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PlantFiles: Kudzu
Pueraria montana var. lobata

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Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pueraria (pew-er-RAY-ree-uh) (Info)
Species: montana var. lobata

Synonym:Pueraria lobata
Synonym:Pueraria thunbergiana

13 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Perennials
Vines and Climbers

Height:
over 40 ft. (12 m)

Spacing:
over 40 ft. (12 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
Violet/Lavender
Purple

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:
Evergreen
Herbaceous

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 33 photos.
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Profile:

5 positives
5 neutrals
18 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive KudzuWorld On Jun 29, 2012, KudzuWorld from Wetumpka, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

I love kudzu. It is a beautiful, easy to grow vine that can cover just about anything. It is edible (in fact very tastey, and the jelly you can make from the blossoms is delicious). It is full of health properties and loaded with fiber and protein and is one of the healthiest things you can eat. It grows well in other areas plants can't and has some possibilities as a bio fuel also.

It is like many other vines, and that is if you don't take care of it often, it CAN grow out of control. It is not much of a problem for me as I have incredibly rocky and clay soil that is extremely tough for anything to grow, but I just grow it in a big pot to be sure. I love lots of vines, they are my favorite types of plants.

Chances are if you grow it in a pot then you won't have to worry about it blooming and seeding, but if it does than you can just rip them off and use them for jelly before the blossoms are spent.

If you want this plant, I would recommend NOT to put it in the ground, as if you have if a for years and don't want it anymore, you will have to dig it up and any others that have rooted and cut off the root crown or you will have to get specialty herbicides that will properly require a permit, and still might not work. Your standard herbicides will not work.

The whole "foot a day" thing is possible, but not probable, to grow such a length it needs good soil and water, and to be established for awhile, not to mention the right climate.

With kudzu you won't have to worry about shoots popping up all over your yard either like trumpet vine or running bamboo, it moves more like a wave front, much less stressful and far easier to control.

Just remember, if you want a cutting to start some, DO NOT get some from the side of the road, they are heavily polluted and dangerous to grow, go a little deep in the woods or a road VERY rarely traveled, or abandoned side of a parking lot or park. Keep it in a low light area and change the water daily to retard microbial growth, and in a week or two it'll have roots growing, you can also just pop it in some high quality soil or peat moss/perlite mix and water often and it'll be good to go!

Positive themikeman On Dec 17, 2010, themikeman from Concord, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I used to hate this stuff, as i grew up in the North and had never seen such an invasive thing that can grow 2 feet in a day and cover 150 feet tall trees and connot usually be killed as it can develop 80 to 100 foot root systems, till i moved to North Carolina at age 13. But after discovering that it not only prevents erosion, but has such high protein and vitamin and mineral content, that it is 15 times as nutritious as soy beans, and it's roots can be ground up into a nutritious powder for humans that is sold in health food stores and can be made into a gelatin like tofu, and old timers here in the appalachian and blue ridge mountains of NC and Georgia.make sweet jam and jelly, out of its pink blooms and flower blossoms. This stuff has just about as many benificial uses as George Washington Carver's useful peanut. someone should write a manual of its uses for it, as Carver did, if they haven't already..peace..mike

Neutral peejay12 On Aug 16, 2010, peejay12 from Porthleven, Helston, Cornwall
United Kingdom (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have not heard of this plant growing in the UK.

But having heard all the horror stories of how invasive it is,how impossible to eradicate, and" don't, don't plant it!", I think I will have to give it a try!

I bet the diabolical English weather will put a damper on it. I will let you know of the results.

Positive Lodewijkp On May 26, 2010, Lodewijkp from Zwolle
Netherlands (Zone 7a) wrote:

Plant for the future .. the uses as food and medicine are endless .... probably will be used to colonize mars. The ultimate all purpose plant.....

however.....

It's too invasive on mars
It took over my girlfriend
Mulch with concrete if not steel brick
Fertilize with agent orange
Prune with machineguns
I live in a area where UFO are sighted ... nowadays kudzu grows here and there are no sightings anymore.....
Moonlight is enough to make it grow

it wouldn't surprise me if this vine abducted people, since it can grow 30 CM in a DAY. If you want to wage a war and need a good plan to destroy a country you need to fill a plane with kudzu seeds and disperse it on the lands.

This is not a garden plant, to my opinion it's the best plant to fight global warming , food shortage , feul shortage and many more - it brings alot of solutions to many problems.

you can have it in your garden as long it's in a pot in sight..... plant it in a container lined with kevlar and steel.

