How to Plant Cassavas
As you’d expect from a plant that originates in a tropical environment, cassava thrives in full sun. It likes heat and humidity.
Cassava is one of those plants that grow well in any soil type, even poor soil. Loamy soil rich with well-rotted organic matter produces the best results, however. Cassava may struggle in clay or compact soil, but even then it will produce enough to harvest.
Soil should have a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 to produce the best results.
Simply take 11-inch cuttings of stems, ensure you have between 4 and 7 nodes on the stem. Plant them in suitable soil either laying down on its side 2 inches deep or sticking out of the soil like a stake. Make sure a quarter of the stem is planted. Within a week or two, new leaves appear and the plant is on its way.
Then, in about 12 to 18 months’ time, you’re ready to harvest your first cassava crop. It’s that simple.
Plant cassava at least 3 feet apart with 3-16 feet between rows.
Your soil should have well-rotted manure dug in at the time of planting. Within two months, add more manure or a good quality liquid fertilizer.
Keep the soil moist in the first month of planting to give the stems a good start. If the cassava plant loses a lot of leaves it’s likely it’s not getting enough water.
Cassava is drought resistant, but water well and it will produce more roots of better quality. Don’t allow the soil to stay soaked, though, as this may cause the roots to rot.
Companion Plants for Growing Cassava
Grow cassava with beans and peas. Don’t plant cassava with potatoes.
Common Problems and Solutions for Growing Cassava
Cassava is hardy and isn’t bothered by too many pests and disease, but as with all plants, they’re susceptible to some issues.
Aphids suck the sap from your cassava plant and in big enough numbers can cause it to become weak and wilted. Give the cassava plant a good blast of water to remove the aphids and then apply neem oil once a month for three months.
In small or large numbers, locusts are deterred by neem oil. If you live in an area where locusts are present, treat the cassava plant monthly.
If you have bacterial blight, you’ll see spots start on the leaves and they’ll slowly rot or at least go from a healthy, deep green to yellowish.
The best treatment is prevention. Ensure all stems planted show no signs of blight. If you see blight, cut it out and avoid watering the leaves.
Cassava Mosaic Disease
A rare but devastating disease, cassava mosaic disease causes curling of the plant’s leaves. You’ll also see mottling and twisted leaves. This causes a lack of root formation and a reduction in harvest.