Fockea edulis ....caudex shape(s)

bronxfigsNovember 19, 2012

From what I've read, the shape of the caudex can be influenced by container size, and container shape....even to a lesser extent, the texture of the growing medium, and how much it compacts as the caudex expands. Low, wide pots usually will give you a ball shaped caudex, and narrow, but deep pots, will give you a longer, narrower caudex.

In your experiences...do you find this to be generally true. I ask because I would like to influence the caudex shape of my young F.edulis, and cause it to grow into a trunk-like, as opposed to a ball-like, shape. Eventually, I will expose the caudex and trim the vines to look like a Baobab tree. That's the plan for the future.

Right now, the Idaho-potato sized caudex is buried in a straight-sided pot that is about 9" in diameter by 14" deep...(the "pot" is really a plastic, bathroom trash basket, that was drilled for drainage). Probably within the next few years, as the caudex increases in size, and because of the restriction from expansion, it will begin to take the shape of the narrow container... unless it cracks the container wall from compression of the growing media. I was even thinking about cutting out the bottom of this strait-sided pot and placing it on top of a larger, wider, shallower container so that just the roots can grow into the wider pot. The caudex will remain within the confines of the much narrower cylindrical pot, and the bottom roots can do their thing in the bigger, shallower pot. Double-potting with a purpose. Hopefully I will get a caudex that is relatively straight sided, thick across, and cylindrical in shape, with spreading roots at the bottom. Of course while this training is going on, I will also select and grow the vines to resemble "branches".

They grow square watermelons in plastic, training-boxes...why can't I try to grow a Fockea caudex with a specific shape, in a plastic, straight-sided, training pot?

Any thoughts?

Frank

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mrlike2u(**)

I think the deeper growing caudex is only going to push the soil mix to to a certain point at the end limited point the "pot" would swell as you mentioned. Most plants realize an easier way to grow.
Not that a Folkea wouldn't grow more square I think your Folkea would eventually grow more upward as a natural response in respect to the limited space inside the pot.

Sounds like fun too hope you are successful.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 12:42PM
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bronxfigs

mrlike2u...

Thanks for the speculations, predictions, and musings. I will never know unless I give it a try. The converted wastepaper basket that is pressed into use as a pot has very thick, rigid walls. It's going to take a lot of force to split this pot. I'm hoping that the buried caudex, over the years will take on the shape of the straight-sided, cylindrical pot. Since the caudex has already grown to about 3-1/2" - 4" in diameter, that leaves only a few inches of growing medium surrounding the caudex. The pot walls are now only a few inches away from the caudex.

I think you are right...as the growing mix compresses and compacts, I think the caudex will follow the path of least resistance and will elongate at the top, and at the bottom...which is fine with me. Eventually when i uncover the caudex, maybe it will look like a short but thick trunk. Remember...it's the Baobab profile that I'm after.

Bottom line...I'll have to try this technique, and I will document the process with some photos, showing either the progress, or the death of a Fockea edulis. What ever happens...it should yield some interesting results. Next season will tell part of the evolving story.

Thanks for you interest.

Frank

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 1:03PM
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cactusmcharris

Frank,

Grow with rocks in the soil - unlike clouds in your coffee, large rocks in your soil into / onto which your buried caudex is forced (I Was A Forced Rocker in A Pachyshop!) will make the caudex grow in shapes almost unimaginable but entirely within your scope of wishes.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 1:48PM
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johnsonm08(5a)

You might also consider that if it works --you may not be able to easily remove it from the pot......
Maybe your cylinder should be in 2 halves and held together with hose clamps?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 2:55PM
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bronxfigs

cactus....So the stones can cause the caudex to get convoluted and lumpy. I guess the caudex IS influenced and shaped by what it grows in, and other restrictions. Ummmmm....interesting. Thanks

johnson....You know...that's a good idea. I hadn't thought of that possibility of a caudex sticking to the pot walls. Great suggestion. I love things that will make my life easier. Will do.

Frank

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 5:16PM
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