Neutral SleepyFox On Apr 25, 2010, SleepyFox from Prescott, AZ (Zone 7a) wrote:

On the observance of Kudzu in an arid climate:

I have observed this plant growing in several yards where they do NOT garner much watering from owners of the properties. Kudzu in my local climate in northern Arizona (Less than 19 inches of precip. a year, extremely low humidity) does not effectively spread. However, when near the few sources of water here (Seasonal creeks, ponds, etc...) this stuff is awful. In several areas, it has overtaken large oaks and carpeted the gorges where seasonal waters flow, choking out pinyon pines and Alligator juniper in the process.

If you live in the arid American Southwest, make absolutely certain you do NOT plant this near any seasonal or permanent creekbeds/waterways or other sources of water.

I would also recommend periwinkle instead of Kudzu in the Arid southwestern climate however since it seems to have a greater tolerance of drought, Kudzu seems to have some unsightly die back during long, dry periods.

If you keep it away from a nearby source of water however, it seems it will grow at a manageable rate and fail to spread due to a lack of moisture like many other species that come from wetter climates.

Neutral davecito On Oct 5, 2009, davecito from Carrboro, NC wrote:

The destructive and invasive qualities of this plant are legendary, and well-covered here. It's growth habit and overall appearance are reminiscent of something from a bad sci-fi movie.

This noted, Kudzu does have a number of virtues, which should also be noted:

1. It's edible. The young leaves, which are tender (older leaves become tough and fibrous) can be eaten as greens. The roots yield a high quality starch (similar to cornstarch) which can be found in specialty and ethnic grocers under its' Japanese name: Kuzu Root Starch. The flowers are prolific generators of nectar, make a good jam, and will yield honey of very, very good quality.

Any kudzu being eaten should not be roadside (marinated in car exhaust and other pollutants), and make absolutely sure that the plant hasn't been sprayed with pesticides if you plan on eating it.

The leaves have a green bean-like flavor, and - as a leguminous plant - they have more protein than any other leaf green, along with calcium and vitamin A.

2. Forage: a number of animals will likewise eat it. Goats actually do a decent job of controlling it.

3. Once eliminated, one will discover that it's a nitrogen fixer, and will leave soil richer in its' wake.

4. Given its' noxious abundance in the American South and East, it does present biofuel possibilities.

5. Kudzu produces an enzyme that lowers cravings for alcohol in recovering alcoholics. This has begun to attract some biomedical research attention.

In most or all of the US (and other places in the world with a climate similar to the US Southeast: hot humid summers with cool-to-cold winters) it should not be planted, outside of research settings. Nonetheless, in a controlled and monitored environment, it's far from useless.

Negative gryfonclaw On Jun 25, 2009, gryfonclaw from Marietta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

This plant is not only impossible to kill, but destructive. I'm not talking about trees or other plants (although I've seen it of course) but it BROKE my fence. Yes, you heard right, it broke my fence, and is working on my neighbor's. (He hates the kudzu, but I think he's given up fighting it. I don't blame him.) I will never, EVER recommend ANYONE plant this for ANY reason, and that includes erosion control. It's not worth it. Let the land erode. Just don't plant kudzu.

I've sown almost one metric ton of salt into my lawn on the kudzu areas, and that didn't kill it. My backyard caught on fire (long story, stupid neighborhood kids) and all the kudzu was 'destroyed'. It was a huge fire; had about 3 fire trucks parked in my front yard to put it out. (I have a large property). Well guess what? It's back, and 'better' than ever. Unless I can get my hands on some Agent Orange, all I can do is hack at it with my machete and hope for the best.

I hate this plant with the burning intensity of a thousand suns, although the heat emanating from that many suns would hardly kill it.

Negative gtr1017 On Mar 26, 2009, gtr1017 from Roanoke, VA wrote:

For the love of God, don't plant this !!!!!!

Negative GardeningNC On Oct 8, 2008, GardeningNC from Durham, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Anyone in the south - BEWARE! This plant will consume you if you choose to plant it and try to 'keep' it under control (not sure that is even possible in the south it grows so quickly).

Positive mjolner88 On Sep 28, 2008, mjolner88 from Bellingham, WA wrote:

This species of Kudzu has many names, depending on the naming convention used...in this case it is: Pueraria thunbergiana (Siebold & Zucc.) Benth.

Some other synonyms for Pueraria lobata include:

Dolichos hirsutus Thunb.
Dolichos lobatus Willd. (basionym)
Neustanthus chinensis Benth.
Pachyrhizus thunbergianus Siebold & Zucc.
Pueraria hirsuta (Thunb.) Matsum.
Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi
Pueraria lobata var. chinensis (Benth.) Ohwi
Pueraria pseudohirsuta Tang & F. T. Wang, nom. nud.
Pueraria triloba (Houtt.) Makino

Positive cactusman102 On Aug 21, 2008, cactusman102 from Lawrence, KS wrote:

Relax a bit......let the plant take over.....so what! Look what our own invasive species has done to this earth! Besides, plants like this are good for absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), sequestering harmful chemicals and adding oxygen to the air. I figure we should promote dense stands of plants like this to offset all the tropical forests we cut down and burn.

