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Care of the plant Smilax aspera or Sarsaparille

Care of the climbing plant Smilax aspera or Sarsaparille

The genus Smilax, family Smilacaceae, comprises 200 species of climbing plants distributed on all continents. Some species are: Smilax aspera, Smilax rotundifolia, Smilax campestris, Smilax glauca, Smilax mexicana.

Common names: Common smilax, Mediterranean smilax, Sarsaparille, Rough bindweed. This species is native to Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean region.

They are evergreen climbing shrubs that grow in a zigzag fashion and have thin spiny stems and tendrils for climbing. The leaves are ovate-triangular in shape, leathery in texture, bright green with light spots and spines on the edge and on the veins. The flowers are white, small, scented and appear in umbels. They produce quite decorative globose fruits.

They are used to cover walls, gates or lattices and in pots and planters. The fruits were used to prepare the soft drink known as Sarsaparilla.

Smilax aspera prefers full sun exposure but can grow in semi-shade and shade. They are quite rustic plants that resist intense heat and frost.

They grow in any type of soil that is well drained.

Water moderately, waiting until the soil has dried; they resist drought well.

They do not need fertilizers.

Prune in late winter to keep it compact and control growth.

They are resistant plants to the usual pests and diseases.

They are propagated in early spring from seeds or by division.

Images of the climbing plant Smilax aspera or Sarsaparille

Smilax aspera var. balearica
Smilax aspera var. balearica