Pueraria or Ku-zu: tips for planting and care in the open field

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Pueraria or Ku-zu: tips for planting and care in the open field
Pueraria or Ku-zu: tips for planting and care in the open field

Description of the kudzu plant, how to plant and care for ku-dzu in a personal plot, recommendations for reproduction, information for the curious, application, types.

Pueraria can also be found under the names Ku-zu (Kudzu) or Ku-pou. The plant belongs to the legume family (Fabaceae) according to the botanical classification. The native area of ​​its natural growth is the lands of Asia, but it can be found from the foothill regions with a temperate climate in Sikhote-Alin to the tropical regions of Indochina. Pueraria is also spreading further to the west, reaching the Iranian regions. Some species have become invasive in the North American continent and European countries. The genus includes about 10 different species, but some sources list a slightly larger number (about 32). Moreover, 4–5 varieties of similar characteristics are considered subspecies of one type of ku-pou.

Family name Legumes
Growth time Perennial, in our regions can be grown as an annual
Vegetation form Liana
Breeds Seed or vegetative (layering, root suckers, cuttings)
Open ground transplant terms The beginning of June
Agrotechnics of planting Seedlings are placed at a distance of about 0.5 m from each other
Priming Nutritious and well-drained
Soil acidity values, pH 6, 5-7 (neutral)
Illumination level Well-lit sunny location
Humidity level For young seedlings, abundant is needed, the soil should not dry out
Special care rules Regular feeding
Height options About 20-30 m
Flowering period August
Type of inflorescences or flowers Racemose panicle inflorescences
Color of flowers Pink, blue, bright red or purple
Fruit type Bean-filled pod
Fruit color Black when fully ripe
The timing of fruit ripening October
Decorative period Spring-autumn
Application in landscape design As a ground cover, for decorating any vertical structures: columns of gazebos, pergolas or walls
USDA zone 4–8

The genus bears its name thanks to the Swedish scientist Mark Nicholas Puerari (1766-1845), who was engaged in botany and had a medical practice, and also carried out the classification of flora (mainly terrestrial vegetables).

All pueraria are perennials with a tree-like or liana-like vegetative form. Shoots are characterized by the ability to curl well, and even small shoots twine around existing stems, as if supporting them. The growth rate of shoots is very high - 30 cm per day, which contributes to the rapid spread of the specimen. If ku-zu grows in warm climates, then the length of its stems can reach 20-30 m by the end of the second year of growth. Typically, the parameters of the shoots are about 12 m in height with a diameter of about 10-12 cm at the base. Through them, a "crown" is formed, the width of which can reach 3 m.

At the same time, the root system of the plant goes very deep into the soil, its length is often measured by 15 meters, which contributes to the fact that even in rather cold winters the vine can withstand and not completely die.


When grown in a temperate climatic zone, the entire aboveground part of puerraia dies off with the arrival of winter.

The rhizome is made up of tubers with an enviable capacity, somewhat reminiscent of potatoes. They are hidden underground horizontally at a depth of 2-3 meters and are characterized by a diameter of 10-12 cm.That is, it happens that the rhizomes even exceed the weight of the entire aerial part of the ku-pou, varying in the range of 160-180 kg. Like all members of the legume family, the plant is also characterized by the ability to accumulate nitrogen from the air and redirect it to the soil, thereby enriching it.

Climbing shoots, like a blanket, can wrap up any obstacles in their path, such as trees and shrubs, as well as various pillars and even buildings. Therefore, kudzu can usually grow near all kinds of supports, since without them, the stems can only spread over the soil surface. The color of the leaves is rich green. The outlines of leaf plates are somewhat similar to grape or ivy. The size of the foliage is large, the shape is complex with three leaf lobes. The leaves on the sides of the kudzu plate with a pointed apex have an asymmetric arrangement relative to the stem. The surface of the foliage under the fingers is velvety, the reverse side has a slight bluish tint. The terminal leaves also have a sharpening at the tops, but their outlines are in the form of a rhombus.

When flowering, which begins in mid-August, a large number of moth flowers are revealed with a pleasant aroma. The color of the petals in them is blue or purple, but there are varieties with a pink and bright red tint of the corolla. Large racemose panicle inflorescences are collected from the buds. The buds open in it one by one - next. However, the flowering process is very short.

After pollination in October, in place of flowers, fruits ripen, which, like all members of the family, have the appearance of a pod filled with beans. The length of such a flattened pod is 6–8 cm with a width of about 8–10 mm. Seeds compressed at the sides.

It is clear that it is possible to grow ku-dzu as a perennial in areas with a warm climate, and in temperate zones it can act as an annual crop. In this case, one can note the unpretentiousness, but the high decorativeness of such a vine.

