Stone Jaguar Posted March 17, 2017 Report Share Posted March 17, 2017 Since the intricate interior architecture of caudexed ant plants is one of their many attractive features, I thought that I'd share the results of some experiments I have made over the past 18 months on removing stem sections from both healthy and damaged plants of different sizes to make them suitable for display. The first point to note is that it is mostly a waste of effort to section these plants when the are young and actively growing, since a healthy smaller plant will scar quite rapidly and grow over the wounded tissue in fairly short order. I have found that it is best to wait until the caudex is more or less of full adult size, which may require some patience and/or acquisition of a six to 10 year-old specimen. With a very sharp, sterile knife in hand, begin by slicing off just enough stem to reveal a representative view - on a flat plane - of the tunnels and chambers. Leaving most of the stem intact will allow for subsequent slices to be made as a "refresh" every couple of years to keep the chambers fully exposed, while leaving more than half of the original stem intact throughout the process After slicing the caudex, usually on a vertical plane, I dust the wounded surfaces with either Captan fungicide or powdered charcoal and place the plant in a bright, well-ventilated space until the wound is completely dried and healed (usually 60-90 days). I suggest that extra care be taken when watering the plant during this period, since even fungicide dressed plants can rot if the wound is sprayed with any frequency. Small areas of rot can be addressed by some careful cuts with a sterile, sharp blade to completely clean tissue, then rinsed with dilute hydrogen peroxide. The final product usually attracts a lot of positive commentary from visitors to the collection. This is an eight year-old Myrmecodia tuberosa var. papuana planted in a 25 cm/10" basket that has been sliced horizontally through its "shoulders" to deal with a persistent, cold-induced terminal rot. The plant is about 60 days since the cut was made, and the exposed tissue is dry and hard to the touch. Whitish color is residual Captan powder that has not been washed off during the healing period. In this particular case, the plant is sprouting new growths on the upper edge of the wound, so it will ultimately end up with a basket of stems above the cross-sectioned stem. Cheers, J Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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