show and tell over 10 year old large sansi

petrushkaMay 6, 2013

I would like to know how people grow large plants from seedlings or small store bought plants to maturity over many years and various conditions. lets cut off at 10 years.
it's not about what's best for the plant - unless it happens to be your main goal. it's about how it happened based on your growing limitations so to speak (unless you're lucky to have none ;)). it would be nice to see pics of plants after many years with you - the final result so to speak. and hear some stories too.
i am an indoor grower with recent (6 years) access to the balcony - so my sansis get a summer vacation ev 2year lately, but mostly it's in med light indoors, growing hard.
i have started with 1 foot plant 18 years ago and propagated from leaves and then division at repot time. so now i have 3 large plants. i grow them very hard: repot rarely, fertilize not much but some, water very little, give mod to good light.
reg potting soil, half-filled with rocks for stability, packed like sardines in a can, stolons separated only after 7-10 year growth. repot only when stolons start hanging out of the pot and have no room - absolutely none.
i want them to stay the way they are - i don't have much room to grow MORE plants, but they do tend to grow no matter what! i am sort of almost negligent and was considering chucking them, but after reading up on Chinese lore (luck and prosperity and health and the whole 9 yards of good fortune...) - i decided not to push the fates and keep them :).
the largest was grown from 1 foot store bought for around 18 years, repotted may be 3 times, last time 5 years ago into large 12" pot, 4" below rim - so it's a very shallow planting, half-rocks on top. it was in part-sun east, then south window in good light for most time, low watering. it bloomed, the pot was always full of offsets.
got big, with leaves 4'-5' bending somewhat after 10 years.. finally i got a balcony, so i cut biggest benders in half and put it out on north-east balcony for 3-4 months - no sun but very bright light, good watering. the new leaves are fat and not bending anymore. i realized that very good light is required for old huge plants. i also started watering more outside - to dripping when temps are in 85-95 range and humidity is high. . the pot is so heavy that i will probably divide it in two soon.

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the original plant was 2 varieties - in case you wonder. the seedlings i grew were from reg leaves without margins.
this is about 10-11 year old plant grown from 6 6" leaf cuttings. it's in 6" clay pot - has mostly 4' leaves from the pot. it's packed - stolons hanging out and breaking - will have to repot soon.
now you!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 1:31PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

That second photo definitely warrants repotting

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 2:50PM
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Your plants are beautiful! Love those lush, full pots.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:35PM
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thank you.
when they are that high, they need to be packed pretty snugly or else they'll tip over. during repot I just pull out some old crowns and leave the clusters attached. may be separate 1-2 clusters into a new pot. but otherwise I sort of nestle them into each other and plop it back into the same pot.
here's a close-up of the pot - you see a stolon circling around the rim in front and going to the left. the leftmost one that is hanging over the pot is actually a double: there is a stem right on the rim behind and then the stolon extends again into another stem.
I am hoping to pull them out somehow without breaking the pot by loosening inside stems first. it has to be bone dry and shriveled up. but since I have gravel/rocks on top I usually can do it.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 8:00AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That's a big one!! Nice, so very pretty!

The plant in the 5-gallon bucket was put in the bucket around June, not even half filling the pot. Pic taken mid-Oct. No way those particular leaves are original to the plant, but I'm told it's somewhere around 80 years old. I've had it for a couple decades. I've planted some in the ground this year, to see what it can do that way, at least until frost threatens.

Try to ignore the ugly Zinnia, the birds were still enjoying the seeds.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 10:50AM
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so you're saying it grew a lot (30%?) being outside for 3 mo? in the sun? did you water it differently from when it was indoors?
how did it look when you got it 2 decades ago and how it progressed? how many times did you repot? divide?
see, I want to gauge how much it grows based on what conditions, bla-bla.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:10PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Here's a pic from June '01. A few years ago it was separated to 2 pots.

Most of the pics I have of this plant recently are in this discussion, and lots of babbling about what it's been through. The spot where the bucket plant was last year until frost is in sun from about 11:30 until around 6 PM. Another pot of it was on the front porch where it was in the sun after about 10:30 AM until dusk.

Since they're baking in the sun, and in a mix that does not hold excess moisture at all, these Sans need water every other day, sometimes every day outside. I never watered the bucket one at all while it was inside for about 3 mos. this past winter. I've since divided it into about 6-7 different clumps and planted them in the ground in that same area as the pic above. They got frost bite at the end of March but are recovering well. Will see what they can do with no restrictions this summer.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:44PM
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very nice plant! and a good read too.
I do know they grow like weeds outside in florida planted in the ground and surviving winter. I like it when they clump hugely.
how tall is the one above? 4'-5'?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 2:14PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I wish I hadn't cropped that pic so tight. I still have that purple pot, 8" across the top I think, so the tallest leaf may be pushing 4 ft. Supposedly there's a bloom in the pic somewhere but I don't see it myself, maybe where stuff is kind of sticking out at the left. I feel like a newbie experimenting with this plant the past few years. It was so ignored before then. Really strikes me now that it's a really small pot for the amount of foliage.

