Cyphostemma bainesii

bronxfigsNovember 18, 2012

Just ordered a small, seed-grown, 18 month old, C. bainesii, and it will be coming next week. It will be dormant. It measures about 1" across the base, and is about 4" tall.

I have two specimen-sized, C. juttae. They seem to be fairly easy to grow. These Cyphos. are now going dormant, and will be stored in a cooler location. Right now they are in my kitchen growing on a plant rack near glass doors that get full-sun throughout the the year. Temps. are in the mid 60s in this room. Can I leave the Cyphos. in these temps. or, do they need to be cooler?

Can C. bainesii be grown like C. juttae...or, do they need some special treatment? Are these fast growers? Will they benefit from extra root-run, in a large container full of quick-draining mix?

From what I have read about Cyphos.... they continue to photosynthesize through their green stems while dormant, so it would seem that they need sunlight year round. I would hate to store them in a cooler, and darker location if they need light. I could use some help with dormancy questions especially regarding light requirements...dark and cool, vs. light and cool.

Interesting plants.


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Hi Frank,

They all can be grown the same - they're all grapes, when it comes down to it, even though I don't know apples from anagrams.

I don't think the amount of photosynthesis, if any, is anything but nominal when they're out of leaf - all of my dormant plants don't get direct sun as their leaves dehisce. If leaves are the things they grow with, then the absence of leaves are an indication they're not growing, but I'm not even sure of that. I see your point, however - their caudexes do have a faint green tinge, but I don't think that means it (as an organ of the plant) will perform photosynthesis, although it might.

I have asked this question in another forum, and will forward the link to you.

Where are you getting your C. b. from?



    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 1:41PM
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Thanks for the additional information. It's always helpful to read the suggestions from more experienced growers. I pretty much thought these two species could be grown the same way, but I just wanted to check the facts.

I found the information about dormant photosynthesis on a web-site called: "Notes on Cyphostemma"...Articles du Cactus Francophone. Buried in the rather technical article was the information that these plants still photosynthesize while dormant through their green stems. They also breathe/transpire through pores that are embedded in the thick stems. The concept is interesting to ponder. Nature does everything for a reason. Thin, translucent, peeling bark, that exposes thick, juicy, green stems, bright sunlight, even in the winter months...why not keep making food all year...even without leaves?

Anyway, you suggested how to grow this plant. I will treat it the same way as my other Cyphos.

Very easy plants to grow. I wish I had known about them years ago.

Frank got mail.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 6:35PM
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I have a C juttae that some have said was bainesii. My advice is dont expect fast growth in a small pot. It might even be fine planted out in summer dug up for winter and brought in. I dont live where summers are it takes years I can see for them to build up. I would guess they would do better with regular light fertilizing...I never got around to that! I just posted it on xeric forums. It's about 20" tall? Not the most impressive..but nice.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 6:44PM
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Thanks for the input. I think C. bainesii has a three-part leaf, and C. juttae has a single leaf.

And you are right about growing in too small a pot. Next season, these plants will go into a big 35 gallon container, double-potted, so the roots could roam, and keep cool. The Bronx, NYC can really heat up in July, and August, and small containers will heat up and stress the roots and plants. Not a good thing.

Thanks for mentioning the Xeric Forum. Didn't know too much about this venue. i will check it out.



    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 7:34PM
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Cypho. bainesii just arrived. Small plant is bare root, and dormant. Caudex approx. 1" round, and quickly tapers to a stem, about 2-3 inches long. (I've eaten scallions that were bigger).

So, now what? Do I pot it into a gritty mix and try to start up this plant and grow it on a full-sun windowsill, in my warm kitchen? Do I let it stay dormant, and take cues from the plant? If it needs to stay dormant, should I lightly mist the caudex occasionally to prevent ?...shriveling...dessication??? I never dealt with a plant so small, having such little bio-mass. Right now, it is still unpotted, and the caudex is hard and plump...but, how long will that last?

I'd like to keep this plant alive.

Any help ASAP would be greatly appreciated.


    Bookmark   November 24, 2012 at 7:05AM
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Pot it up in a very light mix..much perlite with potting soil. The dormancy will still happen-shorter days cause that. But it will be rooting as the weeks and months go by.

Last summer I dug up a Oreocereus cacti about 3'..and with very few roots as it had been knock over weeks before by home repair guys. So,I just picked it up and planted it in 100% perlite.Just the other day I moved it and it's pot..solid,no wobble at all. It rooted and in spring It goes back in the ground...where nobody can walk into it!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 3:52PM
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