Formerly pond boy
For some reason this makes me think of Katamari Domici...
Wow, that's a nice looking plant
What conditions does it need? Can it tolerate having a lot of water?
during growing season it requires "regular watering" but in its dormant season, it requires little water. It will rot if given too much. I plan on growing it in a shady part of my south window and treating it like the rest of my cacti and succulents. Its easy to grow from seed, its such a slow grower, I wanted to get a head start.
Originally Posted by SFLguy
Great info page, and they sell specimens as well, but they are out of stock. I emailed them a few weeks back and they said to check in mid summer.
I have Dioscorea mexicana (= D. macrostachya), a single plant, and a bunch of seedlings of D. sylvatica. D. sylvatica seems to be a very variable species, and some forms adopt the "Turtle shell" appearance of D. mexicana and D. elephantipes. Some are more irregular. The seller of the D. sylvatica seeds (Seedhunt, plus Seedhunt's source, whom I know) claims that it is much faster growing than D. elephatipes and D. mexicana. I think they are right. I got quarter-size caudexes/tubers from seeds planted last June, smaller ones planted later (September?). I would strongly recommend this species (and this source) if anyone wants to try. Their seeds are cheap, they send more than they claim, and germination is quick and very high. The only drawback is that the caudexes might (?) end up more irregular shaped than the "classic" shape. I also have seedlings to trade, if anyone is interested, but honestly, the Seedhunt seeds are so phenomenal I would recommend them first. $4.50 for 50 plants, quickly, is not bad. Here's a link:
Here's a seedling of D. sylvatica, in November, that was started in June:
That said, I would still recommend D. elephantipes and D. mexicana if one wants to be sure to get the "tortoise shell" shape, as I don't know what this variety of D. sylvatica will end up looking like. However, they are expensive plants (my D. mexicana was an incredibly generous gift) and are slow growers.
I also once had a 6 inch caudex/tuber of D. mexicana stolen by squirrels when I lived in Los Angeles. It is a yam, and they decided it was food...
Here's my Dioscorea mexicana, tonight... I don't know if it's growing right now, because it's pretty dark. However, I suspect it's dormant at the moment.
It's in a 6 inch pot. Did the tuber grow last year? That's not clear to me. It did send out some nice vegetative growth. I wish I could put it in the ground, as I think it would grow more quickly.
Great info Randy, thanks! Maybe ill pick up some D. Mexicana and D. sylvatica seeds to experiment. I definitely dont have room for a ton of plants, but Id be interested in germinating them, taking the strongest ones, and selling the other seedlings.
Do you think a very bright north window would suffice for this genus since they like shade? It gets strong evening sun and good light all day.
I don't have enough light from windows to grow anything inside with natural light, so I started seedlings under lights. I'm in the process of moving pretty much all of these into individual pots (if not already) and outside. I don't have full sun anywhere outside. They still seem to go dormant inside at the appropriate time, even when grown under lights that are on 24/7. I don't know how they figure that out. My D. mexicana has been outside since I got it.
However, I'm pretty sure people grow these inside in sunny windows, and they grow well. I don't know how much in terms of less sunny windows they can take. I'm pretty sure Bihrmann used to grow all of his plants in windows. He has photos of his D.mexicana in a window, but I can't tell how much sun.
For D. elephantipes he says for sun: "Medium-Maximum".
Here are some photos of D. mexicana seedlings: close to 100% germination, in a couple weeks. The second batch of seedlings:
Once they started to vine I transplanted them. Here are some of the seedlings (unfortunately the photo is fairly low resolution):