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Sugarcane
Scientific Name: Saccharum officinarum L.
Synonym:
Family: Poaceae
Sugarcane (Saccharum  officinarum) Recommended Temperature Zone:
USDA: 8-10

Frost Tolerance: Top is tender in Phoenix, but it will grow back from the base in March/April

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Origin: Believed to be native to Burma-China-India area of southern Asia

Growth Habits: Giant grass, most cultivated species grow to 5-7 feet tall (1.5 to 2 m), some much higher.

Watering Needs: Regular to heavy watering

Propagation: Clump division or cuttings (setts) of 2-3 buds


Sugarcane is a tropical grass. Its stalk contains sweet juice from which sugar can be extracted. Most varieties are hybrids of the 4 cultivated species of sugarcane. Saccharum officinarum is the main "ingredient" of the cultivated hybrids. In the USA, it is cultivated for sugar production in Texas (3% of US production), Hawaii(11% of US production), Louisiana(34% of US production), and Florida(52% of US production). It will grow in Phoenix during the warmer time, and will die to the base in winter.

Cultural Practices:
Generally, in tropical countries, at least three annual crops can be harvested from a single planting, the original plant cane crop plus two or three additional cuttings, called "ratoon" crops. In Phoenix, the canes are smaller and ripen slower. The percentage of fiber in the pulp is also higher. I have found that 1-year old canes are better when harvested at the end of the summer.
The young stems are covered with small prickles similar to opuntia glochids, and should be handled with gloves, or at least some caution.

Blooming Habits:

Fruiting Habits:

Propagation:
It is grown by planting "seed cane," pieces of sugarcane stalk that germinate and produce new sugarcane plants. The cutting needs to be put horizontaly on the ground and buried completely. In Phoenix, plant the cuttings inside in winter, or outside in March-April

Links:
Sugar at LSU


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