Cocculus carolinus, or Carolina Snailseed, is a deciduous vine native to Oklahoma and most of the SE United States. Leaves are dark green and typically heart-shaped to 4 inches long and 4 inches wide, with sometimes significant variation in leaf shape. The vine itself will reach about 12 feet with a 4- to 6-foot spread. I believe it is under utilized in landscapes in Oklahoma. They are hardy from USDA zone 5-9.
Blooming Time: Spring. The flowers are very small and inconspicuous. These mature into showy fruits in late summer-fall, forming bright red ¼ inch berries.
Culture: Cocculus carolinus need partial shade and moderately wet soil conditions. When grown in the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The plant should be kept moist at all times during the growing season. Fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer. It does get quite large in pots, so some trimming is needed to keep it within bounds. Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
Propagation: Cocculus carolinus is propagated by cutting of half-ripened wood or by seed. The seed need cold stratification of 3 months. Seeds germinate in 21-30 days at 68° F.
Cocculus carolinus was featured as Plant of the Week September 28-October 4, 2001.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.