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How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Posted by muddeprived none (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 4, 13 at 11:52

So the story is I got this little baby plant from my gf's mother and I decided to grow it. Fast forward three years and it's over 8 feet tall and bending at the ceiling. I cut off the tip at an angle a couple months ago and tossed it in a container of water to root it for another plant but the big plant grew another branch just below where I cut it and is now at the ceiling...again.

Is there a way to stop vertical growth? I can get pictures if needed.

Thanks

Chris


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Hi & welcome to Gardenweb!

Sounds like this could be a corn plant or some other Dracaena, but could be any of a vast number of plants.

Pics would enable people to give you very specific advice, as well as confirm its' ID. Without knowing exactly what it is, it's impossible to predict anything. Generally, cut it shorter this time so it takes longer to get too tall. You could also espalier it sideways, or in any direction, by winding/training/tying/spiraling it gently around/to a support.

Are you interested in just having the one plant, or would you also want instructions on trimming it to also yield the best material for propagating new plants (if your previous experience left you with any questions?)


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Thanks for replying. Here's a picture of the plant along with the rest of the plants I'm growing. It's the tall one on the left. The tip I cut off is to the right of the aloe vera plant, underneath the other plant (dunno it's name LOL).

I am just interested in seeing how I can stop the vertical growth because my ceiling is only so high. When I cut the top off, it stopped for a couple months and then a new leaf sprouted and now it has another leaf growing. I'm not sure if routing it in another direction is the best thing to do because it's top heavy and requires that pole to stay straight. The leaves are quite heavy!

Thanks!

This post was edited by muddeprived on Mon, Feb 4, 13 at 13:54


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

That looks like a rubber tree plant. I would cut the plant in half, or cut 3/4 of it off. Do what you want with the top...toss, reroot, give away, and the bottom should continue to grow and get a little bushier.

Nancy


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Hi, It's a Ficus elastica (aka Rubber Plant), am hoping our resident Ficus person will come along & see this. He's probably the best person to advise on this plant (& your question).


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 4, 13 at 21:09

Nancy got it right. Your plant is saying it's pretty happy where it is by holding onto its lower leaves for so long. You can chop your plant back to a point immediately above any of the leaves. To be honest, I'd cut it back low enough that there are only 2 or 3 healthy leaves left (remove 3/4-7/8 of the top), but I'd wait until early summer (mid-June) to do that. You'll likely get a new branch from the axil of each of the leaves you leave on the tree. You can keep all of them for a bushy tree, or remove the ones you don't want to recreate a standard, probably select the branch that most wants to grow upright to train as the new leader.

If it's never been fully repotted, I'd include that in my plans as well. Then you'll REALLY see what you'll probably look at as a growth spurt, but what in reality is the tree showing you what it's been capable of all along. ;-)

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Hi All,

Pls. excuse me Nancy, I accidentally had this thread open a long time, from before you posted. I did not see your response before posting mine; sorry if that was awkward.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Thanks for the replies and suggestions. :) I'm not sure if my lady will allow me to cut THAT much off of it but I'll ask her if I can take at least half.

I didn't know that a plant is happy if it's holding it's lower leaves. This plant never lost any leaves during the years we grew it. We repot it every year with new soil and slightly larger pot, and it goes outside in the summer time to bath in sunlight. I guess that is what's keeping it happy. :)


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Yes, it's fantastic! (The other plants look happy too.) Certainly not worth causing discord with your lady though. Hopefully the two of you can read this discussion, and whatever other sources you feel like consulting, and reach a unanimous decision about what to do.

IMO, this part is the most exciting prospect:

"You'll likely get a new branch from the axil of each of the leaves you leave on the tree."
Would that make you both happy? If you and she don't want to keep the removed top, someone would probably want it, if you have other "plant people" around.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

When I cut off the top part a couple months ago, only one leaf grew above of the highest leaf on the plant. If I cut it at mid-height, would I get the same result or will there be more than one grow out of the remaining leaves? I'm not sure how it would look if there were 3 or more new branches coming out of where I cut and would cause stability issues being top heavy and all. Hmmm.....


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

If you had just cut the tip, that may not have inspired the plant to "back bud" (produce lateral branches where before there were only single leaves.) What is being suggested would ideally/likely result in a similar appearance to this tree, (more like your Schefflera in structure but with much bigger leaves,) with side branches likely starting much lower without a naked trunk as pictured in the link.

Found a decently branched tree on pinterest.
Here is a tree growing outside naturally.

If your plant starts working on several side branches growing at an angle that's not quite straight up, it will take a lot longer for them to reach the ceiling than a single leader that is growing straight up.

