Gerrardanthus macrorhizus, commonly known as Bigfoot, is a very interesting and popular pot plant native to southern Africa. It is a deciduous caudiciform vine that forms a very large caudex up to up to 16 inches (40 cm) in diameter. The caudex resembles a granite rock. The leaves are a medium dark green in an ivy-shaped form. Bigfoot is dioecious, having male and female flowers on separate plants. The flowers are small, orchid-like and golden yellow. If a female flowers is fecundated, it is followed by a flask-shaped, brownish, dry capsule dehiscing at the top.
The name "macrorhizus" comes from the Greek, meaning "big root".
Young plants make interesting hanging basket subjects. They are relatively easy to grow, and develop rapidly a nice caudex, provided that they get abundant water and fertilizer in summer and a pot large enough. It is also good in rock and succulent gardens, especially at the back edge climbing a fence or wall or even a trellis or arbor.
The vine can be placed in direct sunlight, but the caudex should stay in the shade. Place Bigfoot under a shelter to keep it out of the rain and bring it inside when it starts getting too cold.
Bigfoot is one of the most hardy plants you can get. It will survive temperatures between 30 and 95 ⁰F (-2 and 35 ⁰C). Still, it will flourish at a temperature around 80 ⁰F (25 ⁰C).
This plant with its cucumber heritage can survive long periods of time in drought, but can use a bit of extra water in the summer, around once a week. The only danger here is if water can't drain from the pot, which can result in rotting of the caudex. It requires excellent drainage. As a substrate, cactus mix will be suitable.
Light, regular fertilizing will keep you plants healthy and growing strong.
Bigfoot is propagated by seed or cuttings. Both male and female plants are needed to set seed. Seeds do not store well, so sow as soon as possible.
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This popular garden plant is hiding a secret – it isn’t a true geranium. Garden geraniums, also known as annual geraniums, are actually from the genus Pelargonium. Originating in South Africa, the garden geranium made its way to North America from France in 1786. Thomas Jefferson’s first geranium cuttings soon multiplied to generations of gardeners as they were passed to friends and family.
Most areas of the United States can grow geraniums as an annual. They can even be grown as perennials in extremely warm areas, such as the southern coastal areas of California. Many dedicated gardeners over-winter their geranium plants indoors for replanting in the spring. Some even grow geraniums indoors as houseplants all year long. The geranium is a truly versatile plant.
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Flower gardening can become a passion it can also be overwhelming. There are millions of plants to choose from and even more ways to combine them. Rome wasn't built in a day—and its gardens sure weren't either. Start small, and don't worry about making mistakes. Next year you can move, pull out, or dig up what didn't work this year, and you can always embrace what did well. You'll find a garden style and plants that make you happy, and the discovery of what exactly that is can be an unexpected pleasure.
Last Updated: February 12, 2021 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Harmony Corelitz. Harmony Corelitz is a Plant Specialist and the Operations Manager at Plants and Friends, a plant shop and nursery based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Harmony grew up helping her parents run their family business in plant maintenance and interior plantscaping. She holds a BA in Literature and Spanish from the University of San Francisco. Harmony specializes in indoor plant care and interior plant design. She started her pop-up plant and vintage home goods shop called Younger Child and has helped Plants and Friends grow and expand to two locations.
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A beautiful holiday plant (botanically known as Schlumbergera or Zygocactus), the Christmas Cactus unsurprisingly blooms at Christmas and also sometimes around Easter time if cared for properly. A month prior to Christmas you will be able to watch the tips of the leaves beginning to grow. The tips grow darker as each day passes, until a bud forms. At Christmas time, as if by magic, the buds open to a beautiful flower that will add color and warmth to any holiday season.