How Do You Care For Dioscorea Mexicana?
Dioscorea Mexicana is a tiny variation that resembles Testudinaria elephantipes.
It has leaves annual stems with above-ground persistent caudices that lay flat on the ground and can be used as a container plant.
The broad and partially exposed tuberous stem is woody in appearance, but succulent internally, and the outer layer of the caudex is coated with thick greyish-brown bark that assists in moisture retention and protection against predators, as well as giving the plant tremendous aesthetic appeal.
The caudex is split into wonderfully sculpted regular polygonal plates that protrude with age and are separated by deep furrows. It may grow to be 90 cm in circumference and over 30 cm tall (but seldom exceeds 50 cm in breadth).
The tubercled tuber resembles an elephant’s foot or a tortoise shell.
In late spring, Testudinaria Mexicana sends out a stunningly robust vine from the top of the caudex that can grow to more than 6 m before dying back in winter.
The vines may reach 6 m in height and develop quickly throughout the growing season, but they normally die back in the winter.
Flowers are tiny (up to 2 mm in diameter) and violet in clusters. August is the flowering month.
Because the exotic plant requires as much light as possible, it appreciates a summer stay outside. In some arid areas of Latin America, Dioscorea Mexicana thrives in slightly shaded situations. It would be beneficial to offer the plant the same environment while domesticating it.
Could you keep it in a somewhat shaded location? It is not healthy to expose it to sunlight all day. As a result, it is best to keep it near your southern or western windows, where the sun will shine through.
The high-noon light is harmful to the plant, so protect yourself.
Dioscorea Mexicana thrives at temperatures ranging from 18 to 25 degrees Celsius (64.4 – 77 degrees Fahrenheit).
During its resting season, it also performs well in temperatures below 12 degrees Celsius (53.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
Dioscorea Mexicana is a climber that requires training to stay upright. You may secure it with tiny bamboo sticks. The tendrils then coil around it, giving your garden a natural appearance.
You may also customize some posts and use them for training the vine.
Because it is designed to climb, its development will be fairly erratic if you do not train it with a trellis or bamboo poles.
This chaotic growth covers the caudex and obscures the plant’s most appealing features, the leaves, and tendrils.
This plant thrives in well-draining soil. You may plant it on commercial cactus earth filled with the best permeability.
If this is unavailable, you can grow the Mexicana in soil amended with sand or coconut fiber.
It does not grow well in rich soil, but you may amend the usual pottage soil with peat or quartz sand before planting your Dioscorea Mexicana.
This plant is succulent and can go without water for a few days. It would aid in reducing watering during its dormant season while allowing for more frequent irrigation throughout the spring and summer growing seasons.
Waterlogging must be avoided since it might induce root rot; hence, even frequent watering during the growth spike should be kept to a minimum.
Also, make sure the substrate is dry before watering again.
Dioscorea Mexicana does not grow well in particularly fertile soils; therefore, keep this in mind while adding fertilizer.
Apply liquid cactus fertilizer throughout the growth season only, never during the winter. In the spring and summer, apply fertilizer every three weeks.
For optimal results, apply fertilizer while the pottage is still moist. You don’t need to fertilize the plant for a year if you recently repotted it with a new substrate. The nutrients in the soil will be sufficient for the next year.
When the leaves begin to turn yellow, you stop fertilizing the soil.
How Do You Propagate Dioscorea Mexicana?
The Turtle Plant is a dioecious plant. This implies that, unlike many succulents, a single plant cannot assist reproduction by cuttings. It would be advantageous if you employed seeds produced by pollinating plants of different sexes.
It is critical to locate and purchase certified seeds from suppliers. Dioscorea plants in your garden are unlikely to yield seeds since the circumstances are rarely favorable.
This is how seeds are propagated.
- In a pot or tray, place a thin substrate and cover it with coconut fibers.
- Place the seeds about one centimeter deep in the substrate.
- Apply a thin coating of sand and water to the seeds.
- Once you’ve finished planting, place the planter in partial shade and keep the temperature between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius (77 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit). Humidity should also be rather high, and the optimum habitat to suit these requirements is a small, well-lit greenhouse.
