Is Caudex Extravaganza the Next Hype in Plantworld?
Caudex or fat-bottomed plants, or one of the hottest trends among plant collectors at the moment
By: THURSD. | 15-02-2021 | 5 min readNews
Caudex or Caudiciform
In short, the caudex of a plant is the stem, the rootstock from where new growth arises. The related term caudiciform, literally meaning stem-like, is sometimes used to mean thick-stemmed. Caudiciform plants or fat plants are a totally unrelated group of plants all having a fat stem or trunk at the base from which the stems grow.
Caudex Extravaganza, Collectors Items for Plant lovers. Caudex or fat-bottomed plants, or one of the hottest trends among plant collectors at the moment.
Handling and Care of the Caudex
Caudiciform plants do not require much maintenance. Because they are able to store water for dry periods, you do not need to water them regularly. They can survive quite well without nurturing them. During the months of active growth, water sufficiently, but only when the soil is completely dry. Avoid watering when the plant is hibernating. Otherwise, it will easily rotten.
Fat Plant Collection
More and more these plants or becoming very popular and extravagant. Especially plant collectors are around the corner to catch their beauties. The following is an introduction to these awesome plants with some well-known varieties. Who knows, maybe one day you will be interested in starting your own 'Fat Plant' collection.
Remarkable Caudex in the Greenhouse
A few weeks ago, Thursd had the pleasure of looking into the greenhouse of Ansu.
Better said Ansu Plantae, part of Ansu, which is responsible for the European marketing of the exclusive Vanda orchids. The focus of Ansu Plantae lies on green plants. And not the everyday varieties, but special ones: unusual varieties or products accompanied by a unique sales concept.
The beginning of ANSU, ( in the past called Anco Vanda), lies in the middle of the last century. In 1955 Sawat Suphachadiwong began cultivating orchids in Bangkok. His son Tamlong helped his father from a young age. In 1994 the Westland grower Steef van Adrichem encounters Tamlong on a visit to Thailand. The two entrepreneurs share a passion for unusual flowers and plants. In 2019 the moment arrived to strengthen the ties to Thailand. The company of Van Adrichem and Helderman, the sole Vanda supplier in Europe, merged with that of Tamlong Suphachadiwong. ANCO became ANSU, after the first letters of the two companies.
Together they started to grow some of the most special plants at this moment: Stephania Erecta.
Caudex Stephania Erecta
Stephania Erecta is one of the highest trending house plants of the last years. Its potato-like tuber lays dormant throughout winter but explodes with growth in spring sending out climbing vines that vigorously fill a space. Its matt green circular leaves are dissected with light green veins in a spoked pattern.
Stephania Erecta is native to Thailand where it is naturally found in sparsely vegetated forests. Additionally, the Stephania family is often known for its use in cooking. The plant may produce aerial tubers during the growing season which can be propagated or used for cooking, please consult a verified recipe to ensure cooking is done correctly.
Stephania Erecta is well suited to a well-draining cactus succulent potting mix with higher levels of iron and aluminum oxide. Avoid watering the tuber, bottom-up watering is a solution to avoid this problem.
In conclusion, Stephania Erecta is a wonderful feature plant for any collection. An essential plant that loves you for not loving it!
Why Grow Caudex Plants?
A Caudex plant is not something you fall in love with immediately. Sometimes you need to get to know them better and develop a taste for them. But the curiosity made Steef, Ed, and Tamlong starting with this collection. They really are fascinating and rare plants. And some are exceptionally attractive specimens.
We grow them in pots in our carefully controlled greenhouses and stage them appropriately to show them off. In addition, the warmth and moisture circumstances give the caudex the opportunity to do well here.
Caudiciform Plants or Caudex Can Be Divided up into Four General Forms
-Phanerophytes are those plants that have an above-ground caudex and a growing center substantially (25cm or more) raised above the soil level.
- Chamaephytes are those plants with above-ground caudices but in which the growing centers are significantly closer to the ground.
- Hemicryptophytes are caudiciform plants with a below-ground caudex, but the growing center is above ground. These plants are cultivated to show off their caudex by raising it up-looks more interesting that way.
- Geophytes are plants that have both the caudex and the growing center underground.
What Are Some Examples of Caudex?
There are way too many to include in this but the following are some of the more commonly grown caudiciform in cultivation.
- Adansonias, or Baobab trees, are one of the largest of all the pachycaul trees.
- Beaucarneas are very well-known and commonly grown caudiciform. There are generally very easy to grow, some doing well indoors and in humid, rainy climates. These are full sun plants, if outdoors, and quite tolerant of abuses that would kill or rot other caudiciform.
- Cyphostemma juttae is fairly common in cultivation and a simple plant to grow. Eventually, these plants develop into enormous caudexes weighing hundreds of pounds and some can grow into small trees. However, most are grown in pots and considered some of the premiere caudiciform species for entering in cactus and succulent shows.
- Encephalartos, to some, are THE collector's caudiciform, and there are over 50 species. Some large plants can go for $10,000 or more
- Jatropha podagrica is probably the one most often recognized as being a caudiciform. In southern California and Florida, some are able to grow this outdoors, but in most climates, this is a pot plant- and a fairly easy and attractive one to start with.
An interesting video behind the scenes in Kew Gardens.
Popular on Instagram and Facebook
When you open your social media, many pictures and movies are coming by from caudex all over the world. They are very popular, but not that easy to get. And rather expansive too. But once you have one, it’s almost like a little baby, you can’t stop taking care of it. Growing and collecting caudiciform can quickly go beyond a hobby to obsession, a common occurrence in the plant collecting world.