Planting and caring for pueraria in the personal plot

Pueraria is growing
  1. Landing place vines need to be picked up well lit, it should also be warm enough and protected from drafts and gusts of wind. However, Pueraria phaseoloides can tolerate light partial shade.
  2. Soil for kudzu needs nutritious and sufficiently hydrated. Acidity values ​​are preferable in the range of pH 6, 5–7, that is, the substrate must be neutral. If the soil on the site is heavy, then river sand must be mixed into it. With a depleted soil mixture, peat crumb and leaf humus are added to it.
  3. Planting a pueraria carried out at a time when return frosts can no longer harm immature seedlings. It is clear that in different regions the timing of planting in open ground will differ, but basically this period falls on the end of spring or early June. Before planting, the seedling should be well inspected and removed all wilted leaves and damaged roots, then all sections are sprinkled with powdered charcoal. Since the plant tends to grow aggressively, then when planting it is worth taking care of limiting the root system. To do this, a layer of roofing material is dug in along the perimeter. Some gardeners plant liana in plastic containers, in which the bottom is knocked out. Watering and mulching is recommended after planting. The latter will help the soil stay moist longer and slow down the growth of weeds. Peat chips or sawdust can act as mulch.
  4. Watering when growing, ku-zu should be abundant and regular. A plant without enough moisture will not be able to develop normally. In this regard, it is especially necessary to pay attention to young seedlings. Regular watering is also required so that the soil never dries up when the weather is long and dry.
  5. Fertilizers in the process of caring for pueraria, it is recommended to use it with the arrival of spring and throughout the entire growing season. To build up the deciduous mass in the first warm months, you can feed the plant with nitrogen-containing preparations (for example, urea). For normal growth, fertilizers are used, which contain calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Complete mineral complexes, such as Kemira-Universal, are often used. Liana responds well to the introduction of organic matter (rotted manure or compost).
  6. General care tips… Since pueraria cannot survive at low temperatures in winter, it is recommended to provide shelter for this time. Especially young plants planted this year will need this. Shelter can be spruce branches or a thick layer of dried foliage. Ku-dzu shoots must be removed from the support, rolled into a ring at the base and covered. Often, roofing material or agrofiber is used for this (non-woven material, such as spunbond or lutrasil). Even in spite of the fact that during the winter the upper (herbaceous - foliage and shoots) parts of the plant may die off, but those that are already in the lignification stage, with the arrival of a new spring, immediately come to life and start growing. After watering, you need to loosen the soil and carry out weeding from weeds. For gardeners, it will be good news that neither pests nor diseases are terrible for ku-pou vines.
  7. Blank this medicinal exotic is carried out depending on which parts you need to get. So the leaf plates are recommended to be torn off at the very beginning of the growing season. They are then dried in shade and in a warm, well-ventilated area. After drying, the material is folded into linen or paper bags and stored in a dark and dry place. Dried foliage can be stored and used for only two years. Flowers should be picked with the arrival of June. Drying is also carried out in dryness and darkness, so that the shade of the petals does not fade and the beneficial properties are not lost. Ventilation is also required there. Flowers suitable for use only throughout the year. Only with the arrival of November can you dig up root tubers. The dug roots are washed under running cold water, then transferred to a warm room and dried thoroughly. The harvested and dried root material remains usable for three years.
  8. The use of kudzu in landscape design. Since the creeping shoots of vines are able to cover any even very high obstacles in their path, then ku-dzu should be planted next to the walls, for their decoration, on talus and cliffs, since the root system is quite developed, this will help preserve the soil from erosion … You can hide unsightly garden structures (sheds or toilets) under the deciduous mass. Since the roots are fleshy, vines are grown to obtain starch from the tubers. Bark fibers are characterized by increased strength and have long been used to make fabrics with enviable fineness and reliability. The foliage can be fed to pets.

Read also about the cultivation of a shark fish in the open field.

Recommendations for breeding kudzu

Pueraria in the ground

In order to grow such a beautiful and no less useful liana on your site, it is necessary to use both seed and vegetative propagation methods. In the latter case, you can engage in rooting cuttings, layering and jigging root suckers.

