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Thread: My Cephalotus is on life-support

  1. #9
    Agent of Chaos Wolfn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capensis View Post
    To put outside as well? I would try an intermediate/lowlander if that's what you mean.
    It gets into the 20s here. I was thinking of growing either the Singalana or the Glabrata inside and have the other in the mini-greenhouse
    "I may be on the side of angels, but do not mistake me for one."

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  2. #10
    Capensis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfn View Post
    It gets into the 20s here. I was thinking of growing either the Singalana or the Glabrata inside and have the other in the mini-greenhouse
    I know...I've told you before, I'm basically right across from you in Florida. Anyway, then inside would be fine.

  3. #11
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    BigBella is right. They just crap out sometimes. When it comes to Cephalotus it's better to underwater than to over water (in general) and when they do this, I'd let them dry out a bit. They really remind me of Cycads when it comes to their watering. BTW, I recommend deep clay pots because of their moisture preferences.

    If it dies, it dies. You can replace them, there is a learning curve. Sometime they die for no apparent reason. I also highly recommend using Trichoderma.

  4. #12
    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    Just a thought....

    If you are pretty sure you are losing it anyway,
    I would suggest that you carefully expose the upper portion of "root" to see
    what its condition is.
    I have often resorted to drastic measures when doom seems eminent anyway.
    While disturbing the plant further may indeed kill it outright if you aren't careful
    or at least stress it further, I have sometimes been able to resurrect a small
    percentage of plants by exploring the cause and salvaging what I can in a last ditch effort
    to save it.

    If you find it is rotted out, you may be able to trim back leaves or pieces that are still
    healthy and firm (alive) and take those and dust with rooting compound to attempt to
    re-root them. (Same goes for any firm/healthy pieces of root you may uncover.)
    If you do, be sure to place the cuttings/root pieces into a NEW pot with NEW planting mixture.

    As recommended by others, keep it a bit dryer than before, but don't go to the other
    extreme and let it get too dry either! Wet the soil to start and let it dry slightly
    (well, NOT dry!) but you know the routine. Your failures are showing you what doesn't work.

    IF on the other hand, the root near the plant top is not rotted, look a little further to see
    its condition. Be EXTREMELY careful doing this step! Many people find a Ceph's roots
    very fragile and disliking any disturbance. (I certainly can't speak for "everyone"!
    I myself have found it takes a "knack"... learned the hard way!)
    If the root seems healthy, carefully put it all back together and be patient. Key words being
    Carefully and Patient! Its easy to break the roots putting things back into place!

    I know it may be too late for this, or that some people may find this effort to be too extreme,
    however if you are right and your Ceph is on its last leg, you don't have too much to lose...
    especially if you are careful in examining the plant.

    It does seem that whatever conditions the plant was under were less than ideal, so it is time
    to change its conditions some. Possibly reread the info on what Cephs want, from its planting
    mixture to its lighting, temps and watering. Find something you can improve on and do it.
    Putting the plant into the same environment may just kill it.

    Again, whether it is going thru a low period or indeed dieing is something only you
    can determine, and only you can give it one last chance to survive.
    While sometimes it is indeed hopeless, occasionally even when it all seems hopeless, it is not.
    Dormant, sick, dieing back or just plain dieing, don't give up until you KNOW it is deceased!
    All of us who grow plants should realize, they totally depend on us for their survival.
    It is easy to forget they are living things, and not just a commodity.
    Good luck.
    Experience is the best teacher. At least it used to be.
    But then, common sense isn't so common anymore, is it.

  5. #13
    dashman's Avatar
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    Well said!

  6. #14
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Healthy ceph root system


  7. #15
    RL7836's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgecko View Post
    Everyone? I have never had my cephs die back. Been growing them since 2003. I have seen other growers have this happen on what seems to be a yearly basis. Guess I'm lucky.
    Cephs have also been one of my easier plants (thrive in virtually every condition I throw at them (within reason))(growing for a 'few' years - 10-15? I'd need to go through my records....). However, a few posts from a grower on another forum really got my attention - especially this one:
    Quote Originally Posted by flycatchers
    I never encountered this for the first 21 years of growing cephs so sure would like to know what changed last year!!
    Here's an experienced grower who went 21 years without an issue and now struggles to grow them.
    All the best,
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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  8. #16
    nepguy's Avatar
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    I'm a little late to the party, but I thought I would throw my 2 cents in.

    Please don't give up on trying to grow cephs. I killed a few myself by various means before I finally figured out what worked for me and what didn't. Of course, the main thing I learned was to make back-ups whenever I could so I didn't have to shell out $$ to buy new plants.

    For a long time I had a single large ceph that would begin to crap out every September for seemingly no reason. The tank I had it in was in the basement under lights and there was little temperature change at that time of year. I could never figure it out. I used to just repot it and it would eventually come back, but then I stumbled on something that seemed to work better: I cut off the top. One year when the plant was starting to look poorly, I dug down around around the stem to see what was going on, and when I didn't see any rotting I figured that the roots were okay. As an experiment I decided to take the entire crown to make a new plant. I sliced it off below the soil line, taking a good chunk of the stem with the crown, which I potted up. I left the the roots of the mother plant alone and waited to see what would happen. It turned out that the crown rooted up just fine (even without rooting hormone) and the mother plant responded by putting out multiple growth points. I've done this several times since then to multiply my stock and it worked the same way every time. Of course, if the roots are actually rotting, you might only be able to save the crown with this method, and even that might not survive if it is already involved.

    This is how I grow cephs now:

    I generally use deep pots and a very well-draining medium of peat with a large proportion of coarse (big chunk) perlite, something like 2 to 1. Sometimes I even throw in coconut chips or even a little LF sphagnum. I used to use sand, but like the coarse perlite better. I water from the top, usually about once a week because the medium doesn't dry out very fast in the tanks, which I keep partially open for ventilation. Sometimes I wait longer if the medium still seems moist. I water until it pours out the bottom like I do some of my neps. For light I have them under a bank of 23watt, 6500k spiral fluorescent lights. Temps are generally in the 60s and 70s in the winter and 70s to mid 80s during the summer. I've also started drenching them every couple of months with trichoderma to protect them from fungal pathogens, but it is too soon to tell if it makes a difference.

    It does seem to be a good idea to keep cephs a little drier than other CPs. Besides letting them get too hot without nighttime relief, the surest way to kill them is to keep them too wet. I have heard of people having a lot of success growing cephs in self-watering ceramic African violet pots, which work to keep the soil evenly moist, and it's something I'd like to try sometime.

    I would suggest, since you live in Florida, that you abandon the patio in the summer and grow your ceph in an east-facing window that gets some sun--maybe even all year. It would be much easier to control conditions like temperature and soil moisture. I was born in Florida and I know how hot it can get outside and how quickly a storm can come up.

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