Growing Avocados???

Daughterofbrigid(5)August 11, 2012

In March of this year, I started a little growing experiment.

I have always loved the avocado house plant, as I have grown one before, that was a beautiful plant, for the three years it lasted...

So, my experiment started with 5 pits. One I let dry. One I planted directly into soil. One pit actually split in half, while still in its fruit, and had a root starting, so, I picked it (tooth picks) in a glass of water, along with the other two.

Long story short... 2 out of 5 pits have turned into plants.

Plant one grew to about 10 inches tall, and was lush and beautiful, until the cats broke it in half. Leading me to question number 1.

Can you start an avocado plant from the clippings?

Needless to say, even though I knew that it was safe to pinch of the top of the plant, I thought that since it was broken in half, pert near the base, near

the pit, I thought for sure it was dead... So, I tossed it into a dark room, and left it alone, only dealing with the one I still had living. The one that grew from a half pit!

So, plant two. It started rooting in the fruit, and the pit was broken completely in half. So, I tossed the half that had nothing, and started the half with the root. It grew, and grew. When I planted it in soil, three stems grew out of the plant, one which has not grown since breaking out of the soil, the other two which seem to be flourishing.

Well, just the other day, I pinched the top of plant two. Leaving two very small leaves, because, I didn't want to see an "ugly" stick... And well, now a new branch is starting to grow, but out of the base of one of the leaves?

Bringing me to question 2.

Will I need to clip the leaf for the branch to grow?

Back to plant one. I recently ran into the pot, which was safely keeping plant one warm... And I picked up the pot, expecting a light, dried up pot. Instead, I picked up a pot that was heavy, and watered. Unknown to me, my husband decided that he would "just see"... For s&gs...

Low and behold, plant one has the most amazing new branch, with leaves starting, and 4 other little branches budding around the first stem. I am in awe.

Bringing me to question 3.

How does a plant thrive with no sun light?

I'm sorry that my post was so long. But alas, it was a long project...

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Pics will come, just as soon as I figure out how to get them from my phone to here!!!

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Daughterofbrigid(5)

This is plant two. As you can see, clearly, it is a half a pit!!!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 12:34AM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Plant number one, as it just started to grow a stem, I planted it in soil.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 12:39AM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Plant number two ready for a bigger pot.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 12:46AM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Plant number one after it got put into a bigger pot!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 12:53AM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Repost....
Plant number one just before getting put into a bigger pot!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 12:57AM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Plant number two growing in its new pot!!!

Kinda got all curvy. I guess cuz of the way it had no support. I ended up putting a skinny popcicle stick in with it, and now it is growing straight...

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 1:00AM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Plant number one getting into its bigger pot, being repotted by my baby girl!!!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 1:05AM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Here is plant number one today. With its beautiful new branch. Hoping soon to see the leaves bud.

I wonder though, do I need to pinch back the new branch as well, once the leaves bud?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 1:10AM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Here is plant number one today. With its beautiful new branch. Hoping soon to see the leaves bud.

I wonder though, do I need to pinch back the new branch as well, once the leaves bud?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:30AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'll take a stab at answering your questions.

Can you start an avocado plant from the clippings? You should probably plan on doing most of your avocado propagation from seeds pits. Hartmann & Kester's Plant Propagation - Principles and Practices" has this to say about cuttings:

"Semi-hardwood stem cuttings from mature trees of the Mexican race have been rooted under intermittent mist using bottom heat at 77*F, provided seven or more leaves are retained on an 8 inch cutting. If the leaves drop, rooting ceases. Cuttings taken from mature trees of the Guatemalan and West Indian races are difficult to root. Avocado cultivars started as rooted cuttings eventually make satisfactory trees, but in general, grow poorly in their initial stages."

Will I need to clip the leaf for the branch to grow? You don't need to clip the leaf to make a branch already growing in the leaf axil (crotch) continue growing. That branch will continue to elongate as long as it has its apical meristem (its growing tip). When you pinched the apical meristem out/off of your tree, you altered the balance between a couple of growth hormones, one which was primarily produced IN that growing tip. That is what stimulated the secondary branch to grow from the leaf axil.

How does a plant thrive with no sun light? It doesn't. The seed endosperm contains an abundant store of energy (carbohydrates) that the plant will use, even in total darkness, until the store is exhausted. The plant will then expire unless it's able to produce more energy than it uses, and light is essential to that ability as well as the plant's viability once the stored energy is used.

