Before and After Pics! :)

greenthumbfaerieOctober 14, 2012

So, first let me give you some back-story on this plant. Around this time last year I purchased a Bonsai Mint (Plectranthus Ernstii) from Pepper's Greenhouse. I fell absolutely in love with the plant, divided it into three pots (since it was three different plants and the roots were one solid mass that filled the 4 inch pot that they were stuffed into), took many, many cuttings (which all survived) and now have about three dozen or so, all of which are cuttings from the three original plants! :P It took me several months of trial and error (since information about these guys online is scarce) to figure out what these plants like in terms of light, soil, water, pruning and nutrients. Well, as it turns out, they'll tolerate just about any conditions (which makes them an excellent choice for beginners) as long as they're not exposed to freezing temperatures. That being said, most of mine get strong southern exposure, and seem to do best when they are grown in shallow terracotta pots with a fast draining, sandy medium (2 parts spagnum peat moss, 2 parts coarse, sharp sand and 1 part bark), and nutrients every 3 weeks or so during the growing season. And now here's the fun part: before and after pictures! :)

One of my Bonsai Mints back in May, right before being repotted:


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The same plant today, in a terracotta pot in better light, with well-draining soil and the right combination and ratio of nutrients:


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The caudex/branches of a 9 month old cutting:


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Another one of the "mother plants"


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This one looks like it belongs in a forest, haha! :)


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Just goes to show what a difference light and drainage can make! :)

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Lamora(4)

Very Purtty!! They are just like kids- grow so fast! lol

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 1:11AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

I like it! I love caudex plants! Id love a collection like bihrmann has!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 5:15AM
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birdsnblooms

GTF...Beautiful. Are they not one of the fastest, thick-trunk plants?
I can't believe how thick your trunk grew in one years time.

Like you, I found P. Ernstii at Accents. When it arrived, it was a lot larger than I anticipated, so while repotting, I seperated a division, repotted in a smaller container.

Cannot wait until my Plecs trunk is as thick as yours..

Here's mom.

Division

How many divisions did you take from mom? Does mom have one trunk or more? Toni

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 11:59AM
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greenthumbfaerie

Toni,
They do grow pretty fast! Yours look great, by the way! :) As it turns out, "Mom" was three different plants! When I got them from Accents, they were all stuffed into one 4 inch pot (which is pretty normal for commercial growers), so I separated each of the three plants into their own containers. About nine months ago I took about two dozen 2-inch stem cuttings from my mother plants, and now many of them are approximately the same size as the mother plants, and a few even have flowers already! :)

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 6:22PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Its like having a garden shrub indoors, love it!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 6:27PM
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eahamel(9a)

those are very nice! Thanks for showing them to us. They obviously like the place you have them in.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 6:48PM
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greenthumbfaerie

They seem to like the south facing window the most! :) I was fortunate enough to be blessed with a room that has BIG windows on three sides (east, south and west). Does anyone else on here besides Toni and I have experience with these plants?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:54PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Yes plants with white variegation need extra light, or theyll turn all green.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 2:42PM
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PRO
The Ficus Wrangler

Those are beautiful...I love them. So, are you going to 'bonsai' any of them?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 2:50PM
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greenthumbfaerie

Yes! :) I have already started shaping a few, including one that voluntarily took the shape of a Cascade Style bonsai as it grew.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Quite an interesting relative of Coleus, glad I looked in here. Love the shaping you've done! Great collection of wonderful looking plants! Does this one have any odor to the leaves? Are you familiar with the term "fat plants?"

Seems like it's Plectranthus season. This past Wednesday, "Plants are the Strangest People" blog mentioned Plectranthus verticillatus as a plant that's currently doing well. No pics of the trunk but it doesn't look like a type that can make a woody caudex.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:03PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Plants are the strangest people blog? Will have to check that out! Oh i should do my own plant blog, what to call it tho....

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:11PM
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greenthumbfaerie

Purple,
Thank you! :) P. Ernstii does have a scent, especially when you rub the leaves! To me they have a smell that, for some reason, reminds me distinctly of freshly cut apples. I am familiar with the term "fat plants." Fat plant=Caudiciform, right?
The stem of Plectranthus Verticillatus CAN turn woody and thicken up a bit, but not even close to the point where it could be considered a caudiciform. As they get older, however, they CAN be trained into really interesting pseudo-bonsai shapes. I would know, I've tried it as an experiment just to see if it could be done. :D

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 2:45AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Interesting.

" Fat plant=Caudiciform, right?" Yes, from what I can tell. I just ran onto the term very recently.

According to Wiki article, you're absolutely right about defining caudiciform:

"Caudiciform plants, or fat plants, are water-retaining plants adapted to arid climate or soil conditions. Caudiciform plants store water in their stem bases, stems and/or roots. Many species of plant from different plant families have developed this form of storing water rather than in foliage or in fat leafless stems. Consequently, many caudiciform plants have temporary shoots and leaves that die back to the caudex or tuber at or underground when conditions become too dry and regrow once conditions improve."

