Saturday, July 25, 2009

Random plant event: Strelitzia water-rooting

Both of my Strelitzia nicolai plants have been doing a thing lately where the oldest leaves go sort of yellow and curl up. I think this is because they need new potting mix. This is bad because if your big, chunky pieces of mix become small and fine, they can settle around the roots more and more tightly, eventually getting packed around the roots so tightly that air can no longer get to the roots and then the roots die.

I haven't done anything about this yet, because it started before the move, and as far as it goes, I'm not positive that I've even got the right theory, because I haven't checked the roots on these plants, because of the aforementioned moving-related time constraints and also because there's a little bit of denial going on: whenever I do get around to doing a full soil change on these, it's going to be a big production, and soil's going to go all over, and there'll be some wrestling of large plants going on (not, like, BDSP large, but still, big), and I'd rather not. So we pretend that this is not what's going on, and that everything is fine, even as the leaves continue to yellow and curl.

Anyway. Not too long after we moved in, the smaller plant of the two, a 10-inch pot containing three individual small plants, sorta fell apart, by which I mean that one of the three individuals just kinda . . . jumped out one day. I, realizing that I didn't have time to deal with this then, washed off the roots and threw it in a glass of water, just until I had time to deal with it, just temporarily, and then forgot about it.

So the other day when I was watering, I thought, oh, I wonder if I need to add some water to that one Strelitzia, so I checked on it, and I saw this:

The old roots, which were brown when the plant fell out of the pot, are totally dead, BUT!, there are new, solid, white roots forming now. I did not know that Strelitzias would root in water. Nobody ever tells you these things. I still haven't potted the plant up, of course: I just changed the water and put it back where it was. But I'm impressed with its will to live, so I will probably try to pot it up sooner rather than later, now. And maybe I'll change the soil in the other ones sooner rather than later, too.


Anonymous said...

It is funny how we gardeners can be motivated by a plants will to live. Good luck with the white birds.

lynn'sgarden said...

Yes, oh please, please, pot her up sooner rather than later Mr. she reward ya with blooms! Do it today.

Brandon Gay said...

It has been my experience that most plants will eventually root in water. It may not be the best way to propagate some plants, but it does usually work. Plants which are prone to rot sometimes rot when placed in water and sometimes there is some transplant shock when plants go from water to potting mix. But, it's great when you are short on time.

I had several pieces of Ficus elastica in water for about a month. They never did root, but nor did they rot or die. I finally stuck them in potting mix and they are doing just fine. I suspect they may have eventually rooted in the water had I not gotten impatient.

Would air layering have worked better? Probably. But, I just didn't want to mess with it at the time. And, what I did worked.

carolann said...

I say let it go!!! See what happens. Maybe you can stick it in a vase and put a fish in it. Remember the antherium/beta thing.