A tree should be able to hold itself up. Reducing the height will alleviate the top-heaviness. Then exposing it to some wind (from a fan or from being outside) or gently waggling it with your hand often, before it starts flopping, can help it to get stronger, stay stronger, as well as turning it often so it doesn't lean toward the light.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 5, 13 at 20:26

How enthusiastically your plant responds to being pinched (removing the apical meristem[s]) depends primarily on WHEN you do it and what is the level of the plant's vitality at that time. Expect a more animated outcome if you wait until late June or early July after your plant has had a few weeks outdoors.

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Holy moly! You've definitely inspired me to do some snipping to my rubber tree, which is going straight up with no branches like yours -- except mine is currently only 2.5 feet tall! At least a foot of that growth was over the course of about 2-3 months late last summer. Your plants look awesome, btw!


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

This is one of the easiest plants to perform air layering on. Lots of youtube demonstrations on-line, including at least one on a rubber plant!


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by dsws none (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 0:38

Dunno if it works on rubber trees, but some plants will have less apical dominance if they have brighter light. I think that's a response to levels of blue light in particular, so switching to a bluer (higher color-temperature number) CFL in that lamp might help.

Just speculating, though. If someone who's actually familiar with these plants says I'm full of it, they're probably right.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Well I've finally gotten around to trimming the tree and I cut it about 2.5 feet down from the tip and placed that piece in a pop bottle filled with water. I will wait for the water level to lower and force the plant to root-reach the water before planting it in soil. It has been 1 and a half weeks so far and no sign of a new branch on the main tree and no roots on the cut piece. I will wait a bit longer and see what happens but so far nothing bad going on. :) I will post pictures tomorrow.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

I'm glad to see that you followed everyone 's advice! Just teasing.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Lovely tree. It is a ficus elastica as mentioned but I can't tell from the pic if its a ficus elastica burgundy or just a regular ficus elastica. Nonetheless I would be happy to see my elasticas grow like yours. It's amazing that the lower leaves have not dropped. Good work whatever you're doing.

Btw, what is the cardboard at the bottom for? Perhaps you can find a way to not need that cardboard. Would look much more nice. ;)


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Sorry it's been a while. I was busy with life like usual lol. I trimmed it about 2 feet down from the tip and placed it in an old pop bottle to get it to root before planting it in soil. The main tree has finally sprouted a new branch that is about 1 mm right now...lol...such a baby but it will grow! The part that I cut off is doing well except that mold started forming around the trunk inside the pop bottle. I emptied the water, cleaned the bottle and sprayed GSE on the trunk to kill off the mold. GSE is grapefruit seed extract, a natural antibiotic that is known to kill mold and i've used it countless times to eliminate mold in soil. It works wonders! But anyways, i eliminated the mold and placed it back in the containter with the trunk just a hair into the water. I'm predicting, from my experience on the first cut, that the water level will lower and the plant will produce roots to reach it. Only time will tell....

Any tips on getting it to root faster are very welcome! :)

This post was edited by muddeprived on Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 11:29


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Here's a picture of the section I cut off now in fresh water waiting for it's roots to show.....


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

mud, i am very interested in your GSE tip for mold - how do you apply it to soil: spray on surface or soak/water? where is it sold? do you dilute it , etc... i often have to bag my plants for winter for warmth and humidity and often get mold growth on soil surface. it's no big deal, but i don't like it. it goes away when i remove plastic bag, but still would be good to know.
to root faster you could probably add a drop of rooting hormone or superthrive into water. i'd cut off the curving branch too - it's less stress on the plant while it has no roots, it won't grow while it needs to root and it'll force it to develop new buds. you can root the cut off too and later plant sev rooted stocks into one planter for bushier look.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Maybe someone can comment on this but I dont think that rooting in water would be the best way to root it. I've heard that rooting in water produces water-proof-like roots that are much much weaker then soil roots and have a tendancy to break when transported to soil anyways.

Just wanted to say again that that is a beautiful rubber tree. How long did it take to grow to that height and was it always indoors?


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

It's your plant, your call, but I would put that in soil to propagate, probably in two pieces, separating at the juncture of the old top. If you rip/break it instead of cutting, it may come away with a heel, which should increase the likelihood of the top part taking root. The older, harder wood at the bottom of this piece may not be able to create roots. This is even more tricky in the dryer air inside, IME.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

http://www.amazon.com/NutriBiotic-Grapefruit-Extract-Liquid-Concentrate/dp/B000M7OOPS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1363709772&sr=8-2&keywords=grapefruit+seed+extract

You can get it there or at a local whole foods store.

What I do is get a spray bottle and fill it with 3 cups of water and then add 20 drops of gse. Shake it up and it looks like soapy water. I spray that on any mold that appears in the soil and it's gone within 2-4 days. I also use it in the bathtub on the shower curtains to prevent mold. It also heals the upset stomach in a matter of 30 minutes. It is some amazing stuff. I also read that you can use it to sterilize water so I have a bottle of it in my survival gear when I go out camping in the woods. :)

Thanks for the comments on the rubber tree. I've had it for quite some time now, maybe somewhere around 6 years. I put it outside in the summer time to drench it in sunlight and it stays indoor the rest of the year. I water it once a week and change the soil every spring. It's due for a change in a few weeks!


