Growing Grape Ivy: How To Care For Cissus Rhombifolia

Grape Ivy, formerly known as Cissus rhombifolia, is a member of the grape family but with a shape similar to other ivy ornamental plants.

The species is now called Cissus Alata (SIS-us a-LAY-tuh).

Growing Cissus RhombifoliaPin

“Cissus” from the Greek word “kissos,” means “ivy,” and “alata” means “winged” in Latin. Each core leaflet is surrounded by smaller leaflets that resemble wings.

The old species name “rhombifolia” refers to the diamond-shaped (or rhombus-shaped) leaves.

Grape Ivy grows wild throughout North and South America’s tropics, from Mexico to Bolivia, where it grows in cascading vines up to 10’ feet long.

These plants are easy to grow and make wonderful interior potted and hanging plants. 

The plant grows well in low light and medium temperatures and requires little water in the home.

Grape Ivy grows outdoors in some parts of the southern United States and makes a beautiful climbing plant for trellises, pergolas, and functional groundcover.

Cissus Alata is an excellent choice if you want a rich foliage plant to create a beautiful appearance with minimal effort.

Even in challenging low-light conditions, such as commercial workplaces and smaller home offices, these attractive, low-maintenance plants grow quickly and provide a refreshing reminder of nature.

The Cissus Alata plant earned the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit.

Moreover, Cissus Alata plant is known by several common names, including:

  • Grape Ivy
  • Venezuela treebine
  • Oak Leaf Ivy
  • Grape Leaf Ivy

Quick Facts On Cissus Rhombifolia

  • Family: Vitaceae
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Temperature: Moderate temperature
  • Water: Dry the top layer of soil before watering
  • Fertilizer: Fertilize once per year during the growing season
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • Common Problems: Leaf spots, mealybugs, spider mites, mildews, scales, falling leaves

Cissus Alata Care

How Big Do Grape Ivy Plants Grow?

Cissus Alata plants can climb up to 10′ feet long, although if grown inside, that size is uncommon.

The maximum vine height indoors is usually 5′ feet.

When Do Grape Ivy Plants Flower? Are The Flowers Fragrant?

Cissus Alata plants produce small fuzzy green clusters in the springtime, followed by berries during summer. 

Grape Ivy produces little flowers and berries when grown outdoors, but it rarely blossoms when kept as an indoor plant.

The flowers have a faint fragrance, if at all. 

What Are The Lighting Needs And Temperature Requirements?

If planted indoors, Cissus Alata plants do well when placed within 8′ or 9′ feet of a reasonably well-lit window.

If necessary, add fluorescent light or grow lights for even better results.

Cissus Alata plants do not fare well in temperatures over 80° degrees Fahrenheit. 

Therefore, maintaining temperatures between 68° and 82° degrees Fahrenheit is crucial to its success. 

Temperatures below this range or above tend to stunt the plant’s growth.

How And When To Water And Fertilize Cissus Rhombifolia?

Allow the top layer of soil to dry slightly between waterings to avoid over-watering. Root rot is common if you allow the plant to sit in water.

To humidify the air surrounding a potted Cissus, place it on a bed of stones with water (without touching the pot’s base). Also, mist hanging basket frequently.

To maintain color and encourage growth, use a liquid fertilizer consistently.

However, no amount of feeding will encourage significant flowering.

The blooms of this plant tend to be an innocuous green similar to the leaf color, blending into the foliage and rarely found on cultivated plants.

Once a season, feed plants with an African violet fertilizer or a houseplant fertilizer. 

You’ve provided enough fertilizer if the leaves are still bright green. If they become pale or yellow, give them an extra feeding.

What Is The Best Soil For Cissus Rhombifolia And When Should You Transplant?

Soil considerations are critical since the root systems need efficient aeration.

The best solution for Grape Ivy houseplant care is a mix of peat with particles like bark, perlite, Styrofoam, and calcined clay.

This potting mix will help retain water while still allowing for good drainage.

Because the roots of these plants develop slowly, repot only once a year (usually in the spring).

Does Cissus Alata Need Special Grooming Or Maintenance?

Pruning Grape Ivy plants produces healthier foliage. However, if the plant gets barren or lanky, cut the plant back to approximately 6″ inches above the soil level.

To create lush foliage and a bushy appearance, pinch back all of the growth tips in the spring.

How To Propagate Grape Ivy?

Like its grapevine cousins, Grape leaf ivy can be grown by cuttings in water or well-prepared soil. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Clip off a vine tip about 6” inches long with a few (3 to 6) leaves, much like any other vine.
  • Submerge the cutting in water (and change frequently) until roots appear (4 to 6 weeks) or plant directly in well-drained soil.
  • Make sure the potting material you select has good drainage and aeration. For example, peat moss or coco coir, combined with particle matter such as perlite, bark, calcined clay, or fragments of Styrofoam, makes a nice mix.
  • The mix needs to hold enough water to encourage root growth while draining well to avoid root rot.
  • A nice orchid mix is sufficient if you don’t feel comfortable making your mix.

Oak Leaf Ivy Pests And Diseases

Oak Leaf Ivy plants are resistant to most pests and diseases. However, overwatering is usually the cause of many diseases and problems.

As long as you maintain an adequate watering schedule, your Grape Ivy plant should not have problems with the following:

  • Mealybugs
  • Spider mites
  • Plant scale bugs
  • Powdery mildew
  • Rotting roots

If you have these issues, prune the affected areas first. Then, repot in fresh soil.

Next, gently mist your Oak Leaf Ivy with a Neem oil mixture, and then adjust the watering schedule for consistent watering. 

Is The Grape Ivy Plant Considered Invasive?

Grape Ivy is a resilient plant that is simple to grow. However, it has the potential to become aggressive and cover a large area in a short period.

Grape Ivy often covers the entire building, including the windows and doors, when grown as a wall cover. As a result, prune them at regular intervals. 

Then, pull out the vines individually rather than pulling an established Grape Ivy plant from the wall.

Use glyphosate in late summer to aid in the removal of the plant. The plant will die within a week or two. 

Another option is spraying white vinegar on the trailers and the foliage to promote death. 

Suggested Uses For Venezuela Treebine

If you give Venezuela Treebine a trellis, it will climb to create a living wall, room divider, or upright accent.

Because it is so easy to grow, you can put it in almost any room in your house that gets medium light, including dining rooms and living rooms.

Venezuela Treebine plants also grow outdoors (though it prefers partial shade) and make an excellent ground cover or climbing plant for trellises and pergolas. 

The plant’s tendrils have disks that help the plant stick to surfaces like walls, trellises, and tree trunks.

However, wooden walls can acquire mold and get damaged over time. Do not grow Grape Ivy on painted or siding-clad walls because the suckers will damage the paint.