What is this, and is it worth it?

steve_2August 14, 2013

Hello everyone.

I'm from Ottawa in Canada and I saw this citrus tree for sale in the classified ads. The seller says that she got it from a friend and that it's about 4' tall. She's had it for about a year and she said that it once produced tiny green fruits.

Would anyone happen to know what type of citrus tree it is based on this info and the picture? I suppose that tiny green fruits could be any immature fruit.

And my second question is, is this tree worth it? The seller is only asking $30 but if I can't ever get it to look nice, I'll pass. It's really tall, crooked, and skinny. And seeing that it's sitting in a saucer filled with water, it may not have been taken care of very well.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Steve

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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

The tree should not ever sit in water. That is a death sentence for the tree. I personally would pass on it. Is it seed grown or grafted. I am going to guess that at winter solstice you get between 1- 4 hours of sunlight. If so you will have to provide a lot of artificial light for about 10 months of the year. Limes do poorly in low light and do even worse in low heat and dry air. There are not many leaves for the surface area of cambium the tree has to feed.

For that price I would look at some of the U of S sour cherries. They are sweet and grow that far north.

Best of luck:Steve

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 9:14PM
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serge94501

The question isn't really should you buy this for $30, but what's the best use of your $30. Can you get a citrus you really want with a known rootstock for around that price? If so, why take a risk on door #2?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 9:41PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

You'll spend a lot more than $30 trying to rescue that thing.

Save yourself a lot of grief. Start with a fresh new, vigorous plant.

This post was edited by jean001a on Wed, Aug 14, 13 at 22:26

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 10:25PM
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orangelime1

Hi Steve, I am also new to the forum.Very excited
I am also from Ottawa and know where to get some
beautiful citrus trees 34.99 , home depot.I just
purchased a tango mandarin , shasta gold,
blood orange and minneola tangelo. Pictures to
follow.These are a couple of my older trees I have had
for 3 years.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 10:30PM
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johnmerr(11)

Some here will be bored by my oft repeated"First rule of trees"; but it goes like this... if you are going to invest your money, your energy, and a piece of your spirit in a tree that will be part of your life for a long time, then start with the very best tree that you can find/afford. Treat it well and you will be rewarded for many years. It is kind of like buttoning your shirt... if you get the first button wrong, it doesn't matter how careful you are after that.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 11:26PM
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steve_2

Thanks for your advice everyone! I'm glad that you all agreed. It made the answer very clear. I've emailed the seller back and told her that I was not going to buy her tree. I guess I was just trying to get ahead of myself. I already have four small to medium sized citrus trees that I got this year and I wanted a more mature tree.

Orangelime1, your trees are beautiful and it's great to see you're having so much success in the same city as me! Can't wait to see you other pictures. And two of my trees are actually from Home Depot! I got my Fukushu kumquat and Bearss lime there. But that's the only two varieties they had. Perhaps I waited too late in the season and they were sold out of everything else. My Meyers lemon and my calamondin came from Richmond Nurseries just west of the city.

Johnmerr, I love your button story!

In the fall, when I take them indoor, I will place them under a fluorescent highbay light fixture that I bought last year to grow my tomatoes indoor. It has six 54T5HO tubes. And they will be near my west facing window. I'll keep them in my "chameleon's room". Literally, it's my spare bedroom and that's where I keep my two pet chameleon. They enjoy heat and humidity too so that will work out well. Heat at 26C(79F) and humidity around 50%.

That should do it, right?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 12:03AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Steve, tell her it's going to die the way it is being cared for and you would be willing to take it off her hands to save it from it's death sentence if she'd be willing to let it go for free.....

Have a great day

MIke

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 8:11AM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Ok, something is wrong. How come the Homedepot in Ottawa gets citrus and ours gets nothing but palms.

agreed, let that one go.

Mike

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 9:54AM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

Mike

It is the same here in Cincinnasti, oh. Nothing but overpriced garbage. That also goes for apple, peaches, pears, and plums. I mail order bare root apples and pears but I have to grow all the other from seed./ Especially CITRUS. Figs are great through the mail. Mark Twain stated that it would take 20 year longer to start selling citrus trees in Cincinnasti LOL

Steve

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:05AM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

Johnmerr

When it come to buttoning shirts, if your meyer lemon gets of to a bad start but doesn't die, do you work with it or do you replace it. I am one that tends to replace.