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Please school me on these water roots. The first tip I cut off has about 40 or so roots coming out of it and it's ready to be planted in soil but now that you mentioned that possibly issue of weaker roots made me worry. Should I take extreme caution when planting it in soil to prevent the roots from breaking?


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Here's a picture of the first tip that I cut off that's been in water for a couple months now:


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 13:23

The roots that form on cuttings rooted under soggy conditions or in water are quite different from those produced in highly aerated media, like perlite, very coarse (BB-size) sand, screened Turface - the gritty mix ..... Physiologically, you will find these water formed roots to be much more brittle than normal roots, this, due to a much higher percentage of aerenchyma (a tissue with a greater percentage of intercellular air spaces than normal parenchyma).
Aerenchymous tissue is spongy and filled with airy compartments. The compartments often form as a result of selective cell death and dissolution of the cells in the root cortex as a response to anaerobic conditions in the rhizosphere (root zone). There are 2 types of aerenchymous tissue. One type is formed by cell differentiation and subsequent collapse, and the other type is formed by cell separation without collapse (as in water-rooted plants). In both cases, the long continuous air spaces allow diffusion of oxygen (and probably ethylene) from plant organs above the water line or above saturated root conditions to roots, oxygen that would normally be unavailable to plants with roots growing under anaerobic conditions. In the case of fresh cuttings placed in water, aerenchymous tissue forms due to the same anaerobic conditions w/o cell death & dissolution.

Note too, that under anaerobic conditions, ethylene is necessary for aerenchyma to form. This parallels the fact that low oxygen concentrations, like those found when rooting plants in water, generally stimulate trees and other plants to produce ethylene. For a long while it was believed that it was the high levels of ethylene that stimulated adventitious root formation, but lots of recent research proves the reverse to be true. Under anaerobic conditions, like submergence in water, ethylene actually slows down adventitious root formation and elongation.

It may be easier for less experienced propagators to produce roots on cuttings by placing them in water, but the roots often break or die when making the transition to a solid medium - a setback from the perspective of the amount of energy vs the amount of gain. Whenever possible, plants you intend to grow in a solid medium are best rooted in a solid medium.

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

it's OK for ficus. it roots very easy in water, and it will develop more roots when planted. with so many leaves it might drop them if you root in perlite, even with bagging. they will have to be pruned off. i often want to preserve the established foliage as much as possible, so i don't hesitate to root ficus in water. it all makes it ok upon replant. i root old long wooded ficus lyrata always in water first, then put them carefully in pure long-fiber sphagnum in a long water bottle (top cut off, hole in the bottom)- so i can observe how the roots are developing and how much moisture it needs. and after a year in that it goes into it's first real pot. i think it will work with rubber ficus too.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 16:35

Some growers might prefer to root in water because rooting in soil challenges them, but it is much better to root plants the grower intends to grow in a solid medium, IN a solid medium. No commercial operations that derive revenues from their efforts at propagation would root any of the plants in the Ficus genus in water. There's a reason for that. If it was better or even more expedient, they would choose to root in water ..... but they don't.

I wouldn't say it is or isn't ok to root things in water - that's a choice the grower needs to make; but it IS better to root those plants you intend to grow in a solid medium IN a solid medium.

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

whatever, al. i am not challenged to root in soilles medium. but i do not have the conditions and intent to do what the commercial growers do. sometimes i root in perlite, other times i don't. and i explained the reasons too.
incidentally there are lots of great things that commercial growers won't do because they are expensive and inapplicable on a large scale.
i do what works well for me as an apartment grower with no access to garden/only small balcony. and my plants do fabulously well, despite suboptimal conditions. for over 25 years. so i speak from personal experience, and i do qualify exactly what i do and why - 'cause it might not suit others.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Thanks for that info! I had no idea that rooting in water does that to roots but I hope the plant survives when I place it in soil. I have zero experience rooting and discovered the water-trick by accident when I forgot to add more water and the plant grew roots to reach the lowered level of water. I figured that was the way to do it.

How should i proceed to root the 2 foot piece I just cut off? Just plant it in soil and keep it wet?


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Mud, the roots in your last pic look great.

I always enjoy reading testimonials and info, especially when they present a different opinion/experience. The will of plants to live under the most amazing conditions and experiments is fascinating to me, and of course I've rooted tons of things in water. Woody material in general often rots before roots form, and sometimes while roots are forming. I can see where using a bottle with a much smaller opening, or a hole cut in a lid as shown could make a difference, especially with the humidity at the end that's supposed to make roots without submerging it so far in the water.