Al

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 11:10AM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Thanks Al! I'm super jazzed at the way my plants are turning out! I was expecting them to grow into full, tall, thick trees, but perhaps, they will just
be houseplants instead!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 1:25PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

One thing we can say about all plants is, they need to grow or they die. There is no such thing as stasis in nature. Even plants in predictive or consequential dormancy are slowly dying (using more energy than they are creating) until they resume growth; so, your trees will eventually grow to be continually larger and larger trees if you can keep them alive. You can hasten that growth by learning how to provide the cultural conditions your plants prefer, and you can keep the growth in check by learning how (and when) to prune judiciously - both above and below the ground (roots). Knowledge, learning about plants and how to grow them, helps both the grower and the plant to grow. I'm really glad to see you're excited. Good luck and good growing!!!

Al

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Thanks again Al! I wonder if you could answer one more question for me.
Should I pinch the tip of new branches?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 11:59AM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Here is plant number two with it's new branch growing just amazingly! This is two days of growth. I left her alone for the weekend as she is at my work. I came back this am, to all this new growth!

Should I continue to pinch the apical meristem from the new branches?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 12:05PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Plant number one just growing and growing.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 12:08PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Interesting - you would normally expect a little more branching activity behind the pinch when you remove the growing tip, but I see that your plant just shot out another leader from the top leaf axil and kept right on growing. I have no idea if the fact that the plants are still living primarily off the endosperm in the pits has anything to do with that somewhat unusual lack of response, but I wouldn't be surprised if pinching the tip of the stem had more significant impact as the plant gets older. I guess for now, and given the results of the pinching efforts so far, I'd just let the little guys grow & maybe prune back in the spring.

Are you keeping the plants outdoors? Forgive me if you mentioned that, please.

Al

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 1:25PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Actually plant one is growing outside now. And plant two is growing inside. She is the one with the branch growing right near the tip of the originial stem.

I'm not sure now how to keep it from bending over... :( As I'm sure you know, it is getting top heavy.

Also, I wonder if I should repot it now or not. (Plant number two, I mean.)
I have been trying to recycle my growing containers. But the foliage isn't yet bigger than the pot. What are your thoughts?

Also, I was wondering, I've read dozens of sites that tell me how to start an avocado, and since I've grown by experimentation before, I never really found anything that will help me know/learn exactly the love my plants need, could you recommend a site or book that would help me?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 5:43PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The key to keeping your plants from 'bending over' is bright light. Your plants prefer full sun, and being kept outdoors for as much of their life as possible. This is actually true of all plants we refer to as houseplants, but some people prefer not to move their plants outdoors for various reasons. Your trees though, would definitely gain from being outdoors.

As a beginner, you can make some very rapid progress by taking some time to learn the basics - and I don't mean a LOT of time. To be honest, the plant books you pick up at the supermarket checkouts aren't of much value, and there is so much conflicting information on the internet, that it often leaves you more confused than when you started your research. Even here at GW, you might get a half dozen opinions/answers/solutions to the same question or problem. In almost every case, only one of the answers is the best of the lot, but the catch 22 is you're there in the first place trying to acquire enough knowledge so you can determine which of the answers will lead you down the most productive path.

If you're serious about wanting to improve your skill set, you should realize that it's not going to come as a result of the love you give your plants. It will come as a result of the knowledge you gain that allows you to provide your plants the conditions they need to grow. Another way of looking at that is, you need to learn to recognize which of your habits are potentially limiting your plants, and then change those habits so they are no longer limiting. That sounds like a really difficult task, but I assure you, it's not. Most plants you're likely to encounter, except perhaps cacti, will all pretty much flourish with the same treatment, or only very minor variations.

If you want, I can link you to an overview that paints a pretty broad picture of the basics, After you read that, you should learn how important your choice of soil is to your success. After that, if you're still up for it, you can read a thread devoted specifically to maintaining trees in containers, in good health, over the long term. If you have questions along the way, it's likely that there will be other threads I can link you to that might go into greater detail and answer not only the question at hand, but many of your questions unasked, as well.

I'll leave a link to the thread that provides an overview of growing in containers. If you think it provides any illumination and you want to read more, just let me know & more homework will be forthcoming. ;-)

Just so you know, I recognized the enthusiasm in your original post, and that's what made me respond. I'm sure I can help you if you're willing to invest a little reading time, but you can decide after you read the thread.

Take care.

Al

Here is a link that might be useful: Click me & see what you think ....

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 6:37PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I think I need to clarify something. When I said, "The key to keeping your plants from 'bending over' is bright light. Your plants prefer full sun, and being kept outdoors for as much of their life as possible. This is actually true of all plants we refer to as houseplants, but some people prefer not to move their plants outdoors for various reasons. Your trees though, would definitely gain from being outdoors", I meant that the key to keeping your avocados from getting leggy or droopy is bright light, direct sun. When I said, "This is true of all plants we refer to as houseplants", I didn't mean that all houseplants prefer full sun, only that all houseplants will show their appreciation if you give them a summer vacation outdoors.

