Operculicarya decaryi

caudex1August 29, 2007

The last 4 photos on the page are of O.decaryi I purchased in

2002 and how has grown over the last 5yrs. In photo 3 you can

see the main trunk split into 2 leaders, I placed increasingly

larger rocks between the branches. Photo 4 shows how it looks

today and the amount of rocks I've used and creating a new

leader out of the left branch.

Here is a link that might be useful: Operculicarya decaryi

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stanofh

The rocks are novel.I think Bonsai-ists might have tried copper wire or bamboo stakes to force apart the branches.With wire you do risk them leaving marks that are permanent as the plant grows.So,rock -on!

You have one of the best fat plants.I have grown them for years,the largest being well over five foot tall with calf sized trunk(thick calves!)and including my own a very attractive,old 14-16" plant in a 6" pot. I would guess them to be hardy to the mid twentys F in pots, lower in the ground.Outdoors a 32F did not kill back a single twig.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 5:27PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

My favorite pachycaul (oops, don't let my baobab hear me)! You should try O. Pachypus for even better horizontal branch growth habit... I love my Decaryi and my Pachypus.

Wow - 32 degrees! I assume it must have been very dry at the time. How long is yours exposed to those kinds of low temps?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 2:57PM
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stanofh

We have maybe one or two 32's a year..some years no lower than the mid 30's.Not a tropical climate-mild temperate. My O.p. goes dormant-dropping leaves in mid winter.So far the last three years of the six i have had it,have been spent outdoors. In full sun in our climate the leaves also develop a nice red tinge to go along with the glossy tiny leaves.The branches and trunk have shown no stress with winter temps.
It has earned my respect to the point where i wish i had potted it up more.Still in that same 6" terra cota.The mega plants some people have are treasures...
I should post a pic later of the red edged leaves-very nice.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 4:15PM
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caudex1

The plant pictured above survived last winters 19deg for 3day and the mid 20s for 3-4 weeks. The year before wasn't as cold(low 30s) but we had copious amounts of rain.

Speaking of Operculicarya pachypus

O.pachypus & decaryi at the nursery where I purchased the plant in the bonsai pot

My pachypus in a 12in bonsai pot

Another pachypus in 6in pot

pachypus flower

I have one more large pachypus and a few other species,
hyphaenoides, borealis, hirsutissima and a couple unidentified ones.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 6:47PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Great plants! I just love these guys. Hearing about those temps may make me a bit more daring this fall...not sure if that is good or bad, though.

Here is my O. Pachypus:

and O. Decaryi:

Can't seem to find the right bonsai pot for them yet...

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 9:17PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Oh, btw, caudex1 - what nursery is that?

Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 9:19PM
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caudex1

It's The Great Petaluma Desert. Jerry has some awesome specimens, some for sale some not. I've been shopping there for a good 15yrs. Check out his website below.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Great Petaluma Desert

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 11:46PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

GPD - I know them well! I find it hard to stay away when I receive his email updates, but I am running out of space.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 7:08AM
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caudex1

Your telling me...GPD is about 45min away, and find it hard not to stop by whenever I'm in the vicinity.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 9:30AM
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stanofh

Not sure why my post disappeared. But,great plants.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 10:07AM
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BronxFigs

I'm hoping for some updated information.

I recently purchased 18 seedlings from "Botanic Wonders", and of course they range in size, and stem length. All have a peanut-colored "root" just below the thin wiry, main-stem. What is this? Is this "peanut" part of the root system, and should it be buried...or, is this swollen, "peanut" the part of the plant that will develop into the fat, trunk?

These peanut-shaped portions of the stems, have normal looking roots growing from the bottom. I need to pot these plants. Do I bury everything up to the point where the main-stem begins, and keep everything else under ground, including the "peanut"...or, do I expose the peanut?

More simply...what part of the plant becomes the fat, swollen, bumpy, trunk?

Thanks for the help.

