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How to Grow Cissus — Grape Ivy

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Cissus–commonly called Grape ivy–is an evergreen tropical vine with dark green foliage. Leaves are divided into diamond-shaped leaflets. Grape ivy is a favorite houseplant. In semi-tropical regions is can be trained on a trellis or pergola.

Cissus are tendril-climbing shrubs from tropical regions. They are mostly grown indoors in temperate regions but can be grown outdoors in tropical and subtropical regions.

Cissus is a genus of about 350 species of evergreen perennials, shrubs, and climbers. Cissus is native to forest margins and thickets in tropical regions worldwide.

Get to know Cissus

  • Plant type: Evergreen perennial tropical vine
  • Growing Zones and range: 10-11
  • Hardiness: Houseplant in most regions; used as a vine or groundcover in warm regions
  • Optimal growint temperature: day 68° to 75°F (20°-24°C), night 60° to 65°F (16°-18°C)
  • Height and width: Grape ivy grows to 10 feet (3m) long
  • Foliage: Tendril-climbing vines to 10 feet long, sometimes leaves are fuzzy underneath.
  • Flowers: Insignificant 4-petlaed flowers
  • Uses: Houseplant, hanging baskets; in tropical regions grow on a trellis or pergola
  • Common name: Grape Ivy
  • Botanical name: Cissus spp.
  • Family: Vitaceae
  • Origin: Tropicla and subtropical regions around the world

Where to plant Cissus

  • Grow Cissus in medium to high light; keep grape ivy out of the direct sun.
  • Pot Cissus in an all-purpose mix that is well-drained.
  • Outdoors grow Cissus humus-rich, well-drained soil.
Grape ivy, Cissus rhombifolia
Grape ivy, Cissus rhombifolia

When to plant Cissus

  • Set Cissus outdoors any time of the year in tropical regions.

How to water and feed Cissus

  • Soak plants just as the soil dries. Allow soil to dry out between soaking. Cissus needs medium humidity.
  • Fertilize Cissus twice a month in spring and summer, use 10-10-10 fertilizer.
  • Pinch off side shoots frequently to encourage dense growth.

Cissus care

  • Repot Cissus as needed.

Growing Cissus as a houseplant

  • Most Cissus grow best in bright light, but they can adapt to limited light.
  • Average room temperature and humidity are best.
  • Cissus should be fertilized once in spring and once in summer.

Cissus pests and diseases

  • Cissus is vulnerable to attack by mealybugs and spider mites.
  • Cissus is susceptible to salt buildup.

Cissus propagation

  • Take stem cuttings at any time or grow new plants from seed.

Cissus varieties to grow

  • Cissus antarctica, kangaroo vine has shiny, leathery leaves.
  • C. discolor, begonia treebine. Velvety leaves similar to Rex begonia.
  • C. incisa, marine ivy. Heavily toothed, fleshy leaves.
  • C. quadrangula. Climbing succulent with shiny green leaves.
  • C. rhombifolia, grape ivy. Oval, leathery, bright green leaveshas large.
  • C. striata, dwarf grape ivy. Compact grower with small five-lobed leaves.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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