3 humble beginnings for $5

canoeguide

Shohin
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I found these 3 portulacaria in a single pot for $5 at Home Depot. I picked the pot that had the thickest trunks.

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It may not be the best time of year (going into winter) but after a couple of weeks, I got the itch to separate them and repot.

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These can stay outside in indirect light for a few more weeks in zone 6a (before coming inside to a south-facing window). I did bare root them and did some root pruning to get things going in the right direction. I watered them in very well (1:1:1 Napa, lava, pumice, with a bit of fir bark), and my intuition is to let them go dry for a week or two to push some new roots. Does that make sense?
 
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Forsoothe!

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Outdoor sun is 2 1/2 months beyond zenith, so it is weak and getting weaker. These are plants from Africa close to the equator, so they are sun lovers. Put them in full sun until the overnight temps are less than 50°F.
 

canoeguide

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Outdoor sun is 2 1/2 months beyond zenith, so it is weak and getting weaker. These are plants from Africa close to the equator, so they are sun lovers. Put them in full sun until the overnight temps are less than 50°F.
Full sun, even though I just repotted and root pruned them today?
 

Forsoothe!

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Yes, they need to get growing some before the sun's photo-period decreases even more, in addition to the fact that the intensity is getting lower and lower. You could have picked a better time to do this, like next spring. Major work is done when the plant is actively growing, vigorously. Some of April, all of May and June, some of July (all depending upon your latitude), -when they have enough time to recover and mature buds for next season before they enter their quiet period.
 

canoeguide

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Yes, they need to get growing some before the sun's photo-period decreases even more, in addition to the fact that the intensity is getting lower and lower. You could have picked a better time to do this, like next spring.
Thank you for your advice, I'll get them in at least the morning sun ASAP. I had wisely planned on waiting until spring but got impatient when I saw fresh growth and a few more weeks of good outdoor temps here. Definitely not the right time for doing this! Hopefully, they do okay.
 
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Thank you for your advice, I'll get them in at least the morning sun ASAP. I had wisely planned on waiting until spring but got impatient when I saw fresh growth and a few more weeks of good outdoor temps here. Definitely not the right time for doing this! Hopefully, they do okay.
I had some I repotted late in the year last year and they did ok under cheap led grow lights for the winter. Once i put them back out in spring they took off.
 

sparklemotion

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In my couple of years experience with spekbooms (much better common name IMO than "dwarf jade" , which just confuses people), the only way to kill them really is overwatering.

You weren't at the best time of the year for this repotting, but they'll be easier to water appropriately over the winter in bonsai soil. Let them go at least another week before watering again - let the leaves go just a hair wrinkly.

Succulents use their stored water to grow roots when the soil around the roots is too dry. So if you are keeping moisture in the soil, you won't get roots.
 

W3rk

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In my couple of years experience with spekbooms (much better common name IMO than "dwarf jade" , which just confuses people), the only way to kill them really is overwatering.

You weren't at the best time of the year for this repotting, but they'll be easier to water appropriately over the winter in bonsai soil. Let them go at least another week before watering again - let the leaves go just a hair wrinkly.

Succulents use their stored water to grow roots when the soil around the roots is too dry. So if you are keeping moisture in the soil, you won't get roots.
That's my understanding as well, is that the roots grow/develop better when they are dry and need to search for water. I've rooted P. Afra cuttings in soil before. But 2 weeks ago I took 3 cuttings, 2 went in pots/substrate, the other went into a glass with water and it's been sitting in water since. The roots are just motoring on this, I bet far better than the 2 that I put in soil:
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canoeguide

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Maybe a month ago a mouse or other vermin took a nibble on this trunk:

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How do ports heal since they are succulents and don't really grow the same way that trees do? I could always cut this above the damage and make a new cutting, but I'm curious what thoughts anyone here might have. (I know it will survive either way - in this case it's pushing new leaves right above the damage.) I'm more interested in how ports heal.
 

W3rk

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Maybe a month ago a mouse or other vermin took a nibble on this trunk:

View attachment 265975

How do ports heal since they are succulents and don't really grow the same way that trees do? I could always cut this above the damage and make a new cutting, but I'm curious what thoughts anyone here might have. (I know it will survive either way - in this case it's pushing new leaves right above the damage.) I'm more interested in how ports heal.
Based on my observations with Spekboom so far, these kinds of wounds don't heal - like you aren't going to get what you would on a traditional tree with the cambium/bark starting to roll and fill in the wound. I think you might be stuck with only getting half as much growth on the unchewed side.
 

canoeguide

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Based on my observations with Spekboom so far, these kinds of wounds don't heal - like you aren't going to get what you would on a traditional tree with the cambium/bark starting to roll and fill in the wound. I think you might be stuck with only getting half as much growth on the unchewed side.
Right. Would it ever look "good"? I guess I am asking: will this produce good character or just always look like a trunk with a crater in it? I'm considering doing a cutting and seeing what the base does on its own:
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I've got no experience with spekboom, so my thoughts are strictly driven by aesthetics but I would go for it. The remaining trunk has a leader and retains all the character of the mouse attack. The cutting will be shortened so it'll add to its proportions. But would it be better to do it in the spring?
 

Forsoothe!

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Perhaps you could consider barbering the chewed up area, slitting it vertically 6 or 8 places, and planting it deeper? That would force/allow you to recombobulate the existing roots to your purposes.
 

canoeguide

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Perhaps you could consider barbering the chewed up area, slitting it vertically 6 or 8 places, and planting it deeper? That would force/allow you to recombobulate the existing roots to your purposes.
That's an interesting idea that I haven't considered. I've just been letting this thing grow in the meantime, but I'll attempt some kind of action on this little thing in the spring!
 

cbrshadow23

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If you let the portulacaria grow enough, the wound will end up giving it character. There are several posts on Reddit where these plants rotted and were carved out, or were chewed on by squirrels and then turned into super interesting older trees.
 
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