What are the characteristics of the Cissus?

Do you need a woody and climbing plant that grows fast and is also very resistant? So what you’re looking for is some kind of Cissus. This genus is made up of rapidly developing lianas that need very little to be healthy.

But beware, that they are almost indestructible does not mean that they are immortal. If you want to have them for many years, then we are going to tell you what their characteristics are so that it is easy for you to identify them, and their care.

Origin and characteristics

Cissus sicyoides// Image – Wikimedia/ Federico.dePalma.Medrano

The genus Cissus is made up of about 350 species of woody vines native to Africa, South Asia, Australia, New Guinea, and the American continent. It has a fairly fast growth rate until it reaches – as long as they have support – between 1 to 10 meters in height. 

Its leaves are evergreen, simple to ovate-oblong, green in color. Its flowers are grouped in inflorescences, and are 1-3cm long. The fruits are globose, measure about 15mm in diameter and are usually purple.

Main species

The best known are:

  • Cissus antarctica: it is a native species from the coasts of New South Wales and from the Liverpool Chain to Queensland. The leaves are simple, with serrated margins, and it does not resist cold.
  • Cissus rhombifolia – Now called Cissus alata. It is native to gallery forests from Mexico to Bolivia. The leaves are composed of three green leaflets and the entire margin. Resists weak frosts.
  • Cissus quadrangularis: It is a native plant of India and Sri Lanka, and reaches a height of 1.5 meters. Its stems have a quadrangular shape – hence the surname – and its leaves are heart-shaped, serrated and 2-4cm wide.


They are used mainly as ornamental plants, to cover walls, walls, etc. However, there are some species, such as C. quadrangularis, that have medicinal properties. In fact, this in particular is tonic and analgesic, and it is used to treat asthma, cough, osteoporosis or hemorrhoids.

What are their cares?

Cissus rhombifolia// Image/ Wikimedia/ Halava

If you want to have a copy, we recommend that you take care of it as follows:

  • Location:
    • Exterior: in semi-shade.
    • Indoor: in a bright room, away from drafts.
  • Watering: about 4-5 times a week in summer, and every 3 or 4 days the rest of the year.
  • Subscriber: in spring and summer, with organic fertilizers.
  • Pruning: in late winter remove dry, diseased or weak stems, and trim the others if they are growing too long.
  • Multiplication: by seeds and stem cuttings in spring.
  • Hardiness: it depends on the species, but most do not withstand frost. If you have any doubts, contact us.

What do you think of these plants?

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