Frank

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To previous posters:

This thread originally started back in '07. QUESTION: Are your plants still alive and thriving? Any new information about culture? New photos?

Just curious.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 6:42AM
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caudex1

The mistake many make is raising the "peanut" too soon. Leave it buried to gain size, once raised it will dramatically slow it's girth rate.

All are still growing well.

After 3yrs in the raised bed, quarter for size reference

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:05AM
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stanofh

Mine is still growing outdoors,in ground. Takes lower z10a temps each winter in stride so far. Also takes cooler summers too.
Whats the price on those bare root Opy's? a couple hundred?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 2:09PM
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BronxFigs

Thanks guys. I hate to seem dense, but are the bumpy "peanuts" part of the root system that should be buried, or will the bumpy peanut morph into the lower portion on the fat trunk?

What part of the seedling Opurcs. eventually becomes the fat trunk? I'm so confused.

Good to read that your plants are alive and thriving.

Frank

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 3:10PM
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stanofh

Yes-the root must be underground to swell. Its a guessing game how long it should be buried..I guess after a couple of years you could lift and look. No harm to repot if its short of expectations.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 8:02PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Hi Oppie fans!

Mine remain happy as well. I have repotted mine back into nursery pots in an effort to encourage them put on a bit of girth. Of course, they are now heading full steam ahead into dry dormancy:

O. Pachypus - changed the styling on this guy a bit, going for more of a sumo style bonsai:

And my O. decaryi - buried the roots to see if they can get even more interesting:

Frank - I find these to be the most enjoyable of the succulent bonsai - little leaves, tough as nails, great trunk character...jump in!

T

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:40PM
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cactusmcharris

T,

Those cashews are the nuts, man.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:43PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Jeff,

;-)...

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 11:45PM
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caudex1

Stan,
Those bareroot pachypus were $800ea, the decaryi $500. These were the some of the 1st imports 10yrs ago. One of those large pachypus sold for $3500 last month.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 12:25AM
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BronxFigs

OUCH !!!!! I figured that these fat blobs would be pricey....but ouch, again!

Please answer/speculate this stupid question that will have no answer:

Assuming good culture, etc. how long does it take to get these plants to start to fatten up? Is it less than 10 years....or, decades. Photos posted on this thread show some very fat plants with short trunks....how old do you think they might be? Did they fatten up, and increase in diameter/length with your culture?

My aim/goal....short, fat trunk...with branches concentrated toward top of stem. Think...Baobab.

I have a feeling that I should look for a plant that shows the characteristics that I like, pay the price, and go from there, rather than start with a young plant and then train it. The waiting game is for a young man with patience...I'm not, and, have none.

The photos are really great...and thanks for all the updated information.

Frank

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 8:30AM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Frank -

So you can judge a bit:

Pachy, 2007:

Pachy now:

Decaryi, 2006:

Decaryi now:

It may not be so noticeable in the photos, but they do fatten appreciably over time. As you can see, I did not start from seedlings, however, so I cannot speak to that.

Tom

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 8:52AM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

The O Decaryi is one of the plants on my wish list. I love them, and thanks for posting the pics everyone.

Frank, I think we all need to move to a place where we can grow these outside year round.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 10:45AM
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BronxFigs

TT...

Thanks for the montage of progress. Yes, they do noticeably change, and do look much fatter, but not necessarily taller. The "trees" look great, and the very nice branch ramification adds to the overall illusion of a majestic tree.

Now, I want one too. More money...and the wallet continues to get thinner, and thinner.

These are about as perfect a plant that you could ask for as far as a "bonsai"-type tree...fat, bumpy, trunk with some character, short, ramified branches, and tiny leaves that change with the seasons....and, they can be kept indoors through the Winter months. A high success rate potential.

@ whip 1 ....

How right you are. In another life I would be either in Florida, or, better yet, Southern-California...like Mr. Caudex1...growing my fatties. My NYC climate stinks for the type plants that I want to grow....but in spite of the problems, I've managed to grow some nice plants.

