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LOts of root growth, not many leaves

Posted by Jerabu Michigan (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 25, 13 at 14:13

Several months ago (probably close to a year ago now) I ordered some cuttings SRQ Hoyas, and have been absolutely thrilled with the service, and their overall health. They have rooted extremely well, possibly too well.

To start with, I have them (at this stage, just cuttings, not big yet) in a terrarium. Each is potted individually in a somewhat coarse Hoya mix, (Recipe Courtesy of vermont Hoyas website) Each small pot (2-3") has one small plant in it. Between the pots, I have added sphag to help keep the humidity high. The problem that I am having now, is that the roots have gone through the bottoms of the pots, through the drainage holes, and into the sphag. These plants are producing colossal amounts of roots, but I see very little growth topside. No new leaves or shoots on any of the Hoyas, except for one: H. naumannii, which has practically exploded. The other two (Macgillivrayi "pandanus creek" and Mathilde) Have not set a single new leaf or tendril, even though they have rooted all over the place.

The humidity is high (usually over 75%), and the temp in the terrarium averages 74�F, with a cooler nighttime. It is lit with a fluorescent bulb that is run on a timer.

I mist the terrarium as needed with distilled water to keep the glass clean, and the humidity high. Usually every other day or so. I water the plants directly with dechlorinated tap water and fertilize with water from my fish tank.

What can I change to encourage them to grow more leaves and tendrils and start progressing upwards?

Do the roots need to be contained for this to happen?

The only real problem I have with them is that they require a lot of trimming to keep them from rooting to eachother, and other pots in the terrarium.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: LOts of root growth, not many leaves

First of all, I'd ask why they're still in a terrarium environment if they're so well rooted? The minute mine resist a tug, they're out of the humidity dome and in natural sunlight, and they usually take off at this point. So mine are rarely in that environment for more than 2-6 weeks, depending on the time of year. Although I think they will grow if kept in the high humidity conditions, I wouldn't want them to get too comfortable with those conditions because it's going to be quite an adjustment coming out into the real world. Moving them out would be my advice.

Denise in Omaha

RE: LOts of root growth, not many leaves

I agree 100% with Denise; you should slowly begin acclimating them to the real world conditions where they will live. Your rooting chamber has done a tremendous job, but they can't live in there forever. Don't worry too much about new growth at this point; its a good healthy root system that will be the foundation for the vegatative growth that will soon follow.

RE: LOts of root growth, not many leaves

I live in the cold, dark north, so natural sunlight is limited to perhaps May-September months. The rest of the year, it's too cool for tropical plants to be outdoors much at all. I do however have a very sunny room where the east-facing wall is entirely glass, and also has some south-facing windows. That is where I keep the majority of my plants.

I was under the impression that some Hoyas needed the high humidity to survive (or thrive). My H. retusa has flowered for me in those conditions. It is the only Hoya I have flowered so far (granted, I have very little experience with them - a little over a year)

My Curtisii and Carnosas seem happy enough in ambient room temp, and slightly higher than ambient humidity in the bedroom where they live (humidifier runs to help keep my asthma in check)

Assuming I should start by trimming the roots back to their pots, and then containing them, but keeping them in their humidity high to allow some recovery from this? Start reducing humidity afterwards. The terrarium they are in would take weeks to dry up, which should be a gradual enough change to just pull them after that time?

P.S. Doug: Thrilled to hear from the man himself on how to grow hoyas in the cold dark north :) Your website has been a tremendous help!

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