One of the plants that most attracts attention due to its shape and leaves is the Stephania erecta. Although it is not an easy plant to care for, and you have to be a little aware of it (especially due to humidity), it is worth it to see it with those leaves.
But what do you know about Stephania erecta? What care do you need? How is he physically? Is there a trick to have it? About all this, and much more, is what we are going to talk about. Shall we start?
How is the Stephania erecta
Those who have an erect Stephania say it is a “giant potato.” And they do not lack reason. This plant is native to Southeast Asia and is a very rare plant but with a great boom because everyone wants to have it at home.
However, it is not easy to care for because it needs to satisfy needs that are sometimes difficult to give.
The first time that Stephania erecta was known was in 1922, by the British botanist William Grant Craib. It is a caudiciform plant, that is, it has an aerial root that would be the caudex. And how is it? We explain it to you:
We start with the caudex, which supports those who call it “potato”. Visually it looks very similar to this one and can grow up to 30 centimeters in diameter.
It stores both water and nutrients and its color is dark brown.
It goes without saying that it is the most important part of the plant, and resembles the bulbs of other plants.
In the ground it is not hidden or completely covered with the substrate, but only a third of it is planted, the rest is left in the air.
The stem of the Stephania erecta is thin and woody. It can reach 5 meters in length. But the normal thing is that, in a pot, these are very short (in fact it is the best because that way you make sure that you take good care of it).
We are talking about a climbing plant, which likes to have a lattice or something to hold onto to continue developing.
The leaves of the Stephania erecta are the most beautiful part of the plant, and for which many are encouraged to have it at home. These can be small or large (up to 20 centimeters in diameter in their natural habitat). They are lobed and have a round or oval shape and a smooth texture.
As for their color, they are green, with the veins of the leaves visible in white. In addition, the edge of the leaves is usually white, although we have seen some that come out in black.
Keep in mind that we are talking about an annual plant, that is, in autumn it is normal for it to lose its leaves and the caudex to go into hibernation (at which time you must put it in a cool and dry place to activate it after January).
Stephania erecta care
If after what you have read, you would like to have an erect Stephania at home, the most important thing you should know is how to keep it alive. You don’t want to buy a plant and have it die after a short time.
In addition, in the case of the Stephania erecta it is very difficult to find plants that have already sprouted (and that are cheap). You can find them, but they are almost always sold as caudex so that, during the trip, they do not suffer or the leaves do not break (they are very fragile).
Therefore, before giving you the care, we are going to take care of helping you to know how to germinate a caudex of Stephania erecta
Germinate an erect Stephania
When you buy this plant, it will most likely come to you as a bulb that you will have to plant to activate it.
The steps that we recommend are those that are usually taken, although each one does well to do one thing or another. Our advice is to watch several videos and read several posts to get an idea.
In this case, the steps that we consider most appropriate are the following:
Put the caudex in lukewarm water for 24 hours. In this way you will activate it as with other seeds or bulbs.
After that time, take a pot. Make sure that it has holes in the base so that the water can escape without a problem (if they are thick, it is almost better).
Fill a first layer of white stones or similar. The objective is that the water does not remain stagnant in that part and touch the roots, because then it can easily die. Next, use a mix of cactus and succulent soil and perlite (in a 50-50 ratio).
You have to fill the pot almost completely, since the caudex must be placed on top of the soil, and you will only have to hide a third of it. Now, be careful how you put it. If you look at the bulb, you will see that it has a somewhat pointed part and that may make you think that the roots will emerge from there. But really it’s not so. That’s where the stem comes from.
Once you have planted it, we recommend that you cover it with a dome or similar to maintain the humidity in the plant as well as the temperature (and in this way you will get it to germinate sooner).
Speaking of germinating… It can take up to two months to germinate, so try to be patient. When you see the first green shoots, you can reassure yourself that the plant is already active and that it will grow.
The Stephania erecta needs a very bright place, but not with direct sun. As long as you give it light at least 6 hours a day it will be enough.
If you see that the stems are beginning to be very long and the leaves are small, this will indicate that it lacks light.
The ideal temperature should be between 15 and 27 degrees. It tolerates heat much better than cold, but as long as you have moisture in the plant pending.
The Stephania erecta is very easy to water because the caudex retains water and moisture. Which means you don’t have to water it as abundantly.
In general, irrigation is usually every two weeks. Everything will depend on the climate in which you live, the temperature, etc.
About humidity we have already given you some notes. And it is that it needs a humidity of at least 60%. Reason why not everywhere you can have it.
Sometimes with a humidifier, or using a dome to keep the water and the temperature constant, it can be worth it, but be careful because it is very delicate in this regard.
It is important, every 4-8 weeks, and during spring and summer, fertilize it a little. Use a liquid fertilizer.
Plagues and diseases
Rust fungus, root rot, cottony mealybug, aphids, whitefly or mites are some of the problems you may encounter. To solve them, in the case of pests, use neem oil.
Keep in mind that Stephania erecta can take up to 20 years to mature, so be patient with this plant. And don’t forget his care if you want him to survive.