How can you not love a plant with a name like tetrastigma? Tetra refers to the 5 fingered leaves, the stigma I’m sure time will tell.
I first saw this plant growing in a nursery greenhouse back in Massachusetts. It grew all along the ceiling and had the most wonderful 2′ long tendrils that reached down as if to nab you.
The leaves are dark green and shiny on top, and soft and fuzzy underneath. Leaf size I’m told can reach 12″, I’ve never seen it more than 4″.
This vine is from Laos. It will grow a foot or more per month so be brave with the pruning shears. This picture is just a few days after we brought it home. It’s been a week now and we have 4 vines that have about 4″ of new growth each. It has wonderful long tendrils that hang down to grasp trees so it can climb on them.
I tried growing it as a house plant with little success. It just couldn’t handle the low humidity in the house.
In a last ditch attempt to save it I placed it outside last fall. And while it hibernated and dropped some leaves over the winter, it did come through and started to grow again the beginning of March.
I have one planted in shade with little dappled sun, and one in dappled sun for most of the afternoon. Both are planted in very dry areas of the garden, both are happy. All accounts report this plant loves frequent watering so it should do well in damper areas as well.
These plants are heavy feeders, notice the discoloration on the leaves? Despite frequent feedings they are begging for more.
Keep the soil moist, drought tolerant when established but just barely. New leaves will fall off if the soil gets dry.
Will die back to the ground in cold winters. One of two just re-appeared the first week of April.
This plant is native to Vietnam.
The clear beads you see on the underside of the leaves are secretions from the plant, not an infestation.
Like most vines, propagation is by cutting. The nursery where I originally purchased this plant told me that they had very limited success with cuttings and propagation. I haven’t tried yet, the plants are not large enough to take cuttings.
There is little information on this plant in my books, as I learn more I’ll post it.
Note: did not survive heat ( 3 months 100’F plus ) and drought of the summer of 2011