Convert braided trunk pachira aquatica to single trunk

llckllJuly 31, 2013

Hi All,

I'm pretty new to indoor house plants but it's been very rewarding and hope to learn a lot through these forums.

I have a braided pachira aquatica about 1.5' high. I was reading through the forums and people say that single trunks will thrive better.

What is the proper way to un-braid and plant as single trunks?

Right now, it's also in regular potting soil. I think i'm going to create a mix of 1:1 potting soil and perlite. Would that be a good mix? Any other recommendations? New stems are growing but I'm sure with the right soil mix, it can thrive even more.

Also, I saw a YouTube video this morning where someone cut off a few stems and placed it in water. After a couple months, it started growing healthy roots in the water. So I proceeded to do the same this morning and placed a few stems in water. Once roots come out, I was planning on re-potting in the recommended soil. Your thoughts?

I will post pics of my current plant later on when I get home.

All your advice is greatly appreciated!

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llckll

I took this picture while messing around with my new camera. Will try to get a better shot that shows the entire plant.

I also purchased orchid mix, perlite, pumice soil. Will use 1:1:1.

Also purchased 3 10" pots to use when I unbraid.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:24PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello!
Simply unpot and separate the trunks....
Or, keep them together and re-pot into your intended Orchid Mix with added perlite and/or pumice. The reason so many folks end up with single trunks is because the other trunks die off, leaving only the healthiest. But if the braided trunks are healthy, there's no reason you can't keep them together.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:49PM
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llckll

Thanks, Josh.

I like the look of single trunk better and would like to create 4 from this one tree. I'm also propagating 4 stem cuttings in water so once they root, I'll create another 3 stem braided tree and one more single trunk tree.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 6:36AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Sounds good!
We're getting a bit late in the year for root-work, so you'll want to do the re-potting as soon as possible.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:39PM
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llckll

Yeah, plan on doing it this weekend. Couldn't find pumice soil anywhere so had to purchase some on eBay of all places.

Question, how do you grow it to be tall? Would like each to be at least 5 feet tall.

Will take before and after pics.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:46PM
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llckll

I unbraided and was able to save 3 out of 5.

Orchid bark, pumice, perlite.

Should I give it a good watering? Roots were kind of on the soft side and not much root but I still have hope.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 5:51PM
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llckll

Here's #2.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 6:37PM
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llckll

And here's #3.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 6:38PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

This is such an apically dominant tree that it will grow too tall before you know it...so don't worry, it'll hit five feet no problem.

Keep the recent transplants moist but not wet. After two weeks, begin fertilizing. The other thing you might consider is gently staking the trunk so that the roots are stabilized in the mix. The less movement there is, the faster the roots will establish themselves in the mix.

Let's hope they all make it! :-)

Josh

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 11:12PM
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llckll

Thanks, Josh.

Dumb question. What is the proper way of keeping it moist but not wet? Should I spray the soil and not pour to water it?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 7:15AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Water thoroughly, then do smaller supplemental waterings every few days. This is only while the roots are establishing. Once the plant is larger, it can go several days without water - and, during the Winter, probably an entire week without water.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 1:00PM
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llckll

Thanks, Josh.

I'll post an update with pics in a couple weeks to show you guys the progress. Hopefully it'll have grown by then and healthier too.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 1:08PM
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llckll

Hey Josh,

It's been a little over a week. The plants look exactly the same as the pics above with no indication of growth or new growth. The leaves look like they're shriveling. I'm thinking they're possible dying? I'm thinking of getting new plants and reuse the existing soil mix I just made.

Thoughts?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 6:46AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

You could certainly get some really healthy plants so that you start off with good specimens. I assume that these Pachira are growing roots first, and then foliage...that's the natural order. That's also why we wait to fertilize after re-potting..."soils low in initial fertility are conducive to root-growth" (roots go out seeking nutrients). After a week or two of root exploration / colonization of the mix, we then provide nutrients. So I'd say wait another week, fertilize, and see if new leaves appear.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 9:40PM
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asleep_in_the_garden

Hey josh...
You know these plants worlds better than me so I'm curious what you'd say...
Do you think it would help to bag the plants and trap humidity while they adjust to their new environment?

Close relatives of sheffs,I would assume as much,but again I'd be more comfortable after hearing your input.

Thanks! :)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 2:28AM
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llckll

As long as the plants are not showing any signs of dying, I'll wait a couple more weeks. There's no rush. When I re-potted, there were basically no roots at all except tiny ones. So it might take longer than expected

Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:49AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Indeed, be patient with them...they're essentially large, leafed out cuttings.

Asleep, I think a bag would be more likely to cause mold or pathogen problems, spotted dying leaves, et cetera. Pachira are tough plants and can afford to lose every leaf and then grow new ones, so I'd just let 'em ride as they are. The cutting I rooted last year was rooted entirely outdoors in low humidity (15 - 25 percent on average).

They are not close relatives of schefflera despite their superficial similarities. Both plants are Eudicots, but they are from different class, order, family, genus, and species.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:27PM
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asleep_in_the_garden

Thanks for that Josh!

Glad I asked! :)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 9:35AM
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