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Care of the plant Dioscorea elephantipes or Elephant foot.

Care of the indoor plant Dioscorea elephantipes or Elephant foot

The genus Dioscorea, family Dioscoreaceae, includes some 600 species of flowering plants native to tropical and temperate regions around the globe. Some species are: Dioscorea elephantipes, Dioscorea villosa, Dioscorea communis, Dioscorea japonica, Dioscorea mexicana, Dioscorea alata.

Common names: Elephant foot, Hottentot bread, Turtleback, Tortoise Plant, Tortoise Back Plant, Turtle back. This species is native to South Africa.

They are climbing sub-shrub plants with tuberous roots and a thick woody trunk that reach 2 meters (6.56 feet) in height. The wavy branches have cordate green leaves. They do not usually bloom in pots.

They are used in pots as indoor, greenhouse and patio and terrace plants. It is advisable to help them climb with tutors.

Dioscorea elephantipes prefers semi-shade exposure receiving direct sun in the early or late hours of the day. They do not resist frost.

The soil can be a mixture of equal parts coarse sand, heather soil and pine or coconut bark. Transplant every year in early spring to renew the substrate.

Water once a week in spring and summer; reduce watering starting in autumn and do not water when the leaves have been lost.

Fertilize with mineral fertilizer in spring and summer every 2 weeks.

Lightly prune the tips of the branches after flowering to maintain a compact size.

They are plants that are quite resistant to the usual pests and diseases, but they can be attacked by spider mites if ventilation is poor.

They can be propagated by tuber division but it is a complicated process.

Images of the indoor plant Dioscorea elephantipes or Elephant foot

Dioscorea elephantipes
Dioscorea elephantipes
Dioscorea elephantipes