Just having a fat trunk isn't enough to apply this term. Your plant(s) look like they might be doing this water storage thing, but I really don't know. Either way, really cool!

Love the stuff I learn on/because of garden forums!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:09AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Ceropegia woodii is also a caudex plant, as is a cactus I have. Leuchtenbergia.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:28AM
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birdsnblooms

Larry, I didn't know C. woodii was a caudex...If I can keep mine alive long enough, maybe one day it'll have a trunk..Interesting and thanks...Toni

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:42AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Toni, it doesnt get a trunk. It produces tiny tuberous balls which are allegedly edible!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:57AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Well hey, wouldn't spider plants qualify, with those huge white carrot things? Yes, I read what I pasted a couple times but the "roots" part didn't register until Larry's comment... now I'm more confused. What about Cannas? It mentions tubers. Are there caudiciform tubers vs. non-caudiciform tubers, or are all tubers caudiciforms? Bulbs?

Going to fix lunch, then investigate some links I found:
Cactus and succulent society of America
Wellesley
plantfreak.wordpress.com
CSS of New Zealand
succulents.us
Grassy knoll exotic plants
Brad's Begonias
succulent-plant.com

I'll either develop a new hobby or get bored before I finish..

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 12:35PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

No tubers are ddifferent. A caudex is a swollen water storage organ, a bulb is the plant itself

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 1:49PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Not what Wiki or most of the other links said.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 2:57PM
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greenthumbfaerie

Retention of water and nutrients in the caudex would explain why P. Ernstii's stems and base seem to kinda "deflate" when the plant is dehydrated. Most people treat P. Ernstii like a succulent as watering goes, but I've found that the best way to get them to grow a large caudex quickly is to give them plenty of water and nutrients. You can easily get away with watering them every day as long as they're in a fast-draining medium.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 3:01PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

purple, see above:

"Caudiciform plants, or fat plants, are water-retaining plants adapted to arid climate or soil conditions. Caudiciform plants store water in their stem bases, stems and/or roots. "

and check out the guy in the link, he collects them and has answered a few questions Ive had in the past about them:

Here is a link that might be useful: Bihrmann's Caudiciforms

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 4:56PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Water storage seems to be the key factor. So I guess we'd have to know if those huge white carrot roots on spider plants are storing water, which it seems like they are to me, but I really have no idea. I forget which of the links above gives sweet potato as an example.

This is probably way over my head, and all I did was get more confused looking at the links I found, so if anyone has a simple explanation of what kind of tuber would be a caudiciform and what kind would not be, I would read it...

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:16AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Purple, look at that link I posted above. There is just about every plant family with caudiciform plants listed.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:12AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I did. A list of families is great, and clicking the "sort" is even better, but not sure what I'm supposed to learn from the list. ...besides the names of 3 Dracaenas I've never heard of before. Now I just want more plants!

Some of this just seems like how something is planted. Like Mirabilis jalapa, the 4'o'clock. I've never seen one put its' own tuber in the air, but if I plant one this way, it's a caudiciform.

Here's a Solenostemon (which is probably now a Plectranthus) that's listed by virtue of underground "potato-like bulbs." The structure in the drawing looks nearly identical to spider plant roots, Chlorophytum comosum (shown below.)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 12:10PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Some plants produce nitrogen fixing nodules that look like caudexes but arent.
Chlorophytum could be one. I bet that if its not listed on bihrmanns then its not a caudex plant.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 1:16PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Well there is a chlorophytum listed, but its not the usual plant we get, and may not actually belong in that genus, but who knows!

Here is a link that might be useful: chlorophytum with caudex

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 1:20PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Yeah I saw that plant also. Wonder what would happen if one planted a Chlorophytum comosum with the whatever-the-root-things-are exposed, or partially exposed? That's one thing I've never tried with one. I can tell you that planting just one of the "carrots" won't grow a plant.

Being relatively new to the term, I'll take your word that the site is comprehensive. I will definitely be playing with the 4'o's in this direction in the future. Always been one of my faves.

This Plectranthus that started the discussion is definitely interesting. I'll be looking for one.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 3:20PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

I gotta look into this 4 o clock plant! Is that Eastern Standard Time? ;)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 3:41PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Yes, I think so, they're way off here in central time. Still can't get used to how early it gets dark here at the eastern edge of this time zone.

The seeds are easy to find over here, don't know about over there. Hopefully the seedlings I had this year (in ground) will make it back next year. Something ate every bit of foliage from the stems.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:14AM
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greenthumbfaerie

I have some rooted cuttings that I would be willing to share if anyone is interested in experimenting with this plant! :)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 2:56PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Id take a piece if I was in the US Green!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Apparently I'm not curious enough to do my own investigating on this, at least as yet... but am puzzled pertaining people's previously pictured plants' performance?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 10:02AM
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