Cusca Plant: Benefits, Care and Growing Tips

cusca plant benefits

Besides the beautiful white blossoms that renovate any outdoor space, the Cusca plant has other potential medicinal benefits to offer.

Cusca plant (Cussonia spicata), commonly referred to as African Cabbage, is an evergreen plant characterized by its pinnate leaves and distinctive swollen trunks.

So, go through this comprehensive article to discover the potential health benefits and advantages associated with cultivating Cusca plants in your garden.

Key Features:

Scientific Name:Cussonia spicata

Common Names: Cusca, Potato Vine, Mexican Potato

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Height: 1-3 feet

Spread: 1-2 feet

Leaves: Opposite, thick, fleshy, dark green leaves.

Flowers: Tubular, lavender to blue flowers in summer.

Fruit: Nutlets contained in capsules.

Season: Evergreen in warmer climates, grown as annual farther north.

What is Cusca Plant?

Cusca is a tender perennial plant native to Africa and prized for its starchy tuberous roots used similarly to potatoes. Naturalized as an ornamental for its sturdy foliage and colorful blooms, cusca also has a long history of traditional medicine use. 

Its leaves have a minty fragrance and taste when crushed. While the roots are edible when fully mature, all plant parts should be consumed in moderation due to possible toxicity. 

However, properly cooked cusca roots can be a nutrient-dense vegetable high in vitamins A, C and B6.

The Benefits of Cusca Plant

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The Cusca plant contains a rich array of anti-inflammatory compounds such as phenols and flavonoids.

These compounds offer relief for wounds and swelling. The consumption of extracts from this plant can be effective in treating internal inflammations.

To alleviate pain, a uniform application of the bark or leaf paste to the affected areas is recommended until you feel relieved from the pain.

Make sure you are not allergic to this plant, as it may have adverse effects on your body.

Before application, it is advisable to consult with your doctor to prevent any potential side effects.

Antibacterial Properties

The Cusca Plant possesses antibacterial compounds and has long been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of various bacterial and viral infections.

The antimicrobial effects of this plant can be attributed to the presence of beneficial compounds such as flavonoids, phenolic compounds, and terpenes.

The bark and leaf extracts of the plant are particularly rich in antibacterial properties.

However, it is important to note that there is limited scientific evidence available to substantiate the antibacterial properties of this plant.

Therefore, it is advisable to seek medical advice before utilizing this plant for any therapeutic purposes.

Purify Your Air Naturally

Studies show cusca plants are excellent at removing toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from indoor air.

These are common volatile organic compounds released from goods like furniture, paints, and cleaning products that can compromise air quality over time.

Just one cusca plant has been shown to reduce airborne pollutants by up to 87% in a 24-hour period!

Reduce Stress and Boost Mood

Adding greenery to your space has psychological benefits too.

Interacting with plants through sight and touch triggers the release of calming neuropeptides in the brain that alleviate stress.

Cusca's subtropical charm creates a sense of calm and well-being that supports positive mental health.

Digestive Aid

Studies have shown that the plant aids digestion by reducing symptoms such as bloating and gas, while also improving appetite and overall digestive health.

It aids gastrointestinal issues like stomach upsets, diarrhea, and vomiting. Infusions and decoctions made from the plant's leaves and bark extract can be consumed for their medicinal properties.

It also possesses antimicrobial effects that combat harmful bacteria in the stomach, preventing digestive problems.

Enhance Outdoor Garden Aesthetics

Finally, the exquisite beauty of this plant can significantly enhance the visual appeal of your outdoor garden.

Its ornamental qualities make it a versatile addition to various landscaping designs, seamlessly integrating into almost any garden concept.

Guidelines for Growing Cusca Plants


Cusca prefers nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Mix potting or garden soil with compost and perlite or sand. This allows for moisture retention while preventing root rot.


Ideally, grow cusca in usda zones 9-11 for outdoor gardens. Indoors, maintain temperatures between 65-80°F. They can tolerate occasional dips below 60°F.


Water when the top inch of soil is dry. Keeping the soil consistently moist promotes vigorous growth. Never allow it to fully dry out. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.


Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Transplant seedlings 12-18 inches apart in partial shade once nighttime lows are above 50°F.


Move to larger pots annually in spring. Check roots regularly and repot when rootbound. Divide or repot every 2-3 years as needed.

Growing Instructions:

  1. Prepare soil-rich pot or garden bed.
  2. Sow seeds 1⁄4 inch deep in spring or transplant starter plants.
  3. Water regularly, providing 6+ hours of filtered sunlight daily.
  4. Fertilize monthly during growth periods.
  5. Prune as required to shape plant.
  6. Enjoy your cusca's colored blooms!

With proper care, cusca plants will reward you with vibrant flowers season after season. Let me know if you have any other growing questions!

cusca plant benefits

Cusca Plant Care and Maintenance Guides


Cusca plants love bright, indirect light. Aim to provide around 6 hours of sunlight daily by placing the plant near an east or south-facing window.


Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Water when the top inch of soil starts to dry out. Let the soil fully drain between waterings.


Prune stems once or twice during spring and summer to encourage bushiness and more flowers. Use clean shears to cut dead or overgrown stems back to the soil.


Feed monthly during growth season with a general household plant fertilizer. Cusca appreciates extra nutrients to look its best.


Check roots and repot every 2-3 years in early spring, using a well-draining potting soil mix.

Pest and Disease Management:

Keep an eye out for common issues like mealybugs or leaf spot. Isolate and treat affected areas promptly to maintain plant health. You can gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth or use an insecticidal soap to treat the infestation.

In conclusion

The Cusca plant offers many benefits beyond its attractive appearance in the garden or home. As this article has discussed, it has promising anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, stress-reducing, and digestive support properties that can contribute to overall wellness. 

It also naturally improves indoor air quality by removing harmful toxins. With proper care and maintenance, Cusca is an easy-to-grow option that will reward you with colorful blooms season after season. 

I hope you are encouraged to try cultivating this useful ornamental herb in your own space. Apply the growing and care guidelines provided to successfully nurture Cusca and begin reaping its potential health rewards to enhance your life.

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