How to grow and care for Teddy Bear Vine Indoors

Houseplant, Teddy Bear Vine

Botanical name: Cyanotis kewensis 
synonym Cyanotis beddomei
Family: Commelinaceae

Teddy Bear Vine is a creeping succulent vine ideal for a hanging basket or a groundcover. It bears oval-shaped leaves about 1 in. long which are hairy (velvet-like) with purple underside. It is a slow growing plant reaching a height of 6-8 in. The flowers are about 1 in. mauve colored, blue-violet or pinkish-purple. It is easy to grow and propagate. At a glance the plant resembles a Wandering Jew save for its hairy foliage from which it has earned its common name. The foliage in Cyanotis kewensis (Teddy Bear Vine) bears rusty brown hairs while Cyanotis somaliensis (Pussy Ears) which is native to Somalia, has larger leaves and the hairs are pale grey. Teddy Bear Vine (Cyanotis kewensis) is native to South Africa.

How to Grow Teddy Bear Vine

Light

Teddy Bear Vine grows best in bright indirect light. Some morning sunshine is beneficial to enhance leaf color. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Water

Water Teddy Bear Vine liberally and allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering in cold weather. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead to rotting. Ensure that the soil is free-draining and that the pot has a drainage hole. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth with a minimum of 130C is ideal for Teddy Bear Vine. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Moderate air humidity is adequate for Teddy Bear Vine. Employ these techniques to raise humidity for the plant especially where the air is too dry.

Feeding

Feed Teddy Bear Vine on a weak balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal. Find out more on how to feed houseplants.

Pruning

To encourage a compact bushy growth and to prevent Teddy Bear Vine from becoming leggy, regularly pinch off the growing tips. The stems become leggy with age; cutback the stems to rejuvenate new growth. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Teddy Bear Vine at the beginning of growing season when the plant becomes root-bound. Use rich, free-draining, sandy soil and a pot one size larger than the previous one. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging which can lead to rotting and eventual death of the plant.

How to Propagate Teddy Bear Vine

Teddy Bear Vine can be propagated by division or from stem cuttings at the beginning of the growing season.

Propagating Teddy Bear Vine by Division
Take out the Teddy Bear Vine from its pot and carefully divide the plant into several sections. Ensure each section has adequate roots. Pot up these sections in individual pots in moist free-draining soil. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole. Place the set up in a cool shaded place. Maintain the soil moist until the plant is well established.

Propagating Teddy Bear Vine from Stem Cuttings
Take a 3-4 in. stem cutting from a healthy Teddy Bear Vine. Ensure each cutting has at least 2-3 nodes. Insert the cutting in moist, free-draining soil. Place the set up in a warm shaded place. Maintain the soil moist until the new plant is well established.

Common Problems in Growing Teddy Bear Vine

  • Brown and shrivelled leaf tips
  • Brown and shrivelled leaf tips in Teddy Bear Vine are an indication of too dry air. Employ these techniques to raise humidity for the plant especially when the air is too dry.

  • Limp stems and yellow, spotted leaves
  • Limp stems and yellow, spotted leaves in Teddy Bear Vine are caused by underwatering. Water Teddy Bear Vine liberally and allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings but reduce watering in cold weather.

  • Bare spindly growth
  • The causes of bare spindly growth in Teddy Bear Vine are too little light, too little water or inadequate feeding. Ensure the plant receive bright filtered light. Water liberally while allowing the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out. Feed the plant on a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing season. However, the stems become leggy with age; cutback the stems to rejuvenate new growth.

  • Root-rot
  • Root-rot in Teddy Bear Vine is caused by overwatering under low temperature. Reduce watering in the cold season season and ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Teddy Bear Vine are Aphids and Spider Mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants.

Toxicity

Teddy Bear Vine (Cyanotis kewensis) is non-toxic to humans and pets. The plants are safe to grow indoors.

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