  1. Reproduction of kudzu using seeds. This method can be used in areas where there is a possibility of beans ripening, namely in the southern regions. However, it should be remembered that using this method, you can get a plant that will lose all parental characteristics. Sowing should be done in early spring. Before sowing, pre-planting preparation is performed - the seed is soaked for a day in warm water.Germination is best done in a home greenhouse, since in spring the seedlings can be exposed to return frosts and die. The soil for sowing is loose and nutritious (you can mix peat with river sand in equal proportions). When summer comes, it is recommended to transplant ku-dzu seedlings to a prepared place on the site. In the first winter, it will be necessary to provide the seedlings with shelter so that the aboveground part does not freeze out. It is noticed that this method is well suited for regions with a warm climate; in order to cultivate this vine in the middle lane, you need to purchase already well-grown seedlings.
  2. Reproduction of kudzu by layering. This method is the simplest and does not require any special experience. Since the vine itself is capable of rooting when the shoots come into contact with the soil surface, in the warm season, it is recommended to release the shoot and tilt it to the substrate. Where the stem is completely connected to the substrate, you need to dig a small groove and lay it there. The shoot is attached in the groove using a rigid wire or wooden slingshot. The cut is covered with soil so that its top remains free on the surface of the earth. Layering care is carried out in the same way as for the mother ku-zu plant. The cuttings will take root quickly and then it can be separated from the parent bush and planted in a new place.
  3. Reproduction of kudzu by root suckers. This method is possible due to the great vitality of the vine. Over time, a tuber grows from the root system of the mother plant, giving rise to new stems. Such a root offspring can be separated and planted in a chosen place in the garden.

See also recommendations for propagation of the vesicle.

Application of the ku-zu plant

Blooming Pueraria

The medicinal properties of this vine have been known for a long time. The first mentions of kudzu were found in Japanese and Chinese treatises on medicinal plants. All parts are filled with useful substances: tubers, beans, flowers and foliage. Asian healers believed that with the help of drugs from this representative of the flora, you can get rid of any disease, as well as gain longevity. Apparently, this was due to the observation that all groups of people who live on those lands where ku-zu grow are distinguished by enviable health and long life.

On the basis of tuberous roots, it is customary to prepare medicines that can easily cope with high temperatures, relieve severe headaches, and such drugs are also suitable for providing an expectorant effect. Due to the active vegetative feature, all the components of this vine are usually used to obtain a powder or introduced into teas. There is evidence that a tincture based on kudzu will help in the fight against alcohol addiction, through such a tincture, the oxygen demand of the tissues and cells of the body is reduced. This medication will help lower blood pressure and relax the muscular system.

If a decoction is made on the basis of collected ku-pou flowers, then it is used because of its pronounced diaphoretic and anti-febrile properties. That is, such a remedy is prescribed for colds. Preparations made on the basis of kudzu are recommended for breast augmentation and male strength enhancement.

The fact that the roots of ku-zu are filled with starch did not ignore the attention of people. Because of this, tubers are used in cooking as a thickener for sauces. In Asian culture, it is customary to use dried roots in soups, but for this they are subjected to prolonged cooking. If there is a need to get rid of a hangover, then the dried roots, along with dry chrysanthemum flowers, are introduced into teas. The beans and roots are used like regular vegetables.

Traditional healers advise taking powder from kudzu tubers for the treatment of peptic ulcer and hypertension (high blood pressure), herpes on the genitals, as well as for severe pain caused by migraine or sore throat.

For a long time, the peoples on whose territory the ku-pou liana grows everywhere have known about the properties of the plant to resist the bites of poisonous snakes or insects, removing poisons from the body. Flowers are useful for stopping bleeding or in the treatment of malignant tumors. Today, Harvard Medical Institute is conducting research on the use of kudzu because of its high activity and potential in defeating such an incurable process as Alzheimer's disease.


There are no special contraindications for using parts of kudzu, therefore preparations based on it are suitable for use by all categories of people.

Information for the curious about the kudzu plant

Pueraria Leaves

Back in the middle of the 20th century, this exotic liana was brought to the United States. The purpose of this invasion was prosaic - to reduce the destruction of the surface layer of the soil. But no one expected that these lands would soon begin to suffer due to the aggressive growth of ku-zu. The plant has long been considered a weedy and some landscapes have become completely captured by green massifs of kudzu. Of course, from a bird's eye view it all may look attractive, but today US farmers spend about $ 50 million every year to fight this quiet "green invader".

If you look closely at the photographs that show us the areas filled with this vine, then we can say that they all have become a kind of "desert", where, except for pueraria, no one feels at ease. All due to the fact that other types of flora have been completely destroyed in these areas.

According to the research of the American professor of ecology Rowan Seijda (University of Toronto), who has been studying this problem for more than 20 years, ku-zu is characterized by strong growth and has the ability to produce sprouts that twine around their own stems, thereby providing support for themselves. This helps the shoots to cover other vegetation species and gradually displace them from the local ecosystem. So just one root becomes the source of almost 30 sprouts.

Only cold winters or lack of moisture can act as a deterrent for such aggression. Therefore, in our latitudes, when growing ku-zu, you can not worry about such filling. Lowering the temperature to 20 degrees below zero will immediately kill the root fibers of the vine.