I realized that what I said had the potential to be taken as other than it was intended, and thought I should fix that. Also, if your plants are currently indoors and you decide to move them outdoors, and they will tolerate full sun, you should make the transition to full sun gradually, to allow the plant time to build up the pigments that protect them from sunburn.

Al

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:58AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Al, your suspicion is correct - as the plant matures, it will backbud more profusely....
although Avocados (most varieties) have strong apical dominance and tend to shed all
the lower, older leaves quite readily.

Daughter, I've been experimenting with an Avocado for several years now, and I've found
that they resent root-disturbance and must be kept moist when re-potted into a fast-draining
mix....otherwise, serious wilting, root-loss, and leaf-loss occurs. However, a porous mix
is best to avoid root-rot during the Winter indoors when light is at a premium.

I just pruned the double-leaders on my Avocado and I'm waiting for more branching.
My goal is to encourage a bushy plant, but Avo's really just want to grow up while
they're in containers and partial sun. Keep at it! :-D

Josh

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 1:16PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

I just read the overview for beginners in the link you sent me. I love all the information, but now... I really want to learn more.

How do I know what soil is the right soil.... How do I know when to repot/root prune.... Right now container growing is all I can do, as my property is rental. So I am just starting out. Growing anything means the world to me, especially if I can keep it alive.

My mom used to have the most amazing plants. Both houseplants and a flower garden outside. Now she is no longer with me, ao I can't get her secrets. Perhaps you will/can help me?

I live in Northern Nevada. Not sure my growing zone. But my area humidity is between 6 and 12 percent in the summer as well as in the winter, but can vary depending on if we are lucky enough to get rain or snow. Our temps are usually from 78 to 95 in the summer and 10 to 70 in the winter. I don't know if that helps to define my growing zone.

And in my avocado plants, I have been using Miracle Grow Potting Soil for houseplants with slow release nutrients...

Thoughts?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 4:30PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Daughter,
check out these Threads, as well, for pics, ideas about mix, pruning, re-potting, et cetera.

Avocado converted to Houseplant

And here's the follow-up:

Avocado as a Container Plant

Josh

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 4:52PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

I just read the overview for beginners in the link you sent me. I love all the information, but now... I really want to learn more.

How do I know what soil is the right soil.... How do I know when to repot/root prune.... Right now container growing is all I can do, as my property is rental. So I am just starting out. Growing anything means the world to me, especially if I can keep it alive.

My mom used to have the most amazing plants. Both houseplants and a flower garden outside. Now she is no longer with me, ao I can't get her secrets. Perhaps you will/can help me?

I live in Northern Nevada. Not sure my growing zone. But my area humidity is between 6 and 12 percent in the summer as well as in the winter, but can vary depending on if we are lucky enough to get rain or snow. Our temps are usually from 78 to 95 in the summer and 10 to 70 in the winter. I don't know if that helps to define my growing zone.

And in my avocado plants, I have been using Miracle Grow Potting Soil for houseplants with slow release nutrients...

Thoughts?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 5:37PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi, Dawn. Josh knows his stuff, so you can rely on any info he points you to.

It's good that you asked about soils, because it's the next logical step, and probably the most important piece of the container gardening puzzle. I'll say in advance that implementing what you learn may not be as easy as learning it, but there is little question that if you gain a command of the information in the post I'll link you to, that you're already ahead of the crowd and on the downhill side of becoming proficient as a container gardener. Some might think that's a brash or bold statement, but I don't think the growers who have seen/experienced the difference in results between a poor soil and a good soil would consider the contention untoward. Your soil choice probably plays a more significant part in the ease with which you're able to bring along healthy plant material than any of the other choices you'll make.

BTW - ask all the questions you want, and don't be bashful. It's a sure bet that someone is wondering the same things you are, so by asking your own questions you'll be helping others as well.

The thread I'm linking you to below has been around and active since '05. It's worth spending some time on, because the information it contains has tremendous potential to benefit you and your plants. While that's always been my perception, I would never allow myself to say something like that until it had been said over and over again by so many others, but see what you think. If you like that one, there are a couple more you might like to read.

I'm glad for your interest because I get to share in your new adventure. Take care.

Al

Here is a link that might be useful: More homework ....

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 5:41PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Repotting/potting up.

When is the best time to repot and root prune? I think it is time to repot or pot up my plant number 2 at least, because it's roots are growing out of my container.

Now, when I repot, (in my terms, which I think is simply potting up), I try to change my soil. Is this ok? And can you show me a pic of root pruning? And do you think I should do this now? Or when my babies mature?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 5:08PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Repotting? Spring, for your avocados, but timing varies by plant species. For you, I think early June would be best for houseplants. Most others, in cooler climates, would be well-served to repot and root prune houseplants around Father's Day. It's ok to pot up anytime, but extra care should be taken if you repot in fall or winter to avoid getting yourself into a situation where the plant will colonize the added volume of soil very slowly because of the plants natural tendency toward lethargy in the winter months. This is really only true if using water-retentive soils, and not an issue if you're using soils that support minimal volumes of perched water. For those soils, there is essentially no such thing as over-potting, because perched water is over-potting's hobgoblin.

