The Kudzu plant FAQ
Everything you ever wanted to know about the kudzu plant, and then some.
Where can I buy kudzu?
I am often asked this question. I do not know of any place that sells kudzu or kudzu seeds. If you ever visit Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Southern Virginia, Southern Kentucky, Alabama, or Mississippi, just slow down a little bit as you drive through and some kudzu should latch on to your car. Be careful about importing kudzu back home, some states and local governments have laws against kudzu.
I have also been asked how to remove seeds from an existing kudzu plant. I have no idea, but I think that kudzu likely would easily regrow from a clipping. Take a snippet home and try gasoline for starter fluid. If that does not work, dig up a little bit of kudzu with some of its roots intact.
Can you send me some Kudzu seeds?
I did live in Tennessee for some time, but I have not lived in the United States for a long time. Because of this I do not have access to Kudzu seeds nor the plant. I cannot send kudzu seeds by mail, although I do have an excess of olives and lemons.
Will kudzu grow where I live?
Unless you live on the moon, kudzu will likely grow fine where you live. If you do live on the moon, it likely grow as well but may require a little water. Outside of the American South kudzu grows a bit more normally, but still faster than most plants. You will still need to take care to make sure it does not escape, but at least you will be able to go away for the weekend and not worry about your house. In most climates kudzu grows more like a fast growing ivy. Hot and humid climates will increase and promote its growth speed a little.
How fast does kudzu grow?
Kudzu can grow up to 7 feet (over 2 meters) per week if conditions are right. In the American South it very often does grow at this rate because of the climate and soil.
Where is kudzu from?
Some say kudzu is from another planet, but it is really from Japan. Kudzu is not native to the American Continent. In Japan kudzu grows normally like any other plant. But in the American South it met its perfect climate and grows like crazy.
In 1876 kudzu was shown at a botanical exhibition in Philadelphia. From there it escaped and began its takeover.
The Japanese love kudzu and make a sweet tofu from it and even consider it a bit of a delicacy. The Japanese think the Americans are crazy for trying to kill it.
How to grow kudzu?
Growing kudzu is not the problem. Not growing kudzu is. Asking how to grow kudzu is like asking how to get your two year old to make some noise.
Nothing special is required to grow kudzu. You may however wish to read about kudzu gardening tips.
How to control kudzu?
You can try to poison kudzu, but most herbicides have no effect. Those that do have little effect and it can take 20 years to get a kudzu patch under control. Some herbicides even make kudzu grow better. There are some slightly effective forms of kudzu control such as napalm and agent orange, but such use has other side effects.
You can try to burn kudzu. Burning has a short term effect by killing most top cover. Unfortunately burning scarifies the hard seed coat and actually promotes germination.
Goats and cows love kudzu and actually prefer it to other forms of food. It is also quite nutritious. Cows have trouble accessing the kudzu as it climbs steep hills, trees, and telephone poles. Goats can be effective for ground and hill based kudzu but a large number of goats is required as kudzu will grow on goats if they stand still too long.