Lemon Bay Rum Tree!

plumeriasJanuary 5, 2013

Hello! I recently bought this giant tree (giant for me- I live in an apartment.) about 6 feet tall? I couldn't resist, it was on sale for $20 marked down from 110. The one thing about it though, it is slightly tipping over and the stick it once was tied to is loose/doesn't help it stick up anymore. What do I do to secure it up and encourage it to grow straight? Do I have to move it physically by taking it out of the pot?

I googled the plant and it appears to be a rare variety of allspice/bay leaf, and there also isn't much information about it. I have it near my window with the brightest light, which is in my bedroom. I'm planning to put it on the porch when it gets warm again.

One thing I saw looking closely is that there are a few ants crawling around.. is there any way to get rid of them (besides setting a bunch of spiders out to hunt them)? Will they harm my plant?

I'm excited to have such a cute and unique plant! I've just been giving it a good watering it when it looks almost dry. I'm not sure how to tell if the plant is stressed or not.. it doesn't appear to yet.

Thanks in advance for any help and additional information!

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CA Kate

I'm not familiar with this tree, but you might try straightening it by removing the "stick' and reseating it opposite the direction of lean and then tieing it to the plant's trunk. It will also help to place the plant with it's leaning-side opposite the window since a plant will naturally want to 'lean' toward the light.

The ants are an indicator that here are aphids on the leaves of your plant -- or the ants want to put some there; ants are also farmers who raise aphids to milk them for their sweet honeydew excretions.

If you can get the tree into your shower and give all leaves a good spray-off on a regular basis this would be the most beneficial. Otherwise, you are going to have to spray insecticide for ants, aphids and spider mites on a regular basis.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 2:50PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Ants are not always an indication of aphids. They can be attracted to little scoundrels called scale insects. Sometimes, they simply like to take up housekeeping in the potting medium and root system. I'd strongly suggest that you use one of those ant baits made of liquid boric acid.....Terro is a brand that is commonly available. It's safe to use (according to directions), no toxic fumes, etc. And it is incredibly effective.

You also need to be reminded that you cannot judge if a plant needs watering by the appearance. The surface of the potting medium can 'look' dry but the deeper portion can be very soggy.

Or, you may not be watering enough (with sufficient volume) on watering day, leaving portions of the soil/root volume bone dry.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 5:13PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I had also never heard of this plant. Is it Pimenta racemosa? Google to compare yours with this plant. There is a good description at a site I am not allowed to name here: but it contains the words t o p t r o p i c al s.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 4:45AM
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plumerias

Thanks for your input guys!

I'm not sure if I can safely get the stick back into the soil cause of all the roots.. I'm worried I'll hurt the plant if I try. Is there some kind of harness I could attach to the pot, possibly?

Are aphids visible to the eye? I haven't seen any other kind of insect, infestation, or anything on/under the leaves except for the few ants. I'll look into that borax treatment too.

flora_uk, yes, I believe that is the name! It is from the bay family, and if you rub the leaf it imparts an awesome citrusy-herbal scent. I think it reminds me of lemongrass, actually.

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 1:51PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Sorry to be nit picky but your Pimenta racemosa is not in the 'bay family' despite them both being aromatic. P racemosa is in the Myrtaceae and Bay is in the Lauraceae. By sticking to the botanical name you will find more accurate information on how to care for your plant. P racemosa is tropical, Laurus nobilis (bay) is from the Mediterranean, so they require different conditions. Many plants have similar scents even when not at all closely related. Their aromatic nature is not really a reliable indicator of a close relationship.

Aphids are visible to the naked eye. If you Google images you will see what they look like. As rhizo_1 rightly says, ants are also attracted to scale insects which, although easily visible when you know what you are looking for, are well camouflaged. Look on the stems and on the leaf veins for miniature limpet shapes.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 3:45PM
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