Steve

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 12:52PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Steve..lol

I have never had a heart to throw any tree away in bad shape..I have been able to successfully resurect, or bring to good health most citrus trees for a fraction of the cost//I guess it's all relative...
. A tree has to have a rotted root system for me not to give it a chance.....)
Half my trees were for free and cost me nothing but a good soilless mix and my regular routine..

Mike

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

In my case the trees are in such bad shape that they had little chance on surviving. May be 7 weeks from seed with collar rot. But to a plantation owner it may be liken to thinning your been to the best plants. I don't like killing plants so I plant so thin that thinning is not necessary. I planted about 50 sour cherry trees and had room for 4 and gave many away. The rest went to compost. I have yet to pull out a citrus tree.

Steve

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 2:11PM
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orangelime1

Hi Steve
The Home Depot in Carlton Place
a couple of weeks ago still had lots
of citrus.They had minneola, grapefruits,
navels, tahoe gold mandarins , limes , kumquats
.So give them a call.Still trying to figure out
how to place photo's

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:03PM
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krismast(6 S.E. PA)

wow! I am so jealous that you can get those kinds of citrus at home depot! I wish we could get even HALF that!

Kristopher

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:17PM
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orangelime1

Hi Kristopher it is citrus heaven in the great
white north this year.Home Depot does this
about every 8 years no complaints here.I was
so tired of seeing hibiscus plants every spring.
Please for give the sideways pictures

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 7:46PM
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orangelime1

Picture of my back yard.A little Florida in Ottawa.
No airfare required.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 8:14PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Orange, where do you live? In Canada!?

You most certainly made it look tropical. I love it!

Do I see a cactus and palm tree? How in the world do you care for them in winter?
Ok, nice citrus trees too....I wish we could buy those here. We get ripped off every summer. If I was a manager there, I would order them

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 9:22PM
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steve_2

Wow Orangelime1, your backyard looks amazing! I definitely want to take a little drive down to Carleton Place to see what they have left!

How do you take care of your in the winter?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 9:56PM
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orangelime1

Hi Mike nice to talk to you.Yes you see a tropical
backyard.That is a real cactus 12ft 9 ft
palm and a large sago palm in the middle
I also have about 15 citrus all around
the side of the pool, some reaching
8ft tall.This you would like mike,I have a
8ft tall meyer lemon coated in lemons.It
really is a labour of love.All of the citrus
and palm go in the greenhouse in early
October.Cactus come's inside the house
and stays in staircase.I live in Ottawa Canada,
half an hour from Massena NY. Brian

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:16PM
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steve_2

Wow Orangelime1, your backyard looks amazing! I definitely want to take a little drive down to Carleton Place to see what they have left!

How do you take care of your in the winter?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

orangelime1 That is a beautiful rack of citrus. You will never find that in Cincinnasti,OH. Fantastic back yard. My back yard is microscopic so i go vertical

steve_2 With the light setup you have, you would have no problem saving that tree as long as the roots are good and you pot it up with gritty mix. But I would not spend near $30. take Mikes advice and see If you can get it near free

Here is a link that might be useful: https://plus.google.com/photos/111099372377958308731/albums/5864651368775846321?banner=pwa&authkey=CI763rvAj8eLAg

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:23PM
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andrew78(6)

Hey Mike,
Guess what? The picture of those citrus trees for sale....ARE THE EXAC SAME TREES I FOUND LOCALLY FOR $35! I walked away with a very nice 3 ft tango!!!!

Andrew

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:26PM
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steve_2

I actually repotted all of mine today. No ready-mix "gritty" mix, citrus mix, or even cactus mix at the local hardware stores. So I combined a few things. About equal parts of these.

- Orchid mix(bark, gravel, and some other little bits)
- Sand
-Corn cob bedding(which I thought was vermiculite when I got it)
- Compost
- A handful of shredded coconut husk

I watered with fertilized water and it flowed through freely.

Does this sound like an okay potting mix or did I mess up?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:33PM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

Sounds like you have a good mix.

If you want to see and read about what i did to grow kumquats from seed, click below.

Kumquats are so hard to grow do to root problem that if you can grow kumquats you cangrow anything. The materials are all free or very cheap.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/citrus/msg0320572518736.html

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 10:54PM
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steve_2

I didn't know that kumquats were harder to keep than other citrus trees. My fukushu kumquat is about 30" tall and it was grafted in 2010 according the the tag on it. Do you think that since it is grafted and already 3 years old it will be easier to take care of?

I'll read through this whole post you sent me. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 11:08PM
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steve_2

I didn't know that kumquats were harder to keep than other citrus trees. My fukushu kumquat is about 30" tall and it was grafted in 2010 according the the tag on it. Do you think that since it is grafted and already 3 years old it will be easier to take care of?

