house sitting Pachira for a month-help

carolann42July 16, 2010

A neighbor left four plants for me to take of for a month. Found name of one here on this forum. How to care for this Pachira is here...my question is..the owner's plant seems to be cemented into the pot with tiny pebbles on the top. It is a new plant, I think, with only four small growths. There are about four dead, cut off stalks in the center. My problem is, how do I know when to water. There is no hole in the very, very, vase at the bottom and the top is completely sealed shut like cement. Anyone ever hear of doing this plant this way? How do I water it. He didn't tell me anything before he left. Matter of fact, I had not met him before. I hope he comes back for them because I do NOT have a green thumb. No plants of my own. Why is the top sealed like cement and how do I water. Sorry this is so long. Please help. I'd hate to kill this plant. Thanks. Carolann.

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I wouldn't sweat it. You're nice to care, but he gave you no instructions at all? If that's the case, I wouldn't worry about it -- that seems like asking a great deal.

If he can't be bothered giving you (who's trying to help him), the slightest bit of info., I say screw him -- I'm not often like that but it appears he expects you to be a mind reader.

No need to apologize, your post isn't long, you're trying to help someone, after all.

Sorry, I don't grow this, so I can't begin to help; am hoping someone else who grows this will.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 4:07PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Carolann, that is nice of you to help your neighbor!
However, as Pirate Girl mentions, you have been put in a tight spot.

Pachira are often sold in this fashion, and it is a shame.
Yes, the rocks are glued onto the surface to prevent soil from spilling - this is one of the most
common "Mallsai" sold (Mall + bonsai). They are almost always dead or dying - in whole or part -
but occasionally there is hope. The dead trunks need to be removed, ultimately, and the living
tissue needs to be re-potted.

If it were *your* plant, I could advise you to pry the stones away with a butter knife
and warm water (to help dissolve the glue). If the plant survives, perhaps you could suggest
this course of action to your neighbor.

In the meantime, here are a couple of ideas:
1 - tip the entire plant until it is nearly sideways to see if water trickles out.
If water seeps out, you can guess that the soil is completely saturated.
2 - if you can, wiggle a string between the rocks and down the edge of the container.
Make sure the other end dangles below the bottom of the pot. Hopefully this will
act as a wick, or siphon, drawing moisture out of the pot and down the string.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 9:40AM
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