There is no need to root prune if you pot up in a timely manner. You can pot up continually with no ill effects IF you pot up BEFORE the plant gets to a stage where the root/soil mass can be lifted from the pot intact. If you allow the plant to get to anything beyond that point, the plant is permanently affected by the condition - even if you pot up or plant out (in the landscape). Left to progress beyond that point, a root pruning session is required to restore the plants ability to grow to its potential within the effects of other feasible limitations.

Here's a few pictures of plants I've root pruned. After you have a good understanding of the link I left a little upthread, which I think is probably the most important to your progress, I'll link you to a thread devoted to maintaining trees in containers over the long term, which gets into the methodology of root work and repotting.

The pics:






The tree above was actually layered off of its old root system.

*****************************************************



*****************************************************



****************************************************

To minimize heartache, remember Ecclesiastes 3:1, and to ask for specific advise about repotting/root work/timing - just until you get your wings. ;-)

.... feel like you're making progress? I have some succulents started if you'd like a few to try. Let me know .....

Al

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 5:56PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Dumb question, because, I may already know the answer, but...

What will happen to my avocado plants if I plant them in tree planters?

I think they are 15 gallons, maybe more?

Should I just continue to pot up in one size bigger container?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 7:47PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Dumb question, because, I may already know the answer, but...

What will happen to my avocado plants if I plant them in tree planters?

I think they are 15 gallons, maybe more?

Should I just continue to pot up in one size bigger container?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 7:48PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

What's a tree planter?

It's not a dumb question at all - take it easy on yourself. ;-)

If you plant your little charges in a container that large, it had better be in a fast draining soil. If you DO decide to plant them in a large container and a very fast soil, they'll grow like mad; but, if you plant them in a large container with the MG you're using, you'll need to have a very good plan in place for dealing with the soil's water retention or your plants will almost certainly suffer. That's all explained in the link I left in my post on 8/21.

Al

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 8:11PM
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rina_

As the saying goes:
The only dumb question is the one you don't ask

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:26PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Why are their school?

.... that qualify? ;-) Al

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:55PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

So, it has been a while since I last posted. I've been a busy little bee...

My avocados seem to be doing well. And I changed up the soil a smidge, combining a mixture from recipes made by both Al, and Josh!!! I have put them both into bigger containers, (pix to follow).
Every time I pinch back a top, a new top continues to grow, so, I'm guessing these guys just wanna grow tall...

I have a little problem with one of my beauties... The leaves are curling around the trunk. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 11:52AM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Here is plant number 2. I need to name them, huh? ;)
You can see the curling leaves.

I take them outside during the day, from about 9 am til 2pm so that they can get enough sun to get them to stop growing with the bend.... But, I don't know, it doesn't seem to help.

Temps are about 65 when I put them out, and about 85-90 degrees when I bring them in. The rest of the time, they sit in an eastern facing window. Stays about 70 degrees in my office over night...

Thoughts?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:04PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Here is plant number 2. I need to name them, huh? ;)
You can see the curling leaves.

I take them outside during the day, from about 9 am til 2pm so that they can get enough sun to get them to stop growing with the bend.... But, I don't know, it doesn't seem to help.

Temps are about 65 when I put them out, and about 85-90 degrees when I bring them in. The rest of the time, they sit in an eastern facing window. Stays about 70 degrees in my office over night...

Thoughts?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:09PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

So, it has been a while since I last posted. I've been a busy little bee...

My avocados seem to be doing well. And I changed up the soil a smidge, combining a mixture from recipes made by both Al, and Josh!!! I have put them both into bigger containers, (pix to follow).
Every time I pinch back a top, a new top continues to grow, so, I'm guessing these guys just wanna grow tall...

I have a little problem with one of my beauties... The leaves are curling around the trunk. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

So, it has been a while since I last posted. I've been a busy little bee...

My avocados seem to be doing well. And I changed up the soil a smidge, combining a mixture from recipes made by both Al, and Josh!!! I have put them both into bigger containers, (pix to follow).
Every time I pinch back a top, a new top continues to grow, so, I'm guessing these guys just wanna grow tall...

I have a little problem with one of my beauties... The leaves are curling around the trunk. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:16PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Sorry for the mass post of the same messages. Seems I cannot figure out how to delete them...

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:18PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

New little branch starting...

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:21PM
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Daughterofbrigid(5)

Plant number one, in her much bigger pot. Concerned if I went up to a too big of pot.

You can see where she is growing two new tops from where I pinched the tip...

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:23PM
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