I'll read through this whole post you sent me. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 11:09PM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

Steve_2 The roots of kumquat trees are very problem prone and slow growing. That is why they are always grafted to rootstock. The trees ( above the roots ) grow better than most citrus although they are slower growing. .Your fukushu kumquat tree should do very well.

The other note on potted citrus is that you must provide all the nutrition for the tree.. The soil the tree does no more than hold the tree up and hold the roots in a spread position for hydroponic feeding. This small amount of roots must be in soil aerated enough to get the oxygen the roots needed for tree and fruit growth

Steve

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 9:09AM
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slice4444

OK Mike. I do the same thing in Syracuse NY. I have 2 banana trees, sago palm, cactus, passion-fruit vine, papaya tree, pineapple plants, bird of paradise, grapefruit tree and multiple varieties of palm trees. But mine are all small. Where did you get such large trees and plants up there? I bring mine back from the south in my car. But Sagos and cacti grow very slowly! I'm jealous! I also have no greenhouse so they go in my living room under lights in the winter.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 2:25PM
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orangelime1

Hey Slice.Boy do I know alot of people who
cross the border to shop in Syracuse, really
nice place.Slice some of my plants I have are
10yrs.Cactus bought in Montreal 8 yrs ago at
6 ft.Sago bought in Ottawa 5 years ago. This
things puts out 1 big growth spurt every summer.
Yes it is a big advantage to have a greenhouse.
The plants usually start to grow at the end
of January in there.I don't know how I'm going
To get them all in there with 4 new citrus.I will
worry about that when the time comes.

Steve did you end up going citrus shopping
in Carleton Place.

P.S. Is everyone enjoying the late heat wave
we've been having in the northeast.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 5:45PM
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slice4444

Mike: I can't believe that they are selling those big tropical trees up there! YOU have a greenhouse but who else would buy them? It perplexes me that they'd sell trees that can't possibly survive to an average person. I wish they'd sell them around here.... And yes, a lot of Canadians come here for the mall. Maybe I should have someone bring me a palm tree next time they come... I never thought I'd say that!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 6:00PM
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slice4444

Sorry. I got confused. You're not Mike.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 6:04PM
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slice4444

Orangelime1: Call me crazy but it looks like there is an even bigger palm tree in the background of that photo...

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 6:07PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

No you are not crazy, there is a bigger tree!

How in the world do you even lift them up, unless you use a dolly!?

Then, how tall is the ceiling of your greenhouse? It must be enormous....Well, I guess living in Canada can't be that bad after all for you....

Adrew..Wow, I had no idea....35 bucks is pretty darn cheap...The only ones I ever seen sold here are the bushy type or the very tall, too big for my home at 200 0r more a pop..

Nice

Mike

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 6:23PM
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orangelime1

Hey guys . Yes that is a real palm.Robellinidate
palm.I do have have to use a dolly not only for the
palm but the citrus too, and the palm
has huge thornes ouch!!!!. The green house is
8ft tall and lifted 2 ft. Most of the plants 14
Citrus , palm, and lechee are smucked against
the ceiling.Not looking forward to October.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 7:14PM
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slice4444

I struggle with mine and they're way smaller. And I use a dolly too but I have to carry them up 5 steps to get them in my house. But I want bigger ones anyway. I want Christmas palms! The pineapple plants are the easy ones. You just cut the top off and stick it in the dirt. One grew a pineapple 2 winters ago. I have tried to get a mango going (from seed) but I just can't seem to get one going.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 7:46PM
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steve_2

I really wanted to go to Carleton Place to see what they have, but then I realized that I already have four trees and that I should see if I can keep these alive before I get more. And I was a little discouraged the other day when I found a few mealybugs on my trees. So now I'm trying to treat those with Safer's End-All.

Next year, if the trees I already have do well, and I have enough space, I will add 1-2 more trees to the collection. I'm thinking australian finger limes!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 7:53PM
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slice4444

Here's one of my pineapple plants. Sago palm behind it

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:02PM
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slice4444

This is my biggest one. About 6 feet tall. Behind it you'll see my small papaya tree and my grapefruit tree.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:04PM
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slice4444

Here's my sabal palmetto (Cabbage palm - the tree of South Carolina)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:06PM
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slice4444

I don't know what kind this is. But it's rare. I've had it for 8 years. It got a little sunburned this year when I took it out.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:08PM
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orangelime1

Wow!!!! .Slice what a beautiful backyard.I will
trade you my palm for your pool.Slice what is
a christmas palm? Beautiful plants.