Once something has made roots, I rarely have any trouble changing it over to soil but don't usually see much growth for weeks, or more, probably the adjustment period for the roots. The past few years, I'm generally much quicker to get the item switched, so that could be helping with the success. When you pull a cutting out and there's a cup-shaped root ball, that's probably too long. If the roots get broken while being potted, the effort of creating them is for naught. No debate about water vs. soil roots necessary then.

Don't we all just wish we had a nickel for every time someone asked for advice, 10 people said the same thing, they did the opposite, and it worked! Fun reading at the least.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by wndy z4b (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 21:33

This is off-topic with regards to the original post, but the OP mentioned using Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) on soil to kill mold, and using it for other purposes as well.

Since another poster expressed interest in this product, I thought I should mention that the USDA tested several extracts (source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11453769) and found they contained Benzethonium chloride (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzethonium_chloride).

For those that don't want to click on the links, I'll copy the important text:

"Benzethonium chloride exhibits a broad spectrum of microbiocidal activity against bacteria, fungi, mold and viruses. Independent testing shows that benzethonium chloride is highly effective against such pathogens as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA], Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Clostridium difficile, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, herpes simplex virus (HSV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and norovirus.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifies that the safe and effective concentrations for benzethonium chloride are 0.1-0.2% in first aid products.[2] Aqueous solutions of benzethonium chloride are not absorbed through the skin. It is not approved in the US and Europe for use as a food additive."

Given that it is not approved as a food additive, I would recommend against the ingestion of GCE unless you are making your own at home, and can therefore be sure there is no benzethonium chloride in your GCE.

The MSDS on this chemical is here: http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9923044

One other thing, the amount of the chemical in GCE is very low, so many people report ingesting GCE with no side affects. However, given that it is not a legal food additive here, I would not want to ingest it... just my two cents.

Again, I apologize for being off-topic, but I felt that it would be wrong to withhold information here. Hope you guys can tolerate it! :-)

(and benzethonium chloride is just fine for spraying on plants, soils, counters etc.. just not ingesting it)


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 21:37

If you're happy with what you're doing, I'm happy for you. Truly. My only concern is that others understand why rooting in water is less desirable than rooting in a solid medium. It doesn't matter what they choose to do, only that they have the information necessary to make an informed decision. So of course "it's OK to root Ficus in water" if some one chooses - but that thought really does need some objective qualification - even if only because it's really not a very good way to propagate.

Also, plants rooted in a solid medium are actually LESS apt to lose foliage than those rooted in water. That a plant's stem is immersed in water doesn't make the plant more efficient at absorbing it, or more efficient at making roots. Just saying ....

Think about it for a moment. If rooting in water was a desirable method of propagation by cuttings, all commercial propagators would be doing it. They don't avoid it because it's costly, time consuming, or difficult to institute on a large scale. In fact, it would be just the opposite - they avoid it because of the issues I described that accompany the process - because it's counterproductive.

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by wndy z4b (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 21:42

Hi Al (and others who root in medium),

Quick question about rooting in medium instead of water. I put my ficus in water because I didn't know of any other way at the time I did it. Now, I will try medium. But one question I had is, how does the cutting get nutrients in pure perlite? Or some mix like that, that isn't potting soil. Does everyone here just dissolve fertilizer in their water so the plant gets a little bit every time? I've been wondering about this for some time.

Thanks!

- Siobhan


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 21:59

First, I don't want to leave you with the impression it's wrong to root in water. It's not the best way, but if it works for you and you're happy with the results, keep on doing what you're doing. The only reason to change would be related to the facts I highlighted above.

When you take a cutting, you cut off it's nutrient supply, but nutrients are only the building blocks the plant uses to make new mass and keep its systems orderly. Cuttings are able to modify their metabolism in order to mobilize nutrients and unlock the energy they have stored in cambial tissue. That is what they call on to push root primordia from root initials. Once you can see the root primordia, the cutting can start to absorb nutrients from either the water it's in or from the soil solution. This is the reason that cuttings from weak and ailing plants usually fail, and cuttings taken from healthy plants with a good amount of reserve energy have a much greater likelihood of striking.

When you take your cuttings, try to use the sharpest tools you have. Dull tools or tools that tend to crush tissue when you take the cuttings significantly increase the probability of fungal infections due to the ragged nature of the cut.

