, hack away along the perimeter of the pot with a shovel to sever the roots, pull out the plant and let the cut root ends air dry for a few days before you trim them back neatly. Next spring, do it all over.

I have used this technique with many tropical plants and it's a great way to speed up growth without hurting the plant. The main root ball stays intact so the plant is not harmed.

Palm trees are about the only group of plants that resent this type of root pruning.

Next spring I'm planting out some Adenium, Cyphostemmas, Dendrosicyos, Calibanus and Adansonia for bulking up. If I can get my hands on a Dorstenia gigas, I'll do the same.

This works nicely with Agaves too, but they are trickier to remove, you need some thick gloves for armor! Try out Agave americana, your neighbors will be impressed after a few years :-)

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 8:34PM
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Like Adenium, I wonder if those inadvertent cuttings are capable of developing the same thickened trunks as the parent. If so, you've got what seems to be a marketable clone. Not much of a market actually, other than ourselves and a few other wackjobs out there


    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 9:06PM
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I just recently started to have an interest in the Cyphostemma juttae plants, and this thread is very interesting. I'm sorry it hasn't continued past 2007 because I would love to see some updated information.

Mr. Caudex1...
Have any of the trimmed leaves/stems develop into new plants and have they developed a fat caudex like the parent plant? Is this a viable way to propagate these plants?

To all other posters...

PLEASE post some new information about your experiences in growing this plant, especially in containers. I would like to grow my smaller plant into as large a plant as possible, and need information/cultural tips for growing this in a container...especially, how to formulate a rich, fertile, growing medium that still drains quickly,...and without a perched water table, which will rot out the roots. I'd like to use Al's quick-draining mix as a growing-medium.

My plant will be shipped after the weather warms up, so I have some time to get ready for the potting-up ceremony when it arrives. I'd like to start out by growing this plant correctly.

I grew Adenium in the past....will this culture also work for Cyphostemma? i.e.---quick-draining mix, good sun and heat for warmer months- outside, good watering with diluted fertilizers, cool, dry winters, inside?

Thanks for the help, and hopefully, updated photos and information.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 8:12AM
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Hello all, I need help big time with Cyphostemma juttae seeds.

I have over 100 species at home in Canada and over 400 Adeniums but Cyphostemma is giving me headaches.

I got seeds and I have scarified them (grinding the seed to the point where you see the nut), soaked them in (very dilluted) Physan 20, planted them in different medias and result is always the same;

The seeds becomes white & slimy and can easily be shoveled with a small tool. Nothing that would ever germinate.

What is it that I am doing so wrong please?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 2:54PM
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Time and much water, no pretreatment. juttae can take year/s to germinate. What works for me is just throwing the seed back in the pot with the mother and water frequently. Eventually I'll get volunteers. I've seen seed germ 5yrs later

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 4:30PM
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I have a large Cyphostemma juttae growing in my backyard. The plant flowered and produced red berries every year. I tried to grow the seeds without any success. I decided to bury the whole berry without removing the skin. I planted the berries around the plant and thirteen seedings are now growing. The original plant has just started to grow leaves. There are plants that produce seeds and some need to be planted without removing anything and some plants like cycads need seeds to rest as long as six months before planting. I live in Los Angeles and the winter weather rarely goes below 40 F. The original plant is about 3 feet tall and must weigh about seventy pounds.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 11:46PM
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