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The Ribbon Plant

Homalocladium

No matter how long you’ve been around plants, there’s always something new to discover. Here’s another unusual plant that arrived this week:

The Ribbon Plant – also known as Ribbon Bush, Centipede Plant or even (as likely named by some kid in high school biology class) Tapeworm Plant.

Related to rhubarb and buckwheat, it’s placed in the shrub category and is also listed as a succulent. Around here, it will grow 3 to 4 feet tall, but in warmer climates can reach 10 feet.

This particular plant came in with the Homalocladium Platycladum name attached, but you’ll also find it listed under a variety of other names which are pretty much unpronounceable as well. Muehlenbeckia platyclados appears to be the most promisingly accurate of the lot.

It’s an easy care plant – grow it in sun to part shade with rich soil with good drainage. It can handle a light frost, but it’s not hardy here, so you might want to grow it in a container that can be brought in over the winter.

Grow this for the unusual form. What you see in the picture are stems. The plant does make small leaves, but they only appear occasionally on the new growth. The segmented stems and are flat, smooth and durable. They branch out and weave their way up eerily, forming a tall, bushy mass of ribbons. And when grown in bright light, it will produce tiny white flowers and attractive, but just as tiny, red fruit.

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