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A living curtain

November 20, 2010

Here and there is Chiang Mai (northern Thailand) you can see living curtains, i.e. a climber with long aerial roots. ‘Maan Bali’ is one local name. It is lacking from most tropical gardening books, and one book gives the wrong name (Cissus nodosa). The correct name should be Cissus verticillata (=C. sicyoides), Vitaceae. This species from tropical America is a relative of the grapevine (Vitis vinifera). The flowers are inconspicuous and whitish, and the fruits are small and black. The aerial roots demand some grooming, such as cutting back to belly button level once they hit ground. This is to avoid the roots from becoming too thick. The plant may die back a bit in the dry and cool season, but keep watering and remove dead and dry roots.

Eric Danell

At Dokmai Garden we grow C. verticillata as a living curtain near the bathroom.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. lin permalink
    June 4, 2011 8:04 PM

    hi, i’m growing this plant using fish wire as a support. will it be lasting/can the fish wire support the root when it growth mature? besides, i’m also planting another one on a flower pot. i wonder how far it can growth?

    • June 4, 2011 9:40 PM

      A stainless wire, sometimes coated with plastic, can support a climber. if it is very thin it may cut into the stem when the plant grows heavy. Steelbars is the safest and most longlasting option. It grows quickly and many meters up if support is provided. The size of your support will determine the size of the plant. It may spread from seeds and start climbing trees. Good luck!


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