Fockea edulis ...container culture.

bronxfigsFebruary 19, 2012

Did a search on this forum, and I need some updated information regarding this plant. I need specific answers to:

1. Potting medium. Could Al's quick-draining mix be used for this plant? 1 part each: Pine-bark fines- (Repti-Bark), Turface-MVP and Aquarium gravel/Grit

2. What is the best way to fatten, and elongate the underground caudex for maximum growth? Should the caudex be left below the potting medium, and only exposed when desired size is reached. One past-posting says that the caudex will only expand if the outer "bark" remains pliable, and once the "bark" hardens off after exposure, it will no longer be able to expand and fatten. So I want a as large a caudex as possible. Should I grow this plant in a deep pot, and keep the caudex buried as long as possible, even to the point, assuming it grows very large, of planting it into a small, plastic garbage can?

3. Can the vine-like stems be cut back to produce some kind of branching system. that will be kept in check, or should I allow these vines to just sprawl and elongate to produce as much plant food as possible for the caudex to store?

4. If given the "bonsai" treatment, will the leaves become smaller and reduce in scale under bonsai culture,i.e. small amounts of soil, shallow pots, raised caudex, exposed roots, constant trimming of errant growth, etc.

I'd like to give this plant a try, and I've read that they are pretty easy to grow.

Any information will be helpful. Thanks,

Frank

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Beachplants(Z11)

Frank, not sure how much I can help, but I have mine in 50potting soil:50sand (here is SA we do not have all the mixes) and I do cut the vines every so often without any issues. Did not notice the leaves getting smaller. I have 4 small ones as well, caudex on soil and they have doubles in size over the past year. They do have a milky sap which I would suggest you be careful not to get in your eyes. I do not worry to much about feeding or the plants, they seem to grow fairly quickly, without much help.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 10:49PM
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bronxfigs

Beachplants...

Thanks for the response. Any information will help. Books/sites just give general information on succulent culture, and is pretty vague. I was hoping to hear from those who are growing this plant in containers. I could never grow this plant in my lousy climate, and short growing season. Container-growing is my only option.

Wishing you happy growing and big, fat plants in the future.

Frank

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 7:13AM
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caudex1

edulis grows well in containers. This before and after is 8yrs of growth with no fertilizer. I let the vines grow wild, more top growth needs more root to support it. i aslo prune the roots every couple of years.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 9:01AM
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Beachplants(Z11)

Frank, you are welcome, I think between the bits I put out and caudex's great pics & bits, you should be ok, really not too fussy plants.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 9:55AM
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johnsonm08(5a)

Frank,
I grow mine in WI so I think my summers are shorter than yours in Z7. The caudex definitely gets bigger faster when it is beneath the soil. Once you put it into a bonsai pot the caudex will probably stop getting larger. When its outside for the summer it likes plenty of water. I use a peat based potting soil with extra perilite added. The leaves do get smaller as you continue to trim the vines (after your caudex is the size you want).
Mike

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 10:45AM
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bronxfigs

Thanks, one and all for the great information on growing this plant successfully.

Here's what I can glean from the postings:
It's a fairly easy plant to grow, given the right mix, fertilizers, light requirements, etc.... and, grow it deeply potted, and let the vines grow rampant, - to put on bulk and branching structure. Grow it this way until the caudex becomes the size wanted, then switch to bonsai-culture to keep the plant at the size you want. Not too difficult.

Now, another question: Most of the Fockea plants that are sold, have had the caudex grown, then raised by the original growers. Can I re-bury the caudex again to let it bulk up, or is this the final size that the caudex will get?

Again, thanks for the growing instructions. I'll give this plant a try.

johnsonm08:
Nice looking plant. Replace the soda with a beer, and now you got something!

Frank

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 6:49PM
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xerophyte_nyc(7)

If you plan on using large pots, stay away from gravel - too heavy. I like using about 50-50 coarse Perlite to Turface. You can add other ingredients as needed. Perlite is light, and drains very well. Turface adds water retention. Obviously all nutrition is supplemented.

Bark fines are nice, if you can find them. I can get huge bags of perlite so I don't bother with anything else.

X

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 9:30AM
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pennyhal(11Sunset23)

What size perelite do you get?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 1:11PM
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bronxfigs

X...
Thanks for the growing information, here, and on my other thread on Cyphostemma. You have helped me, as well as all the other forum members who have posted information.

Thanks, really.
Frank

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 3:59PM
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bronxfigs

Again, thanks for all the growing tips.

I still need the answer to a question:

Will the caudex continue to get larger if an already raised caudex is re-buried? All the Fockeas that I have seen being offered for sale, are already raised and have been grown like a bonsai. I want a very large caudex to form...so, can I re-bury the Fockea, and get the caudex to continue to grow larger...in reality, I would un-bonsai the plant?

Looking forward to this answer.

Frank

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 6:48AM
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caudex1

Once the epidermis of caudex hardens off from exposure it dramatically slow it's girth increase. Whatever is buried will continue to get fatter.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 9:12AM
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bronxfigs

caudex1.....

Thanks for that very important thing to keep in mind. So when these plants are sold, raised, as a "bonsai", that's it for the caudes growing larger.

Then to get a large a caudex I'm going to have to start with a seedling plant that has not been raised and hardened off, and grow it buried under the medium.

I very glad I asked this question, and got the answer that I needed to have verified.

Frank

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 7:09PM
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