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by wndy z4b (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 22:12

OK, so initially when the cuttings are new they supply their own nutrients... but what happens months/year later when they have a healthy set of roots and they are still in a perlite-ish mix? (I replanted a Sans and cut it into new plants and they are in perlite/bark mix now, not the soil they came in, so I'm selfishly wondering how to get them nutrients... :-D


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

love the discussion!
1st about grapefruit extract: there is a food grade grapefruit seed extract sold in healthfood stores. myself been taking it for years on and off. very good antibacterial/antifungul/anti..all. never knew that it works against mold - that's a great tip, i will get it for sure for my AVs and aralias..
i gave some more thought to rooting in water /solid medium and where my method falls. i think it does not contradict what Al says and here's why .. and some extras too...
My goal is to retain a big old (10 years?) wooded trunk 2-3 'above the pot, with additional 1' planted into soilless medium eventually (for stability you need 12"-18" for ficus trees, rooted well). I don't use Al's gritty mix, more like exoticrainforests jungle mix, free draining, but more moisture holding.
so first i develop water roots at the base of the cut trunk in water. then i need to develop roots along the bottom 12" too, so i bag in moist long sphagnum in a clear bottle to watch the development. i also bag the whole plant in plastic until i see roots coming to the surface along the height of the bottle. this is just like air-layering, only not on the cut-off branch. these new roots take a long time to develop. i did not take notes. but i have a book by jerry meislik 'ficus the exotic bonsai' and he says it takes 90-120 days to develop roots on ficus in soiles medium on a woody branch. so it's smth like that or longer, since i wait for the large 1.5L clear evian bottle to be filled with roots. i do cut the top off otherwise i can't stuff the sphagnum wrapped trunk inside.
i water it very slightly, adding peroxide (2tsp per 3.5q - the size of my water can) and a little fertilizer.
almost there... i cut with small very sharp serrated knife(swiss disposable $6 fish knife that i never intend to dispose of:)))). usually in mid-july, since i time for budding on mama: cutting one 3rd thru at 45 degrees..Wait for multiple buds to develop just below; takes only 7-10 days; then i cut it off - that's what was recommended by a commercial grower in prunning ficus lyrata thread years ago, it works perfectly. i bet it could be used on rubber plant too. i got 3-4 buds per branch that developed. All buds start shooting right away (august - main growing period for me). meanwhile the cut off branches are rooting in water. one year i timed it a little earlier - to cut off beginning of july, so that i can catch end of august to bottle :) into sphagnum and put out on the balcony (NE, very bright shade) - very humid and hot 85F easy - the young plants just love it.
but wait!... there is more !
so i rooted 4 trunks like this in sphagnum, then i planted 2 rooted trunks per 12" pot without removing shagnum, no disturbing of the roots! and wire wrapped 2 trunks together about 12" hi to merge, bonsai style. and they did within 6 months. all the leaves to the bottom remained on the trunk! it's been 3 and 4 years and both double pots lost only 2 leaves at the bottom til this day. they are shooting at 5-6' now with giant 12" leaves!
OK. so i have used both water roots AND developed regular roots in shagnum too AND retained the 3' wooded height with at least 5-6 large leaves holding. i do cut off top 2" with 2-3 leaves at the very begining when i put it into water: to retard leaf growth and force the double branch: both did just that in sphagnum. so in 1 pot i now have 2 trunks merged into 1 and then a bit higher i have 2x2 branches going. for lyrata that's a feat!
i don't think you can merge rubber tree trunks, but all the rest should work. and i think rubber ficus will look better with 2 trunks planted in a pot - this ensures at least 2 crowns, with branches - 4. no poles allowed!
whaddayah think of THAT? (clowning...is my nature, forgive and endure..)


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 13:50

Wendy - let's say your plants are in 100% perlite, which is inert & wouldn't supply anything in the way of nutrients, and they have a healthy root system. In order to get nutrients to the plant, you fertilize. Hopefully, it would be with a fertilizer that supplies nutrients in approximately the same ratio at which the plant uses them.

A significant % of hobby growers have the idea that a soil is brimming with nutrients when it's fresh from the bag, and the nutrients are depleted from the soil as it ages, but that isn't how it works. Unless the soil comes with a starter charge of fertilizer, it is inadequate as a nutrition source from the outset, and the nutrient delivery curve actually improves as the biocompounds that are easy for microorganisms to break down are broken down. Only later, when all the cellulose in the organic fraction of the soil is depleted and all that's left is lignin, does the nutrient supply from the soil start to trend downward.

Let me back up a little and say it's possible to build a soil that temporarily supplies adequate nutrition to plants, but it usually comes at the price of the soil's stability. To provide all the nutrients a plant needs, the soil would have to break down fairly quickly, and that is something we want to avoid whenever possible.

A hobby grower puts himself ahead of the curve if he concentrates on the structure of the soil, only using soils that are built so they ensure good drainage and aeration for the intended life of the planting or the intervals between repots.

If you focus on an appropriate soil, fertilizing can be so easy it makes perfect sense to take the entire responsibility for seeing your plants get all the nutrition they need for normal growth, and concentrate on making sure your soil provides a healthy home for roots. If your soil is water-retentive, fertilizing appropriately is much more difficult; not to mention the fact that cultural conditions in the root zone are usually in play, making easy access to specific nutrients difficult or impossible.

