image by Danilo Augusto Seiti Tanaka/sxc.hu
Cassava is an important food crop in areas of Africa and Latin America but is grown in warm areas of the United States as an ornamental landscaping plant. Cassava is bushy with several stems. Emerging from each stem are large seven-fingered leaves that add a tropical look to your beds and borders. The root of this perennial is edible, but harvesting will mean new cassava must be planted. Cassava grows only in areas with at least eight months of warm temperatures, and it tolerates only minimal winter frost.
Plant cassava in well-tilled average soil with good drainage. Choose an area with full to partial sun. While the cassava cutting will be planted in the top 3 inches of soil, till the soil to a 10-inch depth to give the roots room to develop beneath the planting.
Work a nitrogen-rich fertilizer into the soil at the time of planting. Fertilize every four to six weeks during the growing season to encourage lush foliage growth.
Space cassava 2 to 3 feet apart so the roots don't crowd. Also avoid overcrowding the plant above the soil, and keep the area around the plants well-weeded.
Keep the soil moist but not soaking wet, allowing the top of the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Water during prolonged dry periods or the foliage will develop poorly.
Inspect the leaves and stems regularly for tattered edges and spots caused by insects. Treat immediately with pesticide or mix 4 to 5 drops of liquid dish soap with water in a spray bottle and mist the leaves lightly.