Maybe instead of crying about how this plant ruined your life and saying how horrible it is, lets try to see the good too.... explore its use as paper, bio-fuel, erosion control, or neighbor screening and repellant.

Think about this.....If you are concerned about a plant taking over, you are upset because of a control issue!You are upset that you can't control a species just as determined to survive on this earth as you are.

Negative Pamgarden On Jul 26, 2008, Pamgarden from Central, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I don't know what can be further added to say what an invasive and destructive vine this is. The vines are so thick they can undermine the foundation of a house. It can completely envolop an unused shed or barn in just a few years.

Negative CaptMicha On Jun 29, 2007, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Driving on a certain road, I see this plant literally draped like a blanket over tall trees, fences and anything else it can get to. It's probably choking out the life from these plants by not allowing any light to penetrate.

Anything this tenacious should be avoided, in my opinion. You can always plant something better behaved and similar in appearance. That's the beauty of the plant world. There's so many plants to choose from. You can most definably find a suitable option.

Negative RockingHolland On Jun 1, 2007, RockingHolland from Floresville, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Many years ago when I was a child, I remember driving to North Carolina to visit my family. My mother asked my grandfather to stop the car so she could get some cuttings or kudzu.

Having never seen it before and not knowing anything about it, she just thought is was a great vine and covered so beautifully. My grandfather, told her kudzu would make it's way to Texas without any help from us.

Now that I am 36, I have discovered, he was right. This plant, although beautiful, is invasive and destructive and much to my chagrin is rapidly descending upon my area of the state.

Neutral Archena On Mar 12, 2007, Archena from Thomaston, AL wrote:

Spacing: Put it in the ground and run. Seriously, the stuff doesn't seem to have issues with congestion.

Actually, both the leaves and tubers are edible. Here in the South there are recipes for fried kudzu leaves (use young leaves) and you can buy kudzu jelly (has a mild grape flavor, they say. Is made from the flowers). The tubers are actually grown and harvested in China as a ground herb.

If you don't want your property anymore - or you have a hay baler you use regularly - then it's fine to plant. Otherwise it'll take over in a heartbeat. Does have a serious use in erosion control especially along riverbanks where it works well.

Negative frostweed On Dec 27, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Kudzu Pueraria montana var. lobata is naturalized in Texas and other States ans is considered an invasive noxious plant in Texas.

Negative melody On Sep 16, 2006, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Ditto to all of the negative comments. This is one dangerous weed. If you don't have it......keep it that way.

Livestock will graze it, and I've heard that an edible jelly can be made from the blossoms. The blossoms have a thick, heavy scent that fills the air. They smell very good, but one shouldn't plant this thing just for the aroma.

The destruction that this plant causes is huge. It can kill a whole forest, each tree strangled as this creeping menace covers it.

Negative wtliftr On Jun 19, 2005, wtliftr from Wilson's Mills, NC wrote:

Only 12 inches a day??? I've seen it in North Carolina grow 2 feet a day. That's an inch an hour, people! You could actually see it growing!

Negative Kameha On May 5, 2005, Kameha from Kissimmee, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is truly the most horrible weed in the United States. Brought from Japan when Philadelphia hosted the World's Fair, the USDA encourage farmers to plant it as an perpetual food source for livestock. Apparently the legume grew all too well here and has spread through the South's forests covering everything in its path like a green cancer. Please do not plant this ever!

Negative nick89 On Apr 8, 2005, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

The WORST weed ever. If there is a such thing as a super weed, this is it. Kudzu can grow up to 60 feet or more in one season and its roots can reach 14 feet deep. It can also smother entire forests. Any pieces of root left in the ground will grow and conventional herbicides won't kill it. It isn't called the "vine that ate the South" for nothing. If it appears any where on my land I'd panic. The government is doing research into a beetle that eats kudzu in its native Japan for control measures but they have to make sure it won't attack other plants.

Negative WDNETMAN On Aug 2, 2004, WDNETMAN from Jackson, TN wrote:

Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is a very bad vine; no, take that back - it is not a vine it is more like a weed. It will take over anything kills tres and all plants! DO NOT DIG IT UP AND TRANSPLANT IT! It will take over your whole yard and once you plant it, you can't remove it (or at least I can't!) I wish I could go back in time and kill it before it ever got started. If you have found a way to get rid of this irritating plant, please let me know.

Negative chicochi3 On Jul 24, 2004, chicochi3 from Fayetteville, AR (Zone 6b) wrote:

The vine looks like a grape vine and can be very attractive in a small bunch. Problem is, there's no such thing as a small bunch of kudzu. I cut a stand of it down the other day and found a garage in my back yard. Actually, I knew the old garage was there and had been unused for years, but the thing was entirely covered over. And now the kudzu is coming back. Invasive is an understatement to say the least.

