Stephania cephalantha v. hayata
Stephania cephalantha v. hayata is native to mountain regions of south-western China, Taiwan and Vietnam, where it grows in well-drained substrate, rich in organic matter, in humid climates, clinging to other bigger trees or to anything it finds.
Stephania cephalantha v. hayata is a perennial, caudiciform vine. “Caudiciform” means “equipped with a caudex”. A caudex is a basal, wooden enlargement of the stem, used by plants native to semiarid climates to store water and nutrients. In S. cephalantha v. hayata, the caudex is potato-shaped, with a smooth or rough surface. Its climbing, fragile stem is deep pink to white and it tends to cling to anything it happens to find: remember to provide your Stephania with an appropriate structure to climb on! The caudex, in this species, can reach a diameter up to 20 centimeters, while the stem can become 2 meters long! The leaves are sligtly heart-shaped, pointed and peltate (“peltate is a botanical term meaning that the petiole is attached to the central part of the leaves, which is the point from which the nervatures branch off as well). S. cephalantha v. hayata is a dioeciuous plant: this means that there are male and female plants. Male individuals bear only male flowers, while females bear only female flowers. Both male and female flowers are inconspicuous, green and very small. Stephania cephalantha v. hayata is in fact appreciated more for its beautiful caudex, its abundant, decorative foliage and its climbing attitude, than for its flowers.
Stephania cephalantha v. hayata is not so difficult to grow. Provide it a structure to cling to and it will become the perfect ornamental vine for your living room! Here are our cultivation tips:
Put your Stephania cephalantha v. hayata in full sun or half shaded positions, rememeber to avoid a direct exposure during the hottest hours of the Summer. Beware of the cold: Stephanias can’t stand temperatures below 10-16ºC. We advise to grow them in pots indoors, as houseplant, also to take more advantage of their decorative, climbing attitude. Water your S. cephalantha v. hayata regularly in Summer, moore or less every week, waiting always for the soil to dry up completely before each irrigation. Reduce, instead, the watering frequency in Autumn, when the leaves start to wither, and suspend the irrigation completely in Winter. Repotting is necessary any time you notice that there’isn enough space for the caudex in your pot: it may be once a year. Fertilization is necessary once a year, during the growth season, with a proper fertilizer for succulent plant, that should be rich iin organic matter.
Stephanias are propagated by sowing. Sow them at a temperature of about 15-16ºC and keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate.
The genus “Stephania” was named after an austrian botanist called Stephan Ladislaus Endlicher, 1804-1849. The species name, “Cephalantha”, means, instead, “flowering head”. The name of the variety, “Hayata”, refers to another botanist, who named the variety for the first time: Bunzô Hayata.
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