(Pseudo)Bombax ellipticum...culture.

bronxfigsNovember 27, 2012

I need a quick course in culture for this plant. I plan on growing it like any other succulent...quick-draining mix, dry-dormancy period, etc.

I specifically want to know how to develop a rounder, fatter, caudex as opposed to an elongated bottle shaped caudex...like the Pony Tail Palm has. That's not the "look" that I want. Think: "small watermelon...with branches growing from the top end".

I read that this material should be grown hard, restricted, and do a trunk-chop to force the caudex to grow in a roundish shape. It will take a few years before any results are seen.

It's the caudex that I want to "train". Would double potting it into a large tub be beneficial in forming a larger caudex more quickly? Larger root-run, and cooler roots might help?

Any tips, "secrets".


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Frank mine had a really nice squat rounded caudex but I purchased it like that. It was a grafted plant, pink onto a white rootstock and I never pruned it. It's supposedly a fast growing tree but mine didn't seem to grow all that fast, maybe a few feet during the 3 years I had it. I have no idea how old the rootstock was but it was about 6" in diameter. I lost it last year. I think the soil got too moist and the GH temps were pretty cool. I didn't realize it was dead until I didn't see blooms in the spring. I treated similar to my other succulents, outside during the warm months and well watered once the foliage grew in. In the GH with little water during the winter. It blooms in the spring before the foliage grows in. Water it more then you do in the winter but not much until it gets leaves. I bought mine from Gardino's. They had some older trees that had caudexes 2' in diameter and looked like a giant tortoise. They were spectacular. I might pick another one up when I go down next month. If I do I can ask Sid how he shapes the caudexes.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 1:47PM
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Thanks for the great information. Appreciate the cultural tips. I could probablt grow it like my Cyphostemmas and Adeniums. Hard, hot, moist, sunny-part shade, then dryish until the plants re-start...taking my cues from the plants.

Funny that you should mention Sid...I spoke with him just yesterday, and just finished viewing three attached photos of some plants that he has available. : ) Have a great trip.


    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 2:34PM
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Just signed the deal for a plant with Gardino's...thanks to Sid's keen eye for plants. You helped send me over the edge of doubt, and I'm glad I ordered a plant. A bit pricey, but, what the hay! I have a feeling that my plant will be very similar to the size and shape of the plant that you had. I opted for a specimen with a roundish caudex, with some branching at the top. I'm hoping, in the years to come, that it will look like a boulder with top branches.

I hope I can keep this plant alive. : ) I'm confident that it will grow and thrive in NYC...but, I'll keep my fingers crossed, just for luck.


    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 5:37PM
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Congratulations. I'm sure it will be a lovely specimen. Did you buy a grafted plant? I've been buying from Gardino's for many years but hadn't met Sid until a few years ago. I spend part of the winter in West Palm and didn't realize until a few years ago that Gardino's was in DelRay which is about 20 minutes away. They aren't really open to the public but are very accomodating if you call. The first time I went Sid took over 2 hours to show me around. He has some amazing plants, many are not for sale, and are part of his private collection. His wife is the hoya expert and has some fantastic varieties. DH comes down to FL when time allows and he happend to come down when I was planning a visit to Gardino's so I just had to bring him. I'm glad I did because now Sid is one of his suppliers (my DH is in the wholesale floral/plant business).

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 6:31AM
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I had a very nice conversation with Sid, and I more or less mentioned to him that if I ever moved to Florida, I would be in Gardino's at least once a week. He laughed. I'd even work there if I could.

I have friends that live not too far from Del Ray, and if I ever get down to see them, I will certainly plan a visit to see Sid. I like to see Gardino's...a candy store for chlorophyll lovers!

The PseudoB will be on the way up to NYC shortly. I bought the white-flowered version....I have this dislike for grafts. I didn't want the red-flowered version because I plan on chopping the stems periodically to keep the caudex low, round and fat, so, ultimately, the grafts would probably be pruned anyway.

Thanks for all the help. I'm happy you chimed in...and sorry you lost your plant. I hope that it's not a trend. : )


    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:32AM
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