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DennisK

Geonoma macrostachys

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DennisK

I recently purchased 30 Geonoma macrostachys seeds from RPS that were pre-germinated and ended up receiving 35. To me, this one of the prettiest Geonomas so i thought i’d give it a try. As most of them had already pushed a first leaf, i decided to pot them up in 0,25l containers with a 70/30 mixture of fine pine bark (2-8mm) and Seramis. Perhaps it might have been better to wait, as a couple of them seem to think about dampening off already. In retrospect i would have preferred germinating them in individual pots and thus avoiding transplanting them at this size. I use Saprol as a fungicide at the moment as i it’s available locally, but am interested in other options. 

Any advice on getting them through these sensitive times? I would be thrilled to bits if i could get even one individual past the early stages.

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Missi

The potting media looks too dry. Perhaps that is why? 

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DennisK
1 hour ago, Missi said:

The potting media looks too dry. Perhaps that is why? 

Hi Missi,

I watered them in the morning before i took the photos in the evening. The top part of the mix really dries fast (first time i’m trying it after reading Pal Meir’s threads), a bit deeper down it seemed nice and moist though, but perhaps insufficiently so...

I now realize that I had been watering them too infrequently (they seem to not like being kept even slightly on the dry side) so i have increased the frequency of watering (now every ~2-3 days, every day for the few i keep in pure pine bark). I keep them in front of a an east-facing window seperate from my other plants, which means that the humidity there is quite a bit lower than in the other rooms. To rectify the situation, i put some marble and water into the holding containers and placed the plants on a small rack i took from an old oven. Humidity is now at 70%+ in the container and things seem better now.

One mistake i made was that i didn’t put a bag over them for a while after potting them up. The change from the humid bag with vermiculite to ambient humidity of 60% is something i will try to avoid in the future.

So far, 2-3 plants look a bit weak (humidity stress from the first day when i repotted them?) so i put a small plastic bag over them for now.

 

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DennisK

this is what the setup looks like now, the flower box is on the window sill normally though. i hope this improves things. i plan on disinfecting the box and rocks at least once a week though. If my Geonomas ever reach a reasonable size i could do away with the rocks and place them between my other plants for better humidity regulation.

E2C977D4-81E3-44D3-B46F-8203AEB8EDC6.jpeg

Edited by DennisK
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Missi
18 hours ago, DennisK said:

this is what the setup looks like now, the flower box is on the window sill normally though. i hope this improves things. i plan on disinfecting the box and rocks at least once a week though. If my Geonomas ever reach a reasonable size i could do away with the rocks and place them between my other plants for better humidity regulation.

E2C977D4-81E3-44D3-B46F-8203AEB8EDC6.jpeg

I am uncertain of the habitat of your Geonoma species, but I think Geonomas need constant high humidity. I tried a small seedling of Geonoma atrovirens and it withered away after several months even here in subtropical South Florida. Our extreme summer heat could have also played a part. I am hoping as long as you find a way to keep the relative humidity high around your Geo babies, the indoor temps will be good for them (at least the Geo species I was trying to grow are cloud forest species which fail to thrive in Florida heat)! EDIT: Actually, I just read on Palmpedia that Geonoma macrostachys is also a cloud forest species, so cooler temps but CONSTANT high relative humidity will make them thrive! "They grow like weeds along with Geonoma deversa in the cloudforest of the Andes, at lower elevations. Cool and wet all year."

@stone jaguar always gives the most excellent cultivation advice on cloud forest plants as well. Have not seen him around for a few months but maybe he'll see that I tagged him and chime in..

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DennisK
On 20/11/2018 15:31:01, Missi said:

I am uncertain of the habitat of your Geonoma species, but I think Geonomas need constant high humidity. I tried a small seedling of Geonoma atrovirens and it withered away after several months even here in subtropical South Florida. Our extreme summer heat could have also played a part. I am hoping as long as you find a way to keep the relative humidity high around your Geo babies, the indoor temps will be good for them (at least the Geo species I was trying to grow are cloud forest species which fail to thrive in Florida heat)! EDIT: Actually, I just read on Palmpedia that Geonoma