Kangeroo Vine/Cissus Antarctica
The evergreen Kangaroo Vine is one of the most adaptable of all foliage houseplants. It comes originally from Queensland and New South Wales and is surprisingly successful in the home, where it will tolerate dry air and very little light. In warm regions of California, it is grown effectively as a ground-cover or screen plant outdoors. The simple leaves are rich green, very glossy and up to 10cm (4in) long, while the hairy stems can extend to a vigorous 2m (6ft). The Kangaroo Vine can be enticed to create a living curtain if the growing conditions are suitable. It climbs by means of forked tendrils and should be given support if a climbing habit is required. Alternatively, Cissus antarctica makes a fine basket plant, particularly if the growing tips are pinched out regularly to encourage bushiness.
Cissus antarctica prefers a temperature range of 5-18°C (40-65°F), but will withstand temperatures to 0°C, (32°F) for short periods. If the temperature rises beyond 20°C (68°F), provide the plant with plenty of ventilation.
This Cissus is perhaps the most shade-tolerant of the genus: light shade is better and will result in a plant of more balanced growth.
Provide plenty of water in the Summer, allowing thesurface to dry before giving the next thorough watering; periods of dryness are tolerated during Winter, and plants grown in cooler conditions will prefer to be kept drier.
This Cissus needs no additional humidity and should not be misted unless temperatures are very high for long periods of time. If necessary, lightly mist the plant’s foliage once a week.
Feed established plants every 3-4 months, using a proprietary houseplant feed at half strength.
Overcrowded plants can be repotted in Spring: use a free-draining, loam-based compost (or a peat-based type for basket plants). Trim back any leggy growth at the same time.
Peat-based composts are very difficult to remoisten: if hanging baskets dry out, remoisten the compost by standing the basket in about 13cm (5in) of water. Leave for 30 minutes: add more water if necessary and leave again – the compost is moist once the surface glistens. Drain for 30 minutes, before hanging.
Leaf loss may occur if Winter temperatures are low: in Spring, repot and trim off any shrivelled stems, then regrowth should occur.
Rot: Avoid over-watering this plant in Winter, otherwise parts of the plant may rot.
Red Spider Mite may be a problem: trim away and dispose of affected growth, then treat the plant with an insecticide once new growth appears.