For those of you who have waited very patiently for instructions (I apologize for the delay!), here they are at long last. We will cover the following:
· After care.
First, have your planting container ready. It should be wide enough in diameter to allow for a bit of mini landscaping. The depth should be sufficient to hold your tiny tree at maturity which is about 3” to 4”. I got mine at the local dollar store . Your local thrift shop should have some too. Just remember that for an indoor container drainage is not an issue. Besides it makes messes of our table tops! It doesn't really matter because the secret is in the watering which I'll go into later.
The soil I prefer for this particular project is plain potting soil without the white pellets of vermiculite or any other large particle of soil enhancer that spoils the miniature look. Straight black earth is perfect. To make up for the lack of drainage in your bowl or dish, you can place a layer of gravel, pebbles, to keep sitting water away from roots if you wish. Then add your soil to about 1/2 inch from the top to allow for watering.
Make a hole in the soil where you want your mini tree to be. Be sure it’s big enough to handle the roots. Hopefully you have a landscape plan in the back of your mind? Some will just want the tree to be the focal point and plant to place a bench under it, or in my case with this three year old “tree” pictured on the left which is strong enough to hang a tiny swing! I'll be sure to post a picture of that finished project.
Remove your cutting from the container of water being careful to gently untangle the roots from other cuttings if you have them (like I do!) . Simply insert the roots gently into the hole you made and pack some soil around the “trunk” to hold her in place and you’re almost done! I use the longer narrow wooden coffee stir sticks to “stake my tree”. It's inconspicuous and does the job. Anything that is roughly 8” long and straight such as a pencil, pen, twig, wire etc., will work fine too as long as it will support and help keep your stem from bending towards sunlight. Because your cutting at this stage is very delicate it’s best to use something like a piece of masking tape or other tape to tie your trunk splint like to the stake. Twist ties can cut into the stem damaging and worse, killing all your hard work! In time your cutting will age and the stem will take on a more “trunk-like” appearance (like my future swing tree - above) and the stake can be removed. It is always a good idea to start your landscaping with the 'bones' to literally add structure and help you to better envision the completed project. That means the trees, the paths and larger structures like buildings, fountains etc.. Notice the sweet little fairy house I got from Queen Sharbot! Isn't it adorable? I love her whimsical style and the beautiful details! She sells them at the farmer's market in Sharbot Lake on Saturdays. They are made out of polymer clay and are perfect for indoor or outdoor fairy gardens. added some lime green decorative gravel for this mini scape. Next will be the ground cover which we can discuss in another blog.
Now it’s time to let your little “tree” grow to its final height. Assuming most dishes or bowls are about 10” in diameter like the one pictured above, the tree would grow to around 4” of trunk before the foliage starts to fill out. As you can tell, mine is almost there. The trunk is just about right but my leafy section needs to grow another 2 or 3 inches before I can comfortably pinch off the growing tip. So lets wait a while shall we?
Your new plant can be in any window; north, east, west or south. If it's south exposure you can back it away from the window as long as it's bright enough for it to hold its colour.
The advice I'm going to give you applies to all house plants and is probably the most valuable information about plant care you'll ever need. The trick is to give it a good drink and then LEAVE IT ALONE. Ninety percent of all plant problems are due to overwatering. Roots need oxygen. Water pushes out the oxgyen temporarily until it is used up, that is unless you are killing it with "kindness" and watering it every time you look at it. Wait a week before checking to see if it needs water again. You need to examine below the soil surface to really know what's happening. The best way is to stick a finger in the dirt down as far as it will go. Is it still wet? Leave it be. Is it moist? Wait another few days until it's dry then give it less. Is it dry to the bone and maybe slightly wilted? Perfect! Give it the same amount of water as last time and then wait another week. What kills a plant is being constantly wet without a break in between. What you want to achieve is the right amount of water to last one week to the point of being ready for that drink. If you have questions about plant care I would be more than happy to answer them here. Sort of a Dear Abby for plants.
Soon I'll walk you through the art of pruning.