Repotting ponytail trouble

Discussion in 'Caudiciforms and Pachycaul Trees' started by moonlitpath, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. moonlitpath

    moonlitpath Active Member

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    Hello Everyone!

    I've had a ponytail palm for about 6 months now and recently repotted it. For some reason when I repotted it, it leaned over a bit. I can't get it to stand up straight. Should I just re do it? Or is it because the base of it is still to small? I tried repotting it twice so far.

    Any helpful suggestions would be greatly appriciated!! Even if there's a trick to fatten up that base. It was very root bound in the plastic pot it was originally in, so it was difficult to repot in the pot it's in now, because I put a layer of rocks on the bottom for drainage.

    This is what it looks like in the pot:
     

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  2. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    1.) Your Beaucarnea appears to be in good health. So, I have nothing to add there.
    2.) Leaning of the main trunk/crown suggests that it is attempting to get more light. Obviously, it will lean toward the primary light source. If this is an indoor plant most of the time, then I would suggest simply rotating it a few degrees every week, or so, to even out the light exposure.
    3.) Fattening up a caudex is relatively simple, but certain precautions must be taken. Keeping the plant rootbound is a "passive" way of creating the effect, however, in order to maintain proper root health, the soil mix must be VERY loose. No potting soil or any particles under 2mm in diameter. Soil gases and moisture must be freely exchanged under such conditions. Bonsai soil, perlite, vermiculite, bark chips, large-grain sand, and/or pumice are common materials. Two, the "active" way involves some techniques borrowed from bonsai culture. Root trimming, crown pruning, and underpotting...none of which I would suggest until Spring when the plant is starting it's active growth period. Trim any large, old roots then dust with a root hormone, repot, and do not water for at least a week...the wounds must heal before watering or else root rot may start. Crown pruning can be done, but I wouldn't attempt this until several weeks after root trimming to avoid shock. This is a common way of creating several trunks. If you want a single trunk, then do not do this. Underpotting is usually done at the time of root trimming.

    The photo below is a Beaucarnea recurvata that is 20 years old. It is underpotted, has had it's roots trimmed 3 times over the years, and in May, 2007 the main trunk/crown was cut. I now have 12 new shoots forming on the top of the caudex. The photo was taken Sept. 24, 2007.
     

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  3. moonlitpath

    moonlitpath Active Member

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    Well, I repotted my pony tail palm today, because the base was getting fatter and I guess pushing it's way up and out of the pot. So When I pulled it out I noticed that between the layer of rocks and the bottom of the roots the was a huge air pocket. On pieces of bark thats in the dirt, was coverd in white webs? I'm not sure what it was!!! Is this harmful? Maybe bug infested?? I don't have a magnafy glass to closly inspect what it truely is.

    .*.moonlitpath.*.
     
  4. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    Likely a mold. Any time you have large gas pockets in the soil and moisture is present, fungi will grow.

    Whenever you repot a plant, you have to push and tuck the soil into the root ball with your fingers, or some small tool like a chop stick or the blunt end of a pencil.
     
  5. moonlitpath

    moonlitpath Active Member

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    So instead I put some soil down in the pot before I put the plant in the pot, pushed the plant down as much as I could, put soil all around and on top of it it. So I hope this works. It seems like the roots are longer on the outside than in the middle. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing

    *moonlitpath*
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2008

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