Dioscorea elephantipes - Elephant's Foot
Dioscorea elephantipes has all of the best qualities of a caudiciform: a textured caudex, long vines, heart-shaped leaves, and easy care. Sometimes called Elephant's Foot due to the cracked exterior of a mature specimen, Dioscorea elephantipes is especially unique because it's a winter-growing vine. This plant has adapted to have a dormancy period during the hot and dry summer months, meaning they wake up at the end of summer and die back in the spring. We like to keep these plants in their nursery pots, and train their surprisingly long vines up a trellis or around a hoop. Or, you can simply let the vines sprawl.
How to Grow
• Plant in a well-draining mix. This plant is sensitive to over-watering. Err on the side of under-watering. If your caudex feels squishy or lax and you haven't watered in weeks, it's time to water! While the vines are growing, the plant may want more regular water, sometimes as often as every week.
• Grow in bright indirect light. Some direct light is okay, but too much can burn the thin leaves.
• When leaves start to yellow and die back in the spring, let the soil dry out completely. Every month or so during the plant's dormancy, check if the caudex feels firm. If the caudex is soft and the soil is dry, give it a drink.
• These plants don't like their roots disturbed. Only repot and up-pot when the plant has outgrown its previous growing container.
What to Expect
You'll get a Dioscorea elephantipes caudex planted in a 6" nursery pot with wooden stake. The caudex will be growing or breaking dormancy with full-grown leaves. Each caudex is different, so expect this natural variation from the photos.
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