Cassava: A Starchy Carbohydrate Source of Food


While cassava might not be a household name in North America, it is a well-known starchy carbohydrate source of food in regions such as South Africa and Southeast Asia.

This woody perennial plant is sometimes called to as yuca in the United States, but this is not to be confused with the completely different yucca tree.

The huge, shrubby leaves might be appealing in the garden, but these plants are usually grown to collect the tubers and leaves.

Botanical Name  Manihot esculenta
Common Name  Cassava, Manioc, Yuca, Tapioca
Plant Type  Woody shrub, perennial
Mature Size  Up to 14 ft. tall, Up to 10 ft. wide
Sun Exposure  Full sun, partial shade
Soil Type  Sandy, loam, well-drained
Soil pH  Acid, neutral, alkaline
Bloom Time  Throughout the year
Flower Color  Whiteish
Hardiness Zones  8-12 (USDA)
Native Area  Brazil
Toxicity  Toxic to people and pets when raw

Tips for Keeping Your Plants Healthy

  • While cassava is a hearty and resilient plant, it can still be susceptible to some problems. Here are a few tips for keeping your plants healthy:
  • Cassava is drought tolerant but will produce more tubers if given consistent moisture. Water the plant deeply, about once a week, during periods of no rainfall.-Mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture in the soil.
  • Fertilize cassava monthly with an all-purpose fertilizer or compost tea. Be sure not to over fertilize as this can lead to leaf burn.
  • Pests and Diseases Affecting Cassava Plants The main pests that attack cassava are root-knot nematodes, whiteflies, and mealybugs.
  • These pests can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Lighting and Temperature

Cassava grows best in full sun but can tolerate some shade. It is a tropical plant and needs warm temperatures to thrive. In cooler climates, it can be grown as an annual.

The ideal temperature for cassava is between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature gets too cold, the plants will stop growing.


Cassava grows best in sandy, loamy, well-drained soil. The pH of the soil should be neutral to slightly acidic.


Cassava is a heavy feeder and benefits from monthly applications of an all-purpose fertilizer or compost tea. Be sure not to over fertilize as this can lead to leaf burn.


Cassava plants don’t require much pruning, but you can trim back the stems to encourage bushier growth.


Cassava is drought tolerant but will produce more tubers if given consistent moisture. Water the plant deeply, about once a week, during periods of no rainfall.


Cassava plants can grow up to 14 feet tall and ten feet wide.


Cassava flowers are small and white and bloom throughout the year. The plant produces fruits that look like small, greenish-yellow balls. These fruits take up to eight months to mature.

Common Pests/Diseases

Cassava is a tropical plant that is grown for its starchy root. The cassava root is an important food source in many parts of the world, and it is also used to make flour, animal feed, and paper. However, cassava plants are vulnerable to damage from termites.

Termites are small insects that live in the soil and eat plant roots. They are especially fond of cassava roots, and they can quickly destroy a cassava plant. If you live in an area where termites are a problem, it is important to take steps to protect your cassava plants.

One way to do this is to grow them in pots or raised beds. This will help to keep the roots out of reach of the termites.

You can also use chemical insecticides to kill the termites before they have a chance to damage your plants.

With a little care and effort, you can grow healthy and productive cassava plants even in areas where termites are a problem.

Propagating Cassava

Cassava is a delicious root vegetable that can be cooked in a variety of ways. It is a staple of many cuisines, and it is also very nutritious. Cassava is relatively easy to grow, and it does not require much care or attention.

However, there is one important consideration when growing this plant: it is preferable to cultivate cassava using cuttings rather than seeds. This is because there are two types of cassava, bitter and sweet.

The bitter type contains high levels of cyanide, which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. The sweet type is safe to eat, but it is not as flavorful.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that you are growing the sweet type of cassava. Cuttings are the best way to do this, as they will produce plants that are identical to the parent plant.

In contrast, seeds can produce plants that are either sweet or bitter. Consequently, if you want to grow delicious and safe cassava, it is best to use cuttings rather than seeds.

How long does it take to grow cassava?

Cassava is a root vegetable that is widely cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The plant is tolerant to drought and has a relatively short growing season, making it an ideal crop for areas with limited rainfall.

Cassava can be harvested after nine to twelve months, but the tubers will be more fibrous if they are harvested before 18 months.

For starch production, cassava is typically allowed to mature fully, which takes 18-24 months. After harvest, the cassava roots are washed and peeled, then either boiled or roasted before being eaten.

In some parts of the world, cassava is also used to make flour, alcohol, and animal feed. With its high yields and resistance to pests and disease, cassava has become an important food crop for millions of people around the world.

Can cassava grow in the US?

Cassava is a tropical root crop that is native to South America, but it can also be grown in the warm climates of the southern United States. The plant thrives in summer heat and can be grown as an annual in most regions of the country.

Cassava is a drought-tolerant crop that requires little care once it is established. The roots of the plant are the edible part, and they can be cooked and eaten in a variety of ways.

Cassava can be boiled, mashed, roasted, or made into fritters and chips. It is an important food crop in many parts of the world and is gradually becoming more popular in the United States.

Is cassava hard to grow?

Cassava is a sturdy plant that can thrive in a variety of climates and soil conditions. It is resistant to pests and drought, making it a low-maintenance crop. Cassava is also a prolific producer, with a single plant yielding a large harvest.

