How do they do that?

Stush2049(Pitts., Pa. 6)November 1, 2011

Anybody seen the braided cane plants at K-Marts and Wal-Marts. How do they do that? Even at a very young stage the canes will break. They mass produce them cheaply also. Any clues??


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Hi Stush. I once watched a TV show where a nurseryman braided Ficus.

He used three 'young' Ficus benji plants. First he removed soil from roots.
He then cut all but one, strong trunk from each plant. 'Remember, these were youngster's w/soft wood.'
Last, he twined trunks together, tightly.

He made it look simple, lol, but I'm certain it takes a lot of practice.
Once the wood hardens, a larger braid cannot be made. At least I don't think so.

After his braids were finished, he displayed plants that were braided months prior to the show. Nicely done.

My question is, how do they braid taller trees, 5' and taller. Toni

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 3:31PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I am practicing with a Rose of Sharon plant in my yard. I thought of it when I saw 3 small shoots coming up. I used florist wire to hold it together. Wish me luck. LOL

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 4:00PM
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Marquest, you're welcome to several thousand, ROS babies. lol.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 4:28PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The plants are pushed with lots of N under low light conditions and grown as whips. This means that lateral foliage & branching is plucked off of the main stem, except for a tuft of foliage at the top. This produces long, thin stems. When it's time for braiding/plaiting, the plants are allowed to become extremely dry. The loss of cellular turgidity makes them extremely flexible so they can be 'worked'.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 7:45PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I think Stush is asking about lucky bamboo ()?

In the random search-result-picture I chose for the link above, the word "braid" would be a stretch, IMO, but I see that the junctures are secured. I'm curious if Dracaena in general, or this particular species which is often sold in decorative formations like this one and true braids, will eventually inosculate? I've not seen any lists that include Dracaena as a good candidate for arborsculpture. Who needs a new pet project?

Stretching the topic, but powerless to stop... How many times have I braided the branches of a single tree, or 3 small trunks together? I can't remember them all but something always happens, like I move or a storm tears it up. So I usually try this at my folks' house. I'm actually starting to suspect, even though they seem enthusiastic at the start, they don't genuinely want any Dr. Seuss trees growing in their yard since they are always forgotten at watering time. I had 4 oak tree sprouts in pots this spring but they got "great dane'd." I know, my bad. Next spring, I will try yet again to start growing a living chair and/or braided trunk tree. Pecan or oak, depends on which sprouts I get.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 11:02AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Purple, you're entering the realm of 'arborsculpture', a very very old and much admired practice. If you google that term, you'll find many websites with some good 'how-to' instructions. Considering how quickly these young trees can grow, it can be a worthwhile pursuit!

I'll attach some Google images just for fun.

Here is a link that might be useful: Arborsculpture

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 1:25PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Oh, I've entered alright, I've been trying to get something going for about 10 years. The pics never get old. I've read until my eyes got dry about pleaching, espalier, and the like. It's fascinating stuff!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 2:14PM
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birdsnblooms this?

I thought Stush was talking braided plants..
Sorry Stush. Toni

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 3:53AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I don't know... Stush?

Love that plant, though. How long have you had it? It looks like the stems are secured together. Are they showing signs of fusing together (inosculation?)

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 9:43AM
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