Types of pueraria

In the photo Pueraria lobular

Pueraria lobular (Pueraria lobata)

may occur under the name The pueraria is bladed. It is this species that is called Ku-zu (Kudzu) in Japan. In nature, it can be found in the tropics or subtropics, which are inherent in the eastern and southeast Asian regions. In those places, it happens that such vines form often difficult-to-pass thickets, in which numerous birds, insects and reptiles take refuge. Reproduction is mainly a vegetative method. There are cases of suppression of the local flora, since in general the plant is a malicious introducer. In Russia, there is the possibility of cultivation only in the Khasan region (in the extreme south), as well as in the Black Sea lands of the Caucasus, but there the species is recognized as a weed.

It is a liana-like plant with climbing stems. It can completely wrap its shoots around any support located nearby, be it a tree, shrub or post, uneven relief or structure. On native lands - a perennial, which, when grown in a warm climate and provided with support, can reach a length of 20-30 m with stems, in the absence of support it spreads over the soil surface for the same length. The rhizome, due to its deep location, can withstand a temperature drop of up to 15 degrees below zero. The depth of the roots is 15 m.The diameter of the stem at the base is measured 10 cm. The roots have the shape of tubers, they spread at a depth of 2-3 meters. Their diameter can be 10–12 cm.

The size of the leaves is large, the outlines are complex, trifoliate. The petioles, with which the leaf plates are attached to the stems, measure 17 cm. The surface of the petioles is pubescent. The foliage itself also has a velvety coating, while the reverse side is with a bluish tint. With the arrival of autumn, all the deciduous mass falls off.

Flowering at the end of summer contributes to the formation of large racemose inflorescences composed of fragrant flowers. Inflorescences grow from leaf sinuses. The color of the petals is purple or pinkish-red. When fully opened, the diameter of the corolla is 2.5 cm. By October, the flowers are replaced by fruits. They are flattened beans filled with seeds. There are 6-8 seeds in pods.

Pueraria hairy (Pueraria hirsuta)

The native area of ​​distribution falls on the territory of China and Japan, as well as South Primorye. It is a woody liana capable of climbing a support to a height of about 25-30 m. However, when cultivated in central Russia, the parameters of its shoots are much more modest - only 5-7 m. In just one year of growing season, the length of the stems when grown in warm and soft (native) climate will be 15 m. Upon contact with the ground surface, there is a possibility of rapid rooting. In the northern regions, there is the possibility of cultivation as a ground cover, since a plant covered with a snow cap can withstand a temperature drop of up to 15 degrees below zero.

At the trunks, the bark has a gray tint; trifoliate leaf plates are attached to them with elongated cuttings. The length of the leaf can reach 40 cm with a width of about 35 cm. The length of the petiole is 20 cm. When flowering, flowers appear, resembling moths in outlines. From the buds, racemose inflorescences are collected, which in length will not exceed 20-30 cm. The inflorescences originate in the leaf axils. The axis of the inflorescence has pubescence of reddish hairs. The length of the flowers is no more than 2.5 cm, the color of the petals in them is purple-crimson. When blooming, which occurs in July and stretches until October, a pleasant aroma spreads around.

The species begins to bloom only when it reaches the age of three. Fruits, ripening after pollination of flowers, have the appearance of a bean and have a bristly covering, their outlines are flat and elongated. They contain a large number of seeds. Fruits fully ripen by the end of autumn.

In the photo bean-shaped Pueraria

Pueraria bean (Pueraria phaseoloides)

resembles from the southeastern regions of Asia, but today it has successfully taken root in tropical zones, both America and the African and Australian continents. It has medicinal properties that have long been used by folk healers. The root system, which penetrates deeply into the soil, serves as a "supplier" of nutrients and moisture for the rapidly developing aboveground part. Such placement of the roots will be able to prevent their stems from perishing in the dry season. Each new day brings a 30-centimeter growth of shoots, which by the end of the summer period can be measured in 20 m. If you provide a suitable support, then the stems will quickly wrap around it, and the plant will rise above the entire garden plot.

The leaf plates are trifoliate, the lobes take on oval or triangular outlines. The size of the leaves can range from 2x2 cm to 20x15 cm.The flowers have moth outlines and a purple hue. Paniculate racemose inflorescences are collected from them. The fruit is a curved pod filled with beans. Its length is 4–11 cm. The entire surface of the pods has a hairy coating, when the pod is fully ripe, its color becomes coal black. There are a lot of seeds in the bean, there are from 10 to 20 pieces. The seeds are somewhat similar in appearance to the beans, since their tops are rounded.The color of the seeds is brown or black.

Related article: Growing helianthus in the open field

Video about the cultivation and use of kudzu:

Pueraria photos:

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