Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bonsai, it's a long and lonely climb (Post 400)

Shang Chi here, at 47 days, is the only survivor from our pine seeds. Shang Chi appears a little lighter in some photos due to camera flash. He's grown with a curve about half way up his trunk, then continuing upwards, to a present height of nearly three inches.
You can see the early plants retain the seed over their budding branches for a few days (the "hat" falls off or can be eventually removed by spraying or light grooming).
Here we see the cutting has drawn the water successfully enough to sprout a leaf!
We believe that the transplanting process, from the germination container to pot, was too much for the plants. With six of them sprouting successfully, the safe transplanting of each one became problematic.
I later included an attempt to cultivate a magnolia from a cutting; it has remained green but has not shown root development. We keep it in a coffee mug.
Shang here was taken up as an entire "root ball" from the container, intact with his seedling soil surrounding him, and transplanted without root hormone. He gets sunlight every day that the sun comes out, which is 90 % of the time.
From our second batch, brought out of germination on May 1st, Captain Fantastic made it the longest. I still have his wilted form but do not expect the plant to recover. He was initially broken off at the root, then re-planted. Despite this, the plant outlived its fellows and grew to be about an inch high. Then, after his first trip to the window, he was placed again on his bedside table. Later the next day he seemed to be pushed over at a thirty degree cant; we don't know why. We massaged the soil beside him so he could stand up straight again, but his limbs wilted over the next two days. One, dubbed "Analogy," was distressed at 7/8" because he was pressed against the side of the container and couldn't spread out and grow. Two more became entangled with one another in the container. I tried to leave them in to grow stronger and pulled them out seven days or so after they sprouted from seeds. The additional time did not make them appreciably stronger for transplanting. There is growth in the center of every viable young pine, spreading out radially from a node; Cap and all of the plants initially achieved nodes. I did not record the specific amount of water we used but we kept the soil moist at a depth of half an inch.
We are still trying a climbing vine, which has developed some white mold at the base, and another tree I'm still trying to identify, a cutting from a street tree outside. It's possible the substance is just Root Boost coalesced above the surface.
Our stick man came up with leaves only after he was in water, from basically being---a stick! He took in water from the cut point, and surprised us with leaves before he had roots. We didn't have him a bowl yet; he was just an experiment in a bottle! He may need another season to come up with more leaves, though. Or he may be a stick; I don't want to uproot him to find out so long as there's capillary action. We'll see. He had an unlimited source of water through the cut, and planting him limited the water supply to what's in the soil. He didn't have roots when he sprouted those leaves! We applied root hormone and planted him.
A root, being treated with Root Boost and re-planted.
From today: Billy the Kid, Shang Chi, and Buddy, my cactus. Buddy was transplanted a little late from his small container, so he leans, and his cactus leaves, the large bottom ones, came off. Billy the Kid---the cutting---came with leaves, which were external to his sustaining growth process and possibly damaged by the bottle in which the tree waited, in water, to be moved to soil upon signs of capillary action (water moving through the tree). All three show signs of life.