Thanks for all the input.

Frank

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 1:54PM
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stanofh

I saw about 8 years a go a few of-I think- those Pachys in a collection of a local expert. I didn't know what they were. Your pic jogged the old memory. He had them bare root and on the floor of his greenhouse-where he had everything else tropical not just succulents.
I can see why they would cost so much(waiting a decade for my own fat plants to just "gain weight"), but I'm waaay out of the loop on cost of those things I have to admit.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 3:30PM
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BronxFigs

Operc. pachypus specimens are probably way out of my price range. So, the next best bet would be a nice specimen of Operc. decaryi.

Question:

Can O. decaryi be trained to grow as fat and short as O. pachypus....or, is it just not in this species genes to grow fat and wide? If they can be grown short and fat...how? Trunk-chop?...restricted roots, grown hard? What's the cultural secrets.

Frank

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 8:27PM
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whip1 Zone 5 NE Ohio

Frank, I'm by no means an expert, but I've never seen a fat O. decaryi. All of the ones I have seen have been more upright and tree like as Tom pictured.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 10:06PM
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BronxFigs

whip 1...

Thanks for sharing your observations. I hoped for a different answer but it is what it is...now I will have to look for a O. pachypus, and part with more moolah...or, learn to live with a giant carrot, instead of a pineapple.

Anyway....thanks again.

Frank

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 6:43AM
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JayS8

I have just found this thread and very impressed with the Operculicaryas posted here. I have several small ones and I was wondering what I should do now to make them look better/fatter.

A few questions:

- I have raised the root for a few years now without knowing the consequence. Now I want to replant the root back to increase the trunk girth. Can I replant the root back into the soil? Will it make the roots prone to rot since they have been dry for a long time?

- What's the best pot size to increase girth? Bigger pot to give roots enough room, or smaller/tighter pot?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 3:08AM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Jay -

Mine seem to fatten up no matter what kind of pot I put them in. I have had them in shallow bonsai pots, and deep terra cotta pots...seems to make no matter, they just get fatter and fatter.

I see no reason not to be able to bury the roots deeper if you want. Basically, if you have heat and sun, they will take as much water as they can get and I would not expect the roots to rot. Once it cools down in the fall through winter...very little to no water will prevent them from rotting.

I have found pachypus to be a little more sensitive to excessive water...by decaryi is bullet proof.

Hope that helps.

Tom

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:24PM
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JayS8

Tom,

That's a relief to hear that yours can grow well in any pot. I am going to try difference pots to see.

Btw, mine are decaryii. I haven't had the luck to find a good pachypus.

I have had mine for 2 -3 years. Although they are healthy, I didn't see noticeable girth growth. I gave them sun although not too much since it tends to get above 100 on occasions.

I am going to give them more sun and water now. And keep pruning them. Maybe that will help thickening them up.

Let me know if you have other suggestions.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 2:51AM
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stanofh

Six years since I posted? It looks the same. Maybe thicker..but not what you would hope for after six years. I guess once they are stunted,they stay stunted;

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 4:21PM
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JayS8

Stanofh,

I wonder why it is stunned. Maybe it has reached it's full potential, and that's the way the plant is on pot? Is it decaryii?

I don't have much knowledge to offer to this forum since you guys are way ahead on the learning curve. But I learn a lot.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 7:38PM
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stanofh

It was kept Jay for many years by the faculty as a teaching plant. I don't know how many years it was kept in a 6" clay pot until it was given to me..with twisted tap root and all. I planted it to see what would happen...and- not much!
I'm sure 99% of those who look at the yard don't even noticed it. And yet,its in perfect health..always has been.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 7:56PM
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JayS8

Tom,

Just to clarify, yours get fatten in any pot, is it with the roots kept under the soil all the time, or root mostly exposed?

