What is a maze plant / Hydnophytum Papuanum?
The maze plant is a very unique and rare houseplant with a very special look. The plant has a large swollen base called a caudex.
In nature, ants fill the caudex in a symbiotic relationship. The ants provide the insides with an abundance of nutrients through their excrement. In return, the plant allows the ant a hospitable nest to set up base. This is why Hydnophytum Papuanum is often called the ant plant.
The base sports a corridor system of tubes shaped like a maze. This is why Hynophytum Papuanum is also referred to as the maze plant.
How to identify Maze Plant
The maze plant has a distinct and unique look. The stem is a large swollen ball filled with mazes and tubes. It grows vibrant leaves that look like it comes from a succulent.
Maze plant or Hydnophytum Papuanum is a slow-growing plant. You will not need to do much for your plant to thrive and grow into a beautiful houseplant.
On the scale of difficulty, this plant falls on the easier side of the spectrum.
The plant purifies the air and leaves a room with good vibes.
How to care for Hydnophytum Papuanum / Maze Plant
As mentioned before, you do not need to do anything special to take care of your maze plant. Give the plant a normal amount of humidity and temperature. Hydnophytum Papuanum thrives best when watered regularly, but it can survive a long while without water due to its swollen caudex base.
Maze plant does not like excessive sunlight. Give the Hydnophytum Papuanum plant plenty of indirect sunlight. You should place your plant in a north or east-facing window. Move the plant a few feet away, if you want to place it in a south-facing window.
Water requirements for Hydnophytum Papuanum maze plant
Water this plant when the top soil is dry. Stick your finger into the soil to get a good feel. If the top 1 inch is dry, then it is time to water. Water about once a week during summer and spring, and 1-2 times a week in winter and fall.
Make sure not to overwater your maze plant. The Hydnophytum Papuanum is susceptible to root rot when overwatered. To make sure this never happens to your ant plant, only water when the top soil is dry.
Maze plant prefers higher than average humidity, but will also thrive in normal humidity. The plant grows fastest when it can take humidity from the air. Most homes should not present an issue for the maze plant.
If you live in a dry house, you could try a plethora of methods. Place the maze plant in your kitchen or bathroom, as they have more humidity. You could also try misting or placing a tray with water next to your plant.
Fertilizer / Feeding needs
Due to the nature of the maze plant’s slow growth, you don’t need to fertilize often. Feed your plant with a diluted liquid fertilizer once a month during spring and summer.
In nature, the Hydnophytum Papuanum gets fertilized by ant excrement in its maze. Unless you have ants running amok in your house, it will be a good idea to fertilize in summer and spring.
Maze plant flower and seed propagation
When the Hydnophytum Papuanum is mature it can bloom. It produces small white flowers and berries. Inside these berries are two to three seeds that can be propagated. Place the maze plant seeds in wet sphagnum moss for a few weeks, till a caudex has grown. Afterward, you can plant them regularly.
How fast is growth?
The maze plant will grow fastest in height during its first year. The height increase is about 8 inches, from a little seed to a beautiful young plant in a year. After the first year, the plant will grow about 3 inches a year.
Maze plants or Hydnophytum Papuanum will typically grow to 2 feet. To grow your plant the fastest, you will need perfect conditions. Plenty of humidity and a wick for water.
Where to buy
Where is Hydnophytum Papuanum from?
Hydnophytum Papuanum comes from southeast Asia. As the name suggests, it has a connection to Papua island. This plant has spread as far as northern Australia.
Why is Hydnophytum Papuanum called maze plant?
Hydnophytum Papuanum is called maze plant because it has a maze-like corridor inside. In nature the maze houses ants. The plant and the ants live in a symbiotic relationship. The ants drop excrement which fertilizes the plants. The maze design allows for a greater surface area for ants to drop excrements. The corridor also closely mimics ants’ natural habitat of mazes on the ground.
Why is Hydnophytum Papuanum called ant plant?
It is called an ant-plant because the plant typically houses a bunch of ants. Botanics around southeast Asia named the plant because they always found ants living inside their mazes.
Is Maze plant toxic to cats and dogs?
Yes. The Hydnophytum Papuanum is toxic to humans, dogs, and cats. Delicious plants like this have survived in nature by making them toxic. Through evolution, this plant has become toxic for consumption.
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