Steve just zap those little buggers with the garden hose

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:16PM
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slice4444

This is a Christmas Palm "Veitchia Merrilli" They grow south of Orlando and usually come in 3's. Yes, my back yard is cool. Much cooler than my house, although I have a bar in my cellar, haha. The pool is old actually, but whoever put it in did it right. They also landscaped pretty nicely here, but the house was kind of cob-jobbed. Triangle Palms are very cool too. Very unique looking. I had a "Robellini" (pygmy date) palm. It died on me. I actually had a coconut palm for a year before it died which is miraculous because they only grow in South Florida and the Caribbean. I can't keep Pindo Palms alive either. They're supposed to be somewhat cold-hardy too. They're really nice. Even my Needle Palm struggles and they're supposed to be the most cold-hardy palms and grow as far north as the Jersey Shore. So I've lost my fair-share of trees and plants. I lost an avocado and a starfruit tree too.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:44PM
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slice4444

Here's a Triangle Palm:

I have a whole bag of Christmas Palm seeds. I can send some to you if you want to give it a shot. Your greenhouse will probably be perfect to get them going because they need to be planted and kept damp and warm (70 - 100 degrees) for 100 days to germinate. I can't keep them warm that long and the soil is hard to keep constantly damp. The greenhouse will solve both of those issues. But if you get them going, I want one!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:56PM
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slice4444

Her's a Pindo Palm. These grow as far north as Virginia. Very ornate.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 8:58PM
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orangelime1

Slice I think the rare one is a washingtonia palm
not to sure on spelling.Ah can you imagine
those beautiful palms around your beautiful
pool.I know I was definitely born in the wrong
climate. Maybe next life. P.S I thought
you meant this is a christmas palm.A big thx
for the offer Slice on the seeds but if I get
any more plants for the backyard/ greenhouse
they will end up locking me up.You know the
Guy with th big net.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 9:32PM
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slice4444

Gotcha. Yeah, my friends think I'm nuts. I think I lived in the Caribbean in a past life. Your tree looks awesome lit up. Mine need to grow trunks first.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 9:55PM
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steve_2

I really wanted to go to Carleton Place to see what they have, but then I realized that I already have four trees and that I should see if I can keep these alive before I get more. And I was a little discouraged the other day when I found a few mealybugs on my trees. So now I'm trying to treat those with Safer's End-All.

Next year, if the trees I already have do well, and I have enough space, I will add 1-2 more trees to the collection. I'm thinking australian finger limes!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:02PM
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slice4444

Yeah it's not a Washingtonia. I had 4 of them that I got in St. Augustine and lost them one at a time over the course of 3 years. They aren't very rare either. This tree is unique because the "fanned fronds" fan all the way around to the bottom - nearly 360 degrees, where as the Washingtonia's fanned fronds are only about 180 degrees.

And I'll never get enough btw! Lock me up!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:03PM
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steve_2

Oops. Thought I hit refresh but ended up reposting my old comment.

I'd zap them with a hose if I didn't live on the top floor of a 12 storey building. I don't have a hose. haha

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:10PM
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slice4444

Lemme know if you change your mind. I have about 100 of them! They look like tiny coconuts!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:18PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Umm...Slice, how easy are they to grow? I'd love one if you let me pay.....

Mike:-)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 10:46PM
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slice4444

I'll send you a few for free, np.... My experience (so far) is that they aren't easy unless u live in a warm climate or have a way to keep them warm and moist for 100 days. I've had no luck up here in CNY. But feel free to try. Where do you live? They need to be in moist soil until they germinate between 70 and 100 degrees, out of the sun - high humidity. After they sprout they can be acclimated to the sun. I tried doing it on my hot water heater.. No luck as of yet. It's hard to remember to water them everyday when they're out of sight - out of mind... Google "Grow a Christmas Palm from seed..."

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:00AM
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slice4444

By the way, Sago palms will sprout multiple fronds twice a year if in the sun, and only once a year if not in the constant sun. If they're not in the sun the fronds will stretch towards the sunny area. That's what happened to mine. It always decides to sprout fronds after AI bring it indoors. Then it stretches towards my grow lights. So it constantly looks disproportionate with normal sized fronds on the sides, and fronds 3x the size coming out of the middle.. I leave them until new ones grow then I cut them back or off altogether depending on how they appear.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:17AM
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