Variegated Tapioca plant winter care

wannabgreenSeptember 5, 2007

I just bought a varieagated Tapioca plant ( couldn't resist too beautiful!) And am keeping it as a container plant but they are only hardy to 40 degrees or so and need full to partial sun...Do you think it may go dormant? Also the garage is not going to be warm enough most likely..In the house OK?? Help! Thanks in advance!!


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I think your garage would be warm enough. Store it in the warmest part.

Don't know how they will do in the ground in Houston. It's probably a little hardier than you think. It can probably stay out till the first frost.

I've never grown it, but I'm sure there are other members who have and who can give you pointers.

The San Antonio Botanical Gardens, (microclimate zone 9b) grows a similar plant called Castor Bean. I don't know if castor bean is an annual or what, but at the botanical gardens, it receives no special winter care. The castor bean plants are out in the open.

(Castor Bean is extremely poisonous, so it isn't in local landscapes anymore. )

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 7:59PM
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In the NORTH castor bean is an annual, here it's a huge tree.

The tapioca will go dormant, stick it in the garage or the backroom, don't water it. It will start to send out new growth in early spring/late winter, put it back out in the sun and start watering.

I'm leaving one in the ground this year to see how it does with winter on the island and the other on the back deck (it's in a big pot).
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 3:30PM
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sunny43(Z 6 Pa.)

Ours is left out in the ground in the winter without a problem. We do have it in a protected area with lots of mulch around it. I have a friend who has one in the ground in Clear Lake city for several years now and it is doing fine. It is root hardy and dies back in the winter, come spring it starts growing again.
Tally you should not have any problem at all with your's in the ground on the island. Your place seldom gets anywhere as cold as we do.
In Houston I would keep it in a pot until you get some rooted cuttings. Then I would try one in a Micro climate area (close to your house) and see what happens. Jerry at Jerry's Jungle has zone 10 and 11 plants in the ground and they are doing great.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 5:29PM
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I decided to browse pictures of variegated tapioca. (Gotta dream about what to plant next summer.)

Then, I saw a link to Plants Delight Nursery with a hardy tapioca. Plants Delight is in North Carolina, zone 7b.

Manihot is the species, first picture on the page.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hardy Tapioca-Non Variegated

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 11:03PM
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sunny43(Z 6 Pa.)

The variegated one is not as hardy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Variegated Tapioca plant

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 12:13AM
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MrsBox77(z9C N Hou)

The people behind us have a couple of these, and now they are growing on our side of the fence. We allowed two of them to grow inground to shade/hide the trampoline. We prune them the same time we prune our crepe myrtles (around Valentines Day) and pretty much the same way. They die out first freeze and come back in the Spring. The best thing about these trees is they are easy to manage, and if you do not want it anymore, it is very easy to chop down. They make lots of babies, so there is always another one you can let grow again and plant where you want. Be sure to look at them after a rain. They look like they are covered with diamonds. Also, they grow VERY fast. Mine are about 10 feet tall. Overpruning will kill them.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 10:00AM
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Thanks for all the great advice/ replies! Yeah it does seem to have a weak stalk and am thinking I need to have supports on it just in case. I will try and propagate it..I'll have to read up on that since I have no clue!! I would love to try out one planted in a protected area as well. Thank you again!


    Bookmark   September 9, 2007 at 2:33AM
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I think I've seen variegated tapioca plants at either Home Depot or Walmart. I think they were labeled as Yuca. So, does this variety produce edible roots? I didn't know the roots were poisonous. Sure glad they cook them before they're put on the shelves at the supermarkets. I'm planning on getting a few and planting them as ornamental plant plus I may harvest their roots for cooking. So, if you have any info, would appreciate it.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 10:11PM
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Texas A&M has written an article about variegated tapioca.

Here is a link that might be useful: Variegated Tapioca

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 11:24PM
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