The tuberous roots of the cassava plant are the part that is harvested and consumed. These roots can be cooked in a variety of ways and are a staple food in many cultures. While cassava is relatively easy to grow, it does have some preferences.

The plant prefers warm weather and well-drained soil. If given these conditions, cassava will produce a bountiful harvest of nutritious roots.

How do you grow cassava at home?

To grow cassava at home, you need to start with a cutting from a mature plant. The cutting should be at least two feet long, and you will need to remove any leaves that are on the cutting.

Once you have your cutting, you will need to plant it in a soil that is well-drained and moist. You should also make sure that the plant is in full sunlight.

Cassava roots cannot withstand cold temperatures, so it is important to keep the plant in a warm environment. The process of growing cassava from the beginning to harvest can take up to 18 months.

Where are cassava plants grown?

Cassava is a tropical shrub that can grow up to four meters in height. The starchy, tuberous roots are used as a food source, and the plant is cultivated in many tropical regions around the world.

Cassava is thought to have originated in South America, and it is still widely grown in countries like Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador.

The plant thrives in warm climates with plenty of rainfall, and it is relatively tolerant of poor soils. Cassava can be grown on small farms or large plantations, and it is an important crop for both subsistence farmers and commercial growers.

In recent years, cassava has become an increasingly important food source in Africa, where it is used to make fufu, a popular staple dish.

What is the life cycle of cassava?

Cassava, also known as yuca or manioc, is a root vegetable that is popular in many tropical countries.

It is a staple crop in regions such as Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, where it is used to make staples such as cassava bread and fufu. The plant itself is a small shrub with large, green leaves.

The roots are the part of the plant that is harvested and eaten. Cassava roots are long and tubular, and they have a thick, fibrous outer layer.

The life cycle of cassava begins with planting the crop. Cassava can be planted using cuttings or seedlings. Once the plants are established, they will produce flowers and then fruits.

The fruits contain the seeds that will be used to grow the next generation of plants. After the fruits are harvested, the cassava roots can be dug up and eaten. However, if the roots are left in the ground, they will continue to grow and produce new tubers.

This cycle will continue for the lifespan of the plant, which is typically between 15 and 24 months. Eventually, the tubers will become woody and fibrous, making them unsuitable for consumption. At this point, the plant will be cleared away and replaced with a new crop.

What climate does cassava grow in?

Cassava is a woody shrub that is grown as an annual crop in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. The plant is tolerant of a wide range of climates, but it prefers warm, moist conditions.

Cassava can be grown at altitudes up to 1,000 meters, but it is more commonly found at elevations below 500 meters. The plant is also tolerant of poor soils, but it prefers well-drained soils with a high organic content.

Cassava is typically propagated by cuttings, which arewooden poles that are cut from the main stem of the plant. The cuttings are then planted in furrows or pits and allowed to root.

Once the plants have rooted, they are transplanted to their final location. Cassava can be grown in a wide variety of systems, including monoculture, intercropping, and agroforestry.

The crop has a number of uses, including food, feed, fuel, and industrial applications.

What is the best month to plant cassava?

Cassava is a tropical plant that grows best in warm, moist climates. In Africa, the two main rainy seasons are Masika, which runs from March through June, and Vuli, which runs from October until December.

While some farmers do plant cassava during Masika, the shorter Vuli season is generally considered to be the best time for planting.

This is because cassava is a sensitive plant that can be damaged by excessive rain and flooding.

Therefore, planting during the Vuli season helps to reduce the risk of crop damage and ensures that the plants will have plenty of time to mature before the dry season begins.

How long do cassava take to grow?

Cassava is a woody shrub that is widely cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The cassava plant is tolerant of poor soils and can be grown on marginal lands.

It is a major source of food for millions of people in the developing world, particularly in Africa, where it is a dietary staple. Cassava is a highly productive crop, with a single plant yielding up to 20 kg of Tubers.

However, to get good yields you should harvest the crop after nine to twelve months.

If you use cassava as a food item, the tubers are harvested in 12 months in order to avoid fibrous tubers, but those used for processing starch are left to mature to full maturity usually 18 to 24 months following the planting.

Cassava is a versatile crop that can be used for food, animal feed, or for industrial purposes such as the production of ethanol or textile grade starch.

What conditions does cassava need to grow?

Cassava, also known as yuca, is a root vegetable that originates from the tropics. In order to grow properly, it needs a minimum of eight weeks of mild weather.

It also prefers soil that is well-drained, although it can manage in soils that are damp. Cassava roots cannot withstand cold temperatures; the best growth occurs when the plant is in full sunlight.

When all of these conditions are met, cassava can be a nutritious and delicious addition to any meal.

Jessica Miles

Jessica Miles is a writer for Botanique Boutique, a plant and gardening blog. She has always loved plants, flowers, and anything green. When she was younger, she used to watch her grandfather garden and would be in awe of the beautiful flowers he would grow. Now Jessica writes about all things related to plants and gardening - from beginner tips on how to start growing your own plants, to in-depth guides on caring for a specific type of flower or plant. She loves helping others learn about this fascinating hobby, and hopes that her writing will inspire people to get outside and enjoy nature!

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