Xerosicyos

 In Category Cactus

Family: Cucurbitaceae
Habitat: Madagascar
Cultivation: They are plants that, if well cultivated, have a very rapid growth. Not very demanding as regards the soil, they must be protected from direct sunlight and watered abundantly, but only when the soil is dry.
Curiosity: The name of this genus comes from the Greek Xeròs, that is “dry”, and sicyos, that is “cucumber”. In fact, with the cucumbers and other vegetables it shares the family.

XEROSICYOS KEY FEATURES

The genus Xerosicyos comes from Madagascar and it is one of the most particular succulents that can be found in nature. It shares the family with vegetables such as cucumbers or courgettes, but unlike them it has perfectly adapted to dry climates with different strategies depending on the species: in some cases the leaves are succulent and perennial, in others we find deciduous and caudic leaves ( bulges at the base of the trunk) as water reserves.

Mostly they have the shape of lianas, with thin branches and small but succulent leaves. The flowers are small, light green or yellowish, and not ostentatious. The most common species, also on the market, is Xerosicyos danguyi. Its round, silver-green, swollen leaves gave this plant  the nickname of “Madagascar’s coin” or, in English “Silver Dollar” liana. It has a shrub and climbing habit.

VARIETIES AND TYPES

The plants of the genus Xerosicyos are few and, as already mentioned, the most common is the X. Danguyi. They are all listed below.

  • Xerosicyos Danguyi
  • X. Decaryi
  • X. Perrieri
  • X. Pubescens

TIPS FOR CULTIVATION

The plants of the genus Xerosicyos are very robust and fast growing, almost infesting. Here are our cultivation tips:

  • EXPOSURE: They are not plants born for direct sunlight and burn easily on the surface of the leaves. Choose a bright but sheltered position.
  • TEMPERATURE: Keep the plant always above 6-8 ° C
  • WATERING: Water abundantly, but only once every 3-4 days to avoid the risk of rot. Instead it can be useful to vaporize the plant to recreate the climate of its native area. Water even in winter, decreasing the dose of water in relation to temperature.
  • SOIL: It adapts to almost all soils but they do not have to be too heavy and in any case very well draining. For the plants in vases it is usually used a standard soil for succulents.
  • FERTILIZATION: It is advisable to fertilize every month, during the vegetative period, with a specific compound for succulents.
  • REPOT: Prefer large vases or baskets. In a year it can even triple its volume, so frequent repottings are necessary.
  • REPRODUCTION: They easily reproduce by branch cuttings.
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