Gerrardanthus macrorhizus (Bigfoot)

Gerrardanthus macrorhizus (Bigfoot)

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Scientific Name

Gerrardanthus macrorhizus Harv. ex Benth. & Hook.f.

Common Names



Gerrardanthus macrorhiza, Gerrardanthus megarhizus, Gerrardanthus portentosa

Scientific Classification

Family: Cucurbitaceae
Tribe: Zanonieae
Genus: Gerrardanthus


Gerrardanthus macrorhizus is a perennial climber with succulent, pumpkin-like caudex up to 16 inches (40 cm) in diameter. The leaves are up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, up to 4.8 inches (12 cm) wide, smooth, alternate, ivy-shaped, dark-green, shiny and prominently veined. The flowers are small, orchid-like and dark brownish-yellow in color. There are male and female plants.


USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Young plants make interesting hanging basket subjects. They are relatively easy to grow and develop rapidly a nice caudex, provided that they get abundant water and fertilizer in summer and a pot large enough. It is also good in rock and succulent gardens, especially at the back edge climbing a fence or wall or even a trellis or arbor.

The vine can be placed in direct sunlight, but the caudex should stay in the shade. Place Bigfoot under a shelter to keep it out of the rain and bring it inside when it starts getting too cold.

Bigfoot is one of the hardiest plants you can get. It will survive temperatures between 30 and 95 ⁰F (-2 and 35 ⁰C). Still, it will flourish at a temperature of around 80 ⁰F (25 ⁰C).

This plant with its cucumber heritage can survive long periods of time in drought but can use a bit of extra water in the summer, around once a week. The only danger here is if water can't drain from the pot, which can result in the rotting of the caudex. It requires excellent drainage. As a substrate, the cactus mix will be suitable… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for a Bigfoot (Gerrardanthus macrorhizus)


Gerrardanthus macrorhizus is native to South Africa (Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal) and Swaziland.


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Family: Cucurbitaceae (koo-ker-bih-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Gerrardanthus (jer-rar-DANTH-us) (Info)
Species: macrorhiza (mak-roh-RY-zuh) (Info)
Synonym:Gerrardanthus macrorhizus
Synonym:Gerrardanthus mogarhiza


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From hardwood heel cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants remove and collect seeds

Seed does not store well sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Plants→Gerrardanthus→Gerrardanthus macrorhizus

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Vine
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial or Dappled Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 9b -3.9 °C (25 °F) to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 11
Plant Height : climbs 15 to 30 feet
Leaves: Deciduous
Fruit: Showy
Other: Interesting looking, odd shaped pods with a hatch at lower tip that opens to release winged seeds
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Brown
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Underground structures: Caudex
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Containers: Suitable for hanging baskets
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Dioecious

Plant Events from our members
tarev On July 6, 2018 Obtained plant
Bought plant from Poot's Cactus Nursery in Ripon, CA
» Post your own event for this plant

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