In the houseplant growing game, it’s important to shake things up from time to time.
So if you’ve ever looked at your houseplants and thought enough with this leafy emphasis, time to show off a pretty stem for once, then might I suggest a tortoise plant?
Not that the leaves and flowers aren’t pretty – they absolutely are.
But the first thing about D. elephantipes that catches your eye is its massive, rounded, and plated stem, which definitely resembles a tortoise’s shell. Minus the vining shoots growing out the top, of course.
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And just like with actual tortoises, proper care and nurturing is essential for tortoise plants to thrive.
As you can imagine, these guys are quite tough, but thriving – instead of merely surviving – is what’ll really make them beautiful.
So that’s why we whipped up this guide for you. By the end of it, you’ll have learned the wonderful secrets of tortoise plants, and you’ll be well-prepared to parent one in your home.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
What Are Tortoise Plants?
Native to the Cape Province of South Africa, Dioscorea elephantipes belongs to the largest genus of the Dioscoreaceae family.
Containing over 600 species, the vast Dioscorea genus of flowering tuberous plants is distributed worldwide, with edible yams such as D. trifida and D. alata being its most famous and commercially valuable members.
Hardy in USDA Zones 9b or warmer, the tortoise plant – aka elephant’s foot – has an enlarged, bulbous, aboveground stem known as a caudex, which provides support and stores water and nutrients.
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