Negative herbman75 On Jul 13, 2004, herbman75 from Cornelia, GA wrote:

I have seeds for anyone who wishes to unleash this wretched plant on thier property. I will even mail them to yankees. They might possibly get some sort of variant seed that is hardy in Buffalo, New York, then this weed can choke out all the burnt out crack houses up there the way it takes over all of our trashy homes and trailers that have been unoccupied for more than two years. Truly has found its second home here in Georgia. Choking out whole state. It might actually perform as an annual vine in extremely cold climate, too risky though as your name would be forever cursed by countless generations as the person who unleashed this plauge on your hardiness zone. Wisteria-like blossoms do smell pleasantly like NeHi grape soda.

Negative aviator8188 On Jul 12, 2004, aviator8188 from Murphysboro, IL (Zone 7a) wrote:

Kudzu also grows invase here in the southern midwest. I live in extreme southern Illinois(USDA zone 7a as indicated by the map on this webpage). There is a large hill about 9 miles west of my house covered in this biological anomoly. It is one of the largest known locations of Kudzu in Southern Illinois. Kudzu dies to the ground here in the winter, but it comes right back in the spring and summer with full force. We experience Georgia weather on average during the summer, with afternoon highs topping out over 90 with humid, but dry conditions. Kudzu actually grows fastest in drier weather, but growth rates differentiate constantly during the growing season. Throughout July and August, this vine grows 12 inches per day and up to 40 feet per year. When Kudzu climbs trees, it is slowed by the shade of the tree, taking a few years to advance upward. Once Kudzu reaches the top of the tree where it can recieve full sunlight, it takes off growing towards the ground. In the process, any tree, bush, or sapling is pulled down by the weight of the vine. Once the vine touches the ground, it burrows into the ground forming more complex roots, which then pop up in any random spot, begin its climbing process once more. Kudzu will grow quickest over small saplings and shrubs, but does not grow fast across the ground. It prefers anything it can climb. Illegal to cultivate in many of the eastern states due to its aggressive nature, destroying forests and taking over farmland, as well as residential areas. Kudzu seems to grow optimal in Georgia. Do not undermind the aggressive nature of this vine.

Neutral Farmerdill On Jan 13, 2004, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

The only good way to control Kudzu is to fence it in and graze livestock. Cows, Sheep, or goats will take care of it. As small farms have dwindled, this plant has taken over any uncultivated ungrazed area from Virginia south. It does need adequate rainfall so you folks in the arid areas are probably safe, unless you irrigate it. It will survive winters that reach 15 below for short periods.

Negative Jacquie On Jan 13, 2004, Jacquie from Spring, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Kudzu is a major invasive weed in North Carolina's Piedmont. It will sprawl over telephone and power poles, growing several feet per day--not a joke. This plant was introduced for erosion control, but quickly takes over literally acres--and don't imagine that freeze will stop it. It came back after 15 degrees and then 2-foot snow in the same winter. Very Noxious in the Southeast. Houston better look out--or plant it over the worst eyesores.

Negative art_n_garden On Jan 12, 2004, art_n_garden from Colorado Springs, CO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Negative Terry On Jan 19, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

"May be invasive" is way too polite. Any moderate climate is a potential victim for this rampant-growing exotic imported to the southern U.S. several decades ago. The tap roots are very deep, which makes it harder to kill through cold winter temperatures; and reports indicate it is becoming hardier as it spreads northward. (Or maybe it's always been that hardy, and it's just now getting a toehold in other areas.)

The only positive attributes of this plant: it does indeed prevent soil erosion on steep banks, and its roots can be dried and used in various ways including food. (These virtues are gravely overshadowed by its incredibly aggressive growth habit.)

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,
Jáltipan De Morelos,
Alabaster, Alabama
Cullman, Alabama
Deatsville, Alabama
Eclectic, Alabama
Irvington, Alabama
Linden, Alabama
Midland City, Alabama
Montgomery, Alabama (2 reports)
New Market, Alabama
Thomaston, Alabama
Verbena, Alabama
Wetumpka, Alabama (2 reports)
Prescott, Arizona
Dunnellon, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Sebastian, Florida
Venice, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Cornelia, Georgia
Hawkinsville, Georgia
Kennesaw, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Woodstock, Georgia
Murphysboro, Illinois
Benton, Kentucky
Hi Hat, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Mc Dowell, Kentucky
Melvin, Kentucky
Pikeville, Kentucky
Brookeville, Maryland
Marietta, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Kansas City, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Concord, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina
Henderson, North Carolina
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Summerville, South Carolina
Del Rio, Tennessee
Jackson, Tennessee (2 reports)
Johnson City, Tennessee
Medina, Tennessee
Nellysford, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Bellingham, Washington



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