Smilax - Growing Guide

Growing Smilax aspera/discotis

This is an evergreen scrambling and climbing plant from West China that enjoys growing through other plants. With us it is quite at home in amongst a Clematis cirrhosa var. balerica and an Olearia solandri ‘Aurea’.

S. aspera has prickly stems and ovate glossy leaves blotched grey which are heart shaped at the base. Its growing tendrils enable it to support itself. The flowers are tiny and an insignificant pale greenish colour in small racemes in autumn but the red fruits are better. It is best grown for its foliage effect which is better in full sun than in shade.

If not pruned back to ground level from time to time over the years you will end up with a large dense tangle of thorny stems. You can then appreciate the zig-zag stems as they grow away again.

Easily propagated from new growth cuttings.


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