Stan,

Maybe just enjoy it as much as possible now. Stage it in a nice pot. I don't know what it looks like but I am sure it looks awesome staged.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 11:02PM
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TT, zone 5b MA

The pics above show how I have been growing them. I have had to root prune the decaryi quite significantly at times to get it to fit in a shallow bonsai pot. I am letting it stretch out a bit now in a deeper Terra cotta pot...see how that affects its growth rate.

Tom

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 9:13AM
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TT, zone 5b MA

Dupe post...sorry.

Tom

This post was edited by tom_termine on Thu, Apr 25, 13 at 9:20

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 9:14AM
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JayS8

Tom,

Yours are nice. Mine is decaryii so I am particularly impressed with your decaryii. Let's see if I can achieve something similar.

I don't suppose you use fertilizer? Grown hard?

Thanks!

J.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 7:38PM
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turtlefeet

Hello guys, thanks for letting me jump in on this. I recently purchased my first operculicarya decaryi at a nursery when they told me I could expose the gnarly underground caudex as an additional feature of interest. So I took it home (it was dormant) and repotted it... Sure enough, the taproot split into three seperate taproots, some spiraling around the pot. Didn't want to shock it too much so I didn't trim the roots, just lifted it up. it was in a 1 gallon pot and I lifted it about four inches, exposing the three tap roots, but none of the deep spiraling roots. Within a week it started shooting out leaves, which was exciting, but also one of the three taproots started to shrink, then shrivel and now is completely dessicated. Did I do something wrong? Is it just sucking energy to the leaves and this is a natural part of the cycle? Or did I move to fast and should re-bury the caudex. I'm hopeing I havn't permenantly damaged the aesthetics and or health of my tree! Any comments are welcome, thanks

t

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 1:42PM
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BronxFigs

Embarrassing update....

Last year, I killed all 18 of my Operc. decaryi seedlings. I grew them, very successfully for almost 1 year. Bought them in '12, and killed them in '13. My face is red.

How did I manage to kill them, and why? Preoccupation with caring for two elderly parents, visiting nurses, etc. Forgot them outside....(the plants not my parents)...temps. very suddenly plunged below freezing...factor in that I'm half senile, and remembered too late that the plants needed to be brought into my sunny kitchen for the dormant period. Results: frozen-solid Opercs, and, many cuss words.

So, this spring, I will buy some more Opercs. and try again.

Frank

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:16PM
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rina_

Frank, sorry to hear that. But this winter has been very hard just about everywhere, and temps changing drastically - so it could happen to many of us (forgetting to bring the plants inside in time).

Hope you find nice plants & post photos for us.
Rina

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 9:38PM
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sf_rhino

Frank, is there a reason you buy seedlings and not seeds? I'm thinking about getting into opercs in the next year or two but I like to start from seeds when possible so I'm wondering if there is a reason I should re-think that strategy.

r

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:20PM
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BronxFigs

@ sf rhino....

At the time that I bought the seedlings they were $3.00 each. Back then and to this day, I cannot find any source for Operculicarya decaryi seeds in the USA. Not one major succulent grower that I contacted would sell me seeds, or, had seeds to sell, including the major Botanic Gardens with succulent collections.

The small seedlings seemed to be a good option, and, they were, as opposed to importing expensive seed from European sources.

Seeds are sometimes cheaper, but germination rates are unpredictable, and you still have to wait, and grow, and feed, and protect, and wait some more until you have decent sized plants. However, I have read that this plant grows fairly rapidly and develops a nice fat trunk rather quickly. The posted photos show the progression from a skinny to a fatter plant in a few years. I'm a little long-in-the-tooth to be waiting for some fancy chop stick to fatten up, so I usually start with older plant$$$. The seedlings were growing very rapidly and were beginning to fatten up when I exposed them to the freezing weather, and killed them. I would bet that within 5 years, I'd have had some thick, respectable plants.

My general philosophy now, especially when one becomes known as a man or woman of a "certain age".....buy big, and spend the money for an older plant... and leave the wire-like twigs to the youngsters.

Anyone know a good seed source for this plant????

Frank

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:23PM
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