Hydnophytum (Ant plant/Maze plant) - Expert tips
In this article
- How to Care for Hydnophytum (Ant plant/Maze plant) - Expert Tips for Thriving Plants
- Hydnophytum care tips
- Light and placement for Hydnophytum
- Temperature & humidity
- Repotting & soil
- Hydnophytum propagation
- Most common pests on Hydnophytum
- Is Hydnophytum poisonous for your pets or children?
- Buy your new Hydnophytum online at PLNTS.com
How to Care for Hydnophytum (Ant plant/Maze plant) - Expert Tips for Thriving Plants
Hydnophytum plants are the hidden stars of the plant world! They might not be a common sight in most households just yet, but they sure deserve to be. With their unique, stunning appearance and their easy-care nature, they're truly something special.
We always love it when animals and plants collaborate to survive by protecting each other, right? Then you will love the story of the Hydnophytum family! This genus of epiphytic plants originates from Southeast Asia, Northern Australia and the Pacific region. These species grow on trunks and tree branches.
They got some fun nicknames - "Ant Plant" and "Maze Plant". Why? Well, in their natural habitat, their swollen stems (the caudex) are often inhabited by ant colonies, hence the "Ant Plant". The plant forms an interesting hollow caudex, a perfect nest for ants. The ants will protect the plant, and in return the ants get a nice shelter and sap. They also provide defence and prevent the plant's tissue from being damaged. But don't worry! Your Hydnophytum houseplant won't be bringing any ants indoors. The caudex in your homegrown plant will be empty.
And the name "Maze Plant" comes from the intricate network of tunnels inside the caudex that the ants use, making it look like a mini maze! Isn't that just wild and wonderful?
Ant Plant Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully
- Look for a spot with indirect bright light. It loves being near a window with filtered light. Just avoid direct sunlight, which can cause leaf burn.
- Hydnophytum is sensitive to overwatering. Always touch the soil before watering. If the soil is still very moist on the upper half, wait a day or two before watering it again.
- Always water directly into the soil, avoiding the caudex to prevent it from rotting. This caudex is a chunky stem or trunk that you often see at the bottom of some plants.
- They love high humidity. Use a humidifier or place the plant on a tray filled with pebbles and a bit of water to increase the humidity around your Hydnophytum.
- Make sure your soil is epiphyte-friendly. These types of soil are well-drained and airy. That's just like how Hydnophytum plants would live in their native environment.
- Make sure it has enough room to grow. The caudex needs space to expand without causing the pot to crack or break. Choose a pot that's slightly larger than the caudex.
- Repot it every after 2-3 years. It's time to move it to a bigger pot when roots start growing out of drainage holes.
- When repotting a Hydnophytum, the swollen base (caudex) should primarily remain above the soil surface. It can be partially buried, but a significant portion should be exposed.
- Be Patient. Growth of the caudex can be slow. It's important to be patient and not overcompensate with water or fertiliser, as this can do more harm than good.
- Keep an eye out for pests. Hydnophytum plants can attract pests like mealybugs and spider mites. Take care of any of these with neem oil or a mild insecticide.
Hydnophytum care tips
Light and placement for Hydnophytum
Hydnophytum grows best in bright but indirect sunlight. The best spot would be near a north or east-facing window, where it gets enough light but not direct sun. If you want to put it near a sunny window, make sure there are some curtains that shade those intense sun rays.
Expert tip! These beauties do very well under artificial light sources, such as fluorescent or LED lights. Therefore, they are an excellent choice for offices with many LED lights.
They can also handle lower light levels very well. Although, if the plant is kept in a location that's too dark, it can lead to leggy growth as the plant stretches towards the light.
As a tropical plants, the Ant Plants do appreciate constant moisture, but it's important to avoid keeping its soil too wet. The best time to water your Hydnophytum plant is when the top layer of soil feels dry to the touch.
Expert tip! Be careful to water directly in the soil to keep the caudex dry and prevent it from rotting. Always let the top of the soil dry between watering sessions because the caudex can store some water.
It's always better to be underwater than overwater this plant species. It usually needs watering once or twice a week, depending on how hot it is and how fast it dries out. It might be a sign of overwatering if you notice yellow leaves or browning and wilting.
Ant Plants are light feeders but will appreciate some extra nutrients during the growing season. This will help your Hydnophytum to grow faster and healthier. We advise you to give your green baby some PLNTS nutrition houseplant fertiliser once a month!
Temperature & humidity
Since Hydnophutum plants grow in tropical environments, warm and humid conditions are perfect for them. Keep the temperature around 18°C to 24°C and humidity levels around 50-70%, and your Hydnophutum will be one happy plant, living its best life!
Repotting & soil
Hydnophutum plants need repotting every after 2-3 years. They love to be a little bit rootbound and do not like too big pots. Once roots start to grow out of drainage holes, it’s time to move it to one size bigger pot! Choose a soil that is well-draining made especially for epiphytic houseplants. We recommend using PLTNS epiphytes potting mix to support its healthy epiphytic lifestyle!
The easiest way to grow Hydnophytum is with seed. Hydnophytum seeds can start to sprout whether they're in light or darkness. However, make sure to keep them on the surface of the soil and avoid burying them too deep, as this could prevent them from germinating successfully.
Good news for those who can't wait - Hydnophytum seeds can start sprouting as quickly as a week after you sow them! But keep in mind growing the plant's special feature, the tuber or caudex (that's the big round stem), will take a bit longer to pop up. The seed grows pretty rapidly if you keep them moist constantly.
Another way to propagate is to make stem cuttings. The stem can root and grow a new plant, but there will be no tuber or caudex with this method.
Most common pests on Hydnophytum
Ant plants are not sensitive to a lot of pests, but scale and mealybugs can attack your plant, so be aware to check often the leaves and branches of your Hydnophytum to prevent any infestation.
If you think you saw something going on in your plant, but you are unsure what it is, then you can check our PLNTSdoctor page to recognise and eliminate your plant pests! If you are interested in biological pest control, you can take a look at our blog: ‘Which natural and biological pest control against which pest?’.
Is Hydnophytum poisonous for your pets or children?
Hydnophytum are beautiful plants, but sadly poisonous for cats, dogs and children. Moreover, it’s better to prevent your children from touching her due to the berries they can grow. Be aware that the berries shouldn’t be ingested, and you must be careful of that.