- The seeds should germinate four to six weeks after sowing. Because it provides a humid and warm environment surrounding the immature seedlings, you may remove the shadow covers you had placed in place to aid germination. Such an atmosphere is harmful to early seedlings.
- Water the seedlings below by placing the trays or pots where they are growing and dipping them in a larger water container.
The water should be just deep enough to submerge the seedlings in their container. Because the pots and trays are generally porous, water will seep through to the substratum, giving the seedlings a drink from below.
Watering keeps the weak seedlings from being rinsed away by the water you rinse from above.
- The caudex is one of the great attractions of Dioscorea Mexicana, and it requires room to expand.
As a result, you’ll need to transfer the seedlings to allow the plant additional space to grow the caudex.
Four to six weeks after germination, the plant produces its first real leaves: these heart-shaped, glossy leaves, as well as the plant’s fast development in general, necessitate transfer.
- Fill a container with permeable cactus clay produced from soil or coconut chaff; use the type of substrate that the plant prefers.
- Moisten the pottage and poke a hole in it using a tool. The hole should be large enough to allow the seedling roots to grow without disturbing them. Replace the dirt and let it flourish. Three weeks after transplantation, the caudex begins to develop.
How Often Do You Repot Dioscorea Mexicana?
The planter will eventually become too small for a turtle plant. Repotting is best done near the conclusion of the vegetative break when stress is at its lowest.
- Tear the turtle plant apart and remove it from the old substrate.
- Remove rotting or ill roots and cut them into long strands.
- Create a drainage system from gravel or potsherds in the new vessel above the water drain.
- Cover the plant with a thin coating of potting soil and place it in the center.
- Fill the substrate just enough to cover the roots when the caudex is at least halfway, preferably two-thirds, above the surface. Finally, give the Dioscorea Mexicana some water.
Does Dioscorea Mexicana Need Pruning?
Dioscorea Mexicana requires little trimming because it dies just once a year. As a result, there isn’t much greenery.
To make the plant more appealing, pluck the leaves that dry out during the growth season. Training is what you need to do to keep it tidy.
Is Mexican Dioscorea Edible?
This yam contains Diosgenin, which was once employed as a precursor in the manufacture of progesterone. However, because it has greater amounts of Diosgenin, Dioscorea composita is now employed as the starting material. The tubers are edible when cooked.
What Are The Pests & Diseases Affecting Dioscorea Mexicana?
One of the benefits of Dioscorea Mexicana is that it is quite resilient. The only disease it has is root rot, which may be avoided by keeping the soil dry.
It is also resistant to insect invasions so you may relax on that front. Spider mites are infrequently found and attacked by spraying pest soap on succulents to treat them.
How Fast Does Dioscorea Mexicana Grow?
Another reason Dioscorea Mexicana is known as the Mexican Yam is because of the nature of its shoot. It is a climber with heart-shaped leaves that grows slowly.
The leaves are a vibrant green with a shiny finish. In natural settings, the shoot dies in winter, sprouts again later in spring, and survives through the summer.
Keep in mind that this plant has a lifespan of hundreds of years. They are likely to have adapted to the local circumstances if they have been in the area for a long period.
The adaptation allows them to adjust their development cycle and shed their leaves at the proper moment in their environment.
If the plant grows in the tropics, for example, it may have some leaves for longer than when it develops in its original habitat.
What Does Caudex Do In Dioscorea Mexicana?
The caudex does not have a dome-like appearance in its early stages. This look develops gradually over time and culminates in the maturity of the Dioscorea Mexicana.
The caudex’s polygonal parts are frequently divided by fault lines that get deeper with time.
This caudex is an adaptation, water, and food store that allows the plant to endure dry seasons.
The caudex harness protects the plant’s stockpile from predators. To you, as a home gardener, the caudex provides the plant with an exotic aspect that complements your home’s décor. The caudex may grow to be more than a meter in diameter.
The caudex is the portion of the turtle plant’s morphology that provides it longevity. If it is left in its native surroundings, it can live for hundreds of years.
The caudex’s evolutionary goal is to assist the plant in storing water and food in the arid and generally lean climate in which it thrives.