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Petruska, Ficus can absolutely inosculate, hence the popularity of braiding it.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

ha-wee! first primordia, now inosculation - soon nobody will understand me in the polite society and i'll conjoin to gardenweb forevermore...
i know about ficus lyrata and benjamina and salicifolia, i merged those myself and saw many pics of joint trunks. but i can't find rubber tree pic yet.
i found this: they grow root bridges in india using rubber trees..)
http://rootbridges.blogspot.com/

This post was edited by petrushka on Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 16:30


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 20:12

Generally speaking, approach grafting or inosculation can be relied upon to occur more readily in young trees, where the outer periderm is still thin and absent of fissures/furrows. After bark thickens and develops a dead outer layer, you'll need to help things along by exposing/joining cambiums.

 photo fused012-1.jpg

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by wndy z4b (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 21:22

hehehe, I know what you mean petrushka, all these fun words! I'm certainly learning a lot here.

Al - thanks for the information/clarification! I have some fertilizer from last year that I rarely used , it's this: http://www.scotts.com/smg/goprod/miracle-gro-plant-food/prod70342/

It's 24-8-16... little blue water-soluble crystals.

The directions say for houseplants, 1/2 TSP per gallon every 2 weeks. For outdoor plants (I have none) 1 TBSP per gallon. GardenWeb has made me skeptical of all things mass marketed hehehe, so I'm just wondering, is this correct advice?

I imagine it depends on the soil medium & species, when it is ready for watering.. but I assume I don't fertilize with every watering, if let's say the plant needed to be watered once a week. I don't want to burn the roots, but nor do I want to starve the plant. Sorry I'm such a beginner!

Thanks,

Siobhan


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by wndy USDA z4b MN (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 2:24

Al - I think I answered my own question (or rather, I found your answer to my question). In case someone else stumbles upon this thread and is wondering about the answer, here's the the answer:

" Miracle-Gro granular all-purpose fertilizer in 24-8-16 or liquid 12-4-8 are both close seconds and completely soluble, though they do lack Ca and Mg, which you can supply by incorporating lime or by including gypsum and Epsom salts in your fertilizer supplementation program."

and

"When plants are growing robustly, I try to fertilize my plants weakly (pun intended) with a half recommended dose of the concentrate at half the suggested intervals. When plants are growing slowly, I fertilize more often with very weak doses. It is important to realize your soil must drain freely and you must water so a fair amount of water drains from your container each time you water to fertilize this way."

from: "Fertilizer Program for Containerized Plants III" by tapla

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/contain/msg0510442422001.html?136

Great reading--thanks for posting it! Now I just need to find an easy/small source of Ca and Mg!

- Siobhan


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 16:46

You can buy 50 lbs of garden lime (dolomitic lime) for under $10, or 10 lbs of Espoma brand garden lime for about the same $. It supplies both Ca and Mg in a favorable ratio to each other. Add 1 tbsp of lime to your homemade peat-based soil or the 5:1:1 mix.

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Great discussion here that just so happens to be occurring as I have just started trying rooting in plain old perliteI I have been very successfully using what I have been calling the Water/Cup/Window (WCW) method for some time now and only made the change for aesthetic reasons. I am trying to trick my wife you see. If i have dixie cups in our window with cuttings she will only see that ill be needing to shortly purchase more pots and the required real estate the new plant will require. But if I start the new plant out already in it's own nice new pot using perlite and smoothly incorporate it into the already somewhat largish collection I have going, then there's a chance she wont even notice!!! Genius, I know!!! :)


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

So a little update:
The first section I cut continued to show great root growth so I carefully transferred it to damp soil. It seems to be doing ok as of now. The recent piece that I cut off has still not rooted in water so I decided to re-clip the end since it had mold growing on it, and then plant it in my tropical container with heavy-watered soil. My sis gave me this tropical growing kit that contained a container that "recycles" water and keeps the soil most without the need of frequent watering. I figured this would give it all the moisture it needs in addition to the nutrients of the new soil. I just cut a "X" at the top of the container and inserted the trunk into that until it was about 3" in the wet soil. Hopefully it roots!


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 2, 13 at 13:27

If you're not rooting in water, you want your rooting medium to be very well aerated (lots of air spaces between largish soil particles) and damp, never wet or soggy. Keep the cutting out of wind and in bright light but not direct sun, and try to keep the humidity of the air surrounding the cutting up. If there are a lot of leaves on the cutting, which increases the demand for water, it might be helpful to remove some of the leaves or cut the leaves in half across venation.

Example:

From this
 photo Ficuscuttings003.jpg

to this
 photo Ficuscuttings007.jpg

or this
 photo Ficuscuttings011.jpg

I realize this is a much smaller Ficus, but the principles still apply.

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Ok I think the problem is that I left the soil too swampy. It's pretty wet and since it's in a dome, it's not gonna dry out much. The plant's leaves are starting to curl up a bit and I'm thinking it's not happy. I gotta let some air into the dome to reduce the moisture in the soil I guess?

Check out the picture and lemme know.

(FYI: the pen is just for stability cuz the plant would just lean too much)

Thanks!


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 14:08

Ideally, you would want a dome/tent arrangement to retain humidity around the foliage. That forces stoma to close & slows transpiration so roots can keep up with the cutting's demand for hydration. The set-up you have is counter-productive - especially since it also tends to inhibit gas exchange and in doing so traps CO2/methane/other unwanted gasses in the soil.

I'd also shorten that plant by half in Jun if it's an established plant. If it's a cutting you're trying to root, I'd shorten it now, That should help a lot with any tendency to topple, too.

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

That was the 2nd piece I cut off the main plant. It grew another branch where I initially trimmed it. I had it in water for a while but it did not root so I put it in the wet soil hoping to get it to root. The dome has a few holes and an opening where the trunk goes in so it's not completely sealed. Should I still take it out? How should I go about rooting it?

Where should I cut it if needed? Should I cut it where the new branch grew at the top?

This post was edited by muddeprived on Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 8:47


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 13:52

You're asking the stem, with no roots, to supply water to all that foliage mass ..... and it's not going to happen. I can't tell how healthy the bottom leaves are, but I'd either cut the top off leaving 2 healthy leaves, or sever the lower trunk section below where it was previously severed, and remove all but the top two leaves that remain. If you cut the leaves in half across the veins, you could keep 1 or 2 more leaves.

Cuttings don't like a wet or soggy soil. Plants don't drink or sip water, and they need oxygen to convert stored energy into the building blocks it needs to form roots - so a coarse medium with lots of air in it that you can keep damp, not soggy, is what the cutting wants. I root most cuttings in the gritty mix, but you can use 100% screened/rinsed perlite for rooting most cuttings, Ficus included. Keep the plant warm (65-75*) and in very bright light, but not direct sun. Make sure the bottom was cut through with a very sharp tool (helps to avoid rot) or the cut has been cleaned up with a fresh razor blade or new utility knife blade. It makes a big difference in the success rate.

Al

 photo cuttings014.jpg

 photo cuttings015.jpg


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

I just wanted to say to petrushka's "ha-wee! first primordia, now inosculation - soon nobody will understand me in the polite society and i'll conjoin to gardenweb forevermore...":

Ahaha! I know that feel. :D


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

i 'fess up: i get bogged down with terminology. even though i am quite overeducated and overread, i prefer consize and easily understood language...and i am bi-lingual. so..not for want of brains or science....sigh...
on the matter of root oxygenation:
just add peroxide to water: google, there's plenty of info even on GW.. i routinely add it to water for plants/misting and rooting in water. also: half-hydro combines reg roots + water roots : widely used and acceptable.
when you first root in water it allows you to root much larger segments and retain leaf mass. so diff strokes for diff folks.
lots of my plants are in soilles medium (but not als) + water wicks and they develop water-roots. it allows me to maintain very large plants in small pots if not care-free, at least low water maint, lots of vacations care-free :)).
i noticed that water-roots usually develop at the end of the stem. i just plop it in light mix (40-50% perlite), bag it , and it does fine.
next stage of experiment: try to drop the water roots in the bottom water container, while the stem will be in soilless to develop roots. requires cutting out a largish hole in the bottom of the plastic pot to pass the 'water tap root' down.
i will use willow ficus cuttings that are water-rooted to try that and see how it goes.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Ok here's my result. I trimmed it right where the new branch was growing up at an angle and cut off one leaf. I dipped it in powdered root hormone then filled the container with perlite. It's watered and ready to root I hope. Did I do ok this time? How often should I water it?

The original tall plant has once again sprouted another branch where I cut it. This plant just loves to grow.

This post was edited by muddeprived on Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 10:42


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

it would be easier for the plant if you bagged it: put 2 stakes into perlite leaning outside, drape large clear plastic bag over the stakes, cut a hole on the top (dry-cleaning bags are great). keep in bright light, no direct sunlight. do not allow condensation on the bag to develop: air it out, if happens. if leaves touch slightly is ok, when there is no condensation: ficus has very tough leaves. also I would clip the top leaf spike off: this will retard new growth until roots start going + may be you'll get 2 buds.
in closed humid environment you just need to add a few dribbles of water may be every 4 days: touch the perlite, if it's damp, no need to water.
is there a hole in the bottom of the pot? IF you water more heavily by mistake, make sure to squeeze the pot a few times: lots of water will drain.
it is best to have at least 6" of stem in perlite : this will become a large tree with time; 12" would be optimal. I hope your cut was below a leaf node? since that's where the roots will be developing.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

The cut was below a leaf node. I kinda left it as it is and it's been doing awesome! The top leaf has been curled up and hasn't sprouted until I put it in the perlite and it opened up within 3 days. Plant's doing very well. I just wonder how long it will take to get roots so I can transplant it to soil.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

I have had bad luck rooting his plant. so i wish you good luck


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Thanks. I'm 1 for 1 so far! Hopefully this one keeps my streak going cuz the main tree already grew another branch that is heading towards the ceiling again. It's just a matter of time before I have to cut/plant/root again. :)


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Here's a pix of the section I cut/trimmed and placed in perlite. It's doing a heckuva lot better than before when it was a larger piece. Check out the before and after pictures. (scroll up two pictures to see the before image) Just eight days later and a whole lotta action occurred. I love plants!

This post was edited by muddeprived on Tue, Apr 23, 13 at 10:41


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

This is very exciting! Enjoying your plants' progress! The new tip on the mama is so pretty. Can you see any roots in the cup yet?


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

I can't see anything but perlite LOL. I think it may be too soon to expect roots, unless I'm wrong? I water it every two days.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 23, 13 at 14:58

Don't be too anxious to check for roots by tugging on the plant - that can set the plant back considerably by breaking any fine roots that might be forming. When new growth is apparent, you'll know the plant has rooted.

Watering every 2 days is much too often - especially if you didn't screen the perlite and if you stuck the cutting deep into the pot. The end of the cutting should not be immersed in any perched water the container/perlite holds. That will reduce the chances your plant will root w/o problems considerably.

If you want a full plant, you need to truncate the main stem about 2/3 of the height at which you envision maintaining the plant. This will force branching from the main stem. Then, when branches on the lower half of the tree get to 4-5 leaves, cut the branch back to 2-3 leaves. When branches on the upper half of the tree get to 3 leaves, cut them back to 2 leaves. This will increase the ramification (fullness) exponentially.

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

The end of the cutting is no more than 3" into the perlite, with about 3 more inches to the bottom of the container and any excess water drains out of the holes I made at the bottom. I just let a couple drops of water run down the trunk of the plant when watering.


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 14:25

OK - good. An airy medium is a friend to your cuttings.

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Well I got some sad news. The rubber tree plant that was doing so well suddenly had lower leaves turning yellow. One just fell off this morning. :(

I do not know what is causing this. I did bring two plants in from my friend's place to try to resurrect them since they were doing pretty badly in the growth/gnat areas. One of his plants started getting yellow/orange leaves so I'm assuming whatever it had was transferred to my plant via gnats? Both of his plants were terminated due to the gnat issue.

Any ideas what's going on?


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 17:09

Gnats are a symptom, not a cause. The soil in the picture looks very water-retentive and probably severely compacted. It looks like it might even be topsoil. Look there first for the cause.

Al


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

I forget what kind of soil it is but it came from Lowe's in a very large bag. I use it in all my plants but going to be changing it all out for soil from the forest.

I've been letting all the soil dry completely between watering so it's not damp all the time and prevents gnats. I took that picture just after watering it.

This post was edited by muddeprived on Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 22:58


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 8, 14 at 10:28

If the soil prevents gnats, It can be reasoned you shouldn't have gnat problems.

I think you're headed down a path that's going to lead to more disappointment.

You might gain from reading the post at the link below. It will add some perspective to the growing experience.

Al

Here is a link that might be useful: A good overview if you click me ....


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

Thanks for the link. I read it and took it all in. It was great info. I also went on a research spree and learned a bunch about root pruning. I decided to inspect the roots and yeah it needed pruned so I did what I saw in many videos, packed in new soil, and watered it down. I tried to loosen up the main ball of roots as much as I could but I'll do it more extensively this coming spring. I was going to clip a few BIG branches that were causing it to lean but I decided to wait a month or two since I just pruned the roots and didn't want to shock the plant too much at one time.

If there's anything else you recommend or something else I should do, please let me know. :)

Thanks

Chris

This post was edited by muddeprived on Fri, Jan 10, 14 at 9:20


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RE: How to stop a plant from peircing my ceiling....lol

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 10, 14 at 16:22

Ecclesiastes 3:1 provides us with the observation "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven ...." While root pruning is an important part of keeping most plants as healthy as they can be, heavy work out of season burdens plants unnecessarily. If you do your repots and root work, as well as any serious pruning, in the summer months when plants have extra energy to burn, you'll be rewarded by a quick recovery instead of a plant that languishes because it was unnecessarily stressed at a time when energy reserves were low.

You're always free to do whatever you wish whenever you want when it comes to your plants, of course, but understanding how to work WITH a plant's energy ebb and flow instead of in opposition to it is a mark in the plus column for anyone striving to increase proficiency. Just something to keep in mind for next time.

Al


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