I'm surprised the ones I put in the ground haven't drowned. If I had any idea about the weird weather that was coming, I never would have put those in the ground when I did. Oh well, what is gardening w/o surprises, right? 'Twouldn't be nearly as much fun w/o the element of the unknown always there, and I wanted an experiment. LOL! There's plenty of other parts of it around in other places, but those were the stars of the show, so to speak.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 2:46PM
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I read somewhere on GW that when you do not separate stolons from each other and from the 'mother', the new leaves will get bigger and bigger. and it flowers only on new growth after about 3 years. of course I have no idea which part of mine is flowering , it's multiple stalks 3-4-5 per pot.
out of my 3 pots longest leaves are 54", 55" and 57"(variegated) and 59"(reg). all 3 were undisturbed for 10-11 years. but 1/2 had old clusters and 3 was all new growth. I actually don't remember if it flowers too. the other 2 both do, but I did a bare root repot last year on the 2nd and split some off. don't know if this will interrupt the flowering. not that I care much - it's just a curiosity.
oh, and about the pups going down: they first go down until they hit the bottom of the pot and then turn and go up, that's what I read. that's why it's better to plant shallow, so there's no room to go down, they just go up.
and since you split up pups completely by themselves they'll be producing much smaller leaves for a long time.
anyway, that's the lore. you can report if otherwise :).

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 7:21PM
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I have 3 sans, all more than 10 years old. First is a cylindrica that I got in about 1973. Recently repotted, and lots of pieces given away. It was way overcrowded before. Doesn't look too good with the damaged leaves, but in a couple of years it will be full again. It has survived temps into the 30's, but I usually bring it indoors before it gets to freezing. It blooms occasionally.

This post was edited by eahamel on Sat, May 11, 13 at 19:39

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 7:31PM
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Oops, sorry, this isn't a large one! It was repotted a few months ago, and I have pieces in a couple of pots. It blooms and sets seed regularly. It's in an 8" basket, and is 6-8" tall. I've had it about 15 years.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 7:36PM
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I don't know what this one is. Someone was throwing it out with the garbage, and somehow it found its way into my yard, and has stubbornly refused to relocate itself. I haven't ever repotted it, except for putting it into this pot. I don't think it's ever bloomed, but am not sure about that. I've had it about 15 years.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 7:41PM
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they surely need some tlc ;). if you planted the last one in deeper pot, leaving half the pot empty, it would support the stalks, so they don't flop over. it proly could use some more water too. how long it's been in that pot? surely not 15 years :)??

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 9:36PM
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I don't remember when I potted it last. I didn't find it in that pot, it was in a plastic pot. But it is due to be repotted soon, and it will need support. It gets a lot of water, but I think it's rootbound and probably doesn't get thoroughly wetted. I have a deep pot that is ceramic and would be perfect for it.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 8:39PM
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grabmebymyhandle(6 Kentucky)

Well I'll have find pics to show but I can tell now...
I inherited a pretty badly neglected sans. Tri.
The story was it had been a single leaf in the 70's and had received just enough care to persist... I got it about 4 years ago, she was a beast, hard to believe those leaves wiegh so much, it was in an 8" nursury pot in mainly backyard soil, I cut it free hosed it down to get the clay out best I could and plopped it in a fresh 10 inch nursery pot, and gave it more appropriate soil.
It did appear to be one plant!
It received good light bright direct and reflected morning sun til 12 ish under the eve of the house, in summer, in the Florida room for winter, southern exposure, the first year it did ok, she was gettin her feet set, second year her leaves came out super thick and white, looked great, but the new leaves topped out at 3.5 feet a bit shy of the old leaves at 4.5 feet max, the next year... The pot looked awful swollen, and upon closer inspection had long stolons pressed tight across the pot, reminiscent of a well endowed fellow in jeans far too became quite the conversation piece...
Well Ii figured this couldn't go on long, and it didn't, nursery pots are flexible injection molded and have seams, as one swollen stolon rounded the pot and hung on a seam it blew it out! No surprise I guess... a month or so later another breach! The top ripped of the pot as if I yanked it up too hard, and little stress points started poplin cracks all over!
Winter care keep it at bay but this spring something undeniably had to be done, I had devoted a bit of thought to it, I didn't want to split the plant but at 70-80 pounds bone dry I was left with only 2 options; divide and seperate or repot it one last time and never move it again until it raped its pot, again.

So I hate to so I broke the machete layed it right in the middle of the clump and pushed it thru, then split one side once move, leaving me with 1 huge clump a medium and a smaller one
This time I did get all the clay out!
Gave em all shiny new ( reused) clay pots and some good gritty mix.
That thing was a twisted knot of root/stolon/rhizome... Whatever, just live a big ball of orange snakes, I hated to split it but I want more grandes and I couldn't cope with it much bigger I think.
That was 3 weeks ago I guess and they are just sittin here in the florida room, waiting for a drink, I think I'll indulge them soon.
To add to the thread I'll mention, the leaf height on my plant had been decreasing, tho they were thicker leaves, and they had been successively been growing smaller and shorter leave over the time I had it, I think partly from increase sun, but also lack of water and nutes, it was too risky too place a dish under it but so cramped it just repelled the water.
Sadly there was 2 of these originally, I was gifted the smaller, the owner left the bigger one out last winter and let it freeze! Never even called! Can ya believe that! Along with a hand full of other nice succulents I had gifted them over the years... What a shame!

I would loved to have sunk one into a massive pot to compare with the divisions, do my own research on single plant leaf size...
Not to be

I'll try to add pics soon

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 4:28AM
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wow, that's some story! i'd love to see pics. looks like we're all growing them pretty hard in min size pots.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 3:58PM
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I got 3! flower spikes going on my big mama.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 8:07PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Oh that's so awesome, Petruska! I wish you could "send" me a sniff when they open. As you so astutely observed, I've downsized my collection due to frost, at least in number of leaves at this point. None of the roots are dead, but oops! So flowers seem highly unlikely. There is one clump that didn't get frost bite in the front yard, if there's any blooms, I'd guess it would be on those plants. If I could stop moving and dividing them around so much and often, I'd have more specific observations. The last time it bloomed was less than a year after a repot. Frustrated with myself, similar to Grabme, but the mystique makes for a great discussion. ...what if plants can think, in their own way.. and this one is just ornery?

I also enjoyed the tale of your plant, Grabme! I think the first time I repotted mine after my Gramma gave it to me was because it broke its' pot.

I think it's just cool we can have this discussion. Few plants would put up with what we do to Sans! What a trooper.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 10:17AM
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I got this from a leaf cutting at a swap a few years ago (not 10) for a long time I ignored it. One day I looked at it and saw how wonderfully it had grown without my help. Haha!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 10:39AM
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That's a really nice plant. Do you know the name?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 3:28PM
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    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 3:44PM
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grabmebymyhandle(6 Kentucky)

Looks like cylindrica...
Sadly I may have lost many of my plant pics, the computer had to be restored...
Ill see if maybe there's still some hiding in the thousands of plant pics on the camera

They are indeed troopers!

A close friend has decided these are the very best house plant, it's hard to argue, the only situations that they can't survive are... Wet feet, and it takes a long time for that to get em too.
This friend has several in just about the lowest light possible, she killed a few in that spot til I told her to stop watering.
They don't really grow, not that we can tell, but light water once a month and this guy looks as good as he did 2 years ago, just exactly as good, no better or bigger, but no problems
My friends happy, she doesn't want it to look a bit different!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 9:35AM
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Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6

There are so many spear shaped Sans out there to make a ID. I have one just like it but mine is Sansevieria Schweinfurhia now renamed to S. erythraeae. I think that is why Norma asked me to be careful naming plants. If she has trouble some times what chance do I have. It could well be cylindrica but I can't tell.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 12:43PM
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I'm not good at nameing S. plants either unless they are distinct.Look it up before you suggest a name, so you won't end up with egg on your face. I still after 20 year suggest a name for my blue plant that may be S. kirkii var. blue, Kew. I am have been waiting for the flower for the past 20 years, before I open my mouth. The Huntington Gardens will toss a plant if it doesn't have a name that is how I have it. came from Juan

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 6:25PM
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I can tell these two plant that you mentined immediately because I know what to look for now. feel the bottom of the plant where the leaves touch the soil. follow the leaves and if it forms a S is is a S.erythraeae mine ex Grigsby come to a point at the apex (top tip tiny point) and to a novice it does look like cylindrica. Put the two plants side by side and feel them, these leaves are very dark green almost black, and can be started from cuttings, of about 6" set into a pot of very porus soil, doing this in your very hotest months, do not water the new cuts for about a week, and do not start them in wet or damp soil, I will start mine July4 through Sept. that is when our weaher is at it's hottest. Norma

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 4:42AM
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so I finally divided 'the air-hanging baby'-monster into two. without breaking the pot either. and put them out on the balcony to recover.
meanwhile I discovered the 4th flower hiding in the middle. so this is my 'stinky' mama blooms. yah, I sniffed and I think they're kinda weird smelling.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 3:36PM
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Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6

The plant must be happy to grow like that. Very good on your part.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 5:50PM
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That's a beautiful photo!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 6:32PM
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thank you!
I have not kept records over the years. so I don't know when exactly it started flowering. obviously it's from multiple pups.
I divided one of my other 10 year old plants 2 years ago: I kept some clusters together, but threw out older withered ones and weak/spindly ones. am now waiting to see when it will flower.
and then I divided the 3rd one just now.
so I only have the giant left to flower. but it needs dividing soon too.
anybody knows how long it will be after the division (assuming keeping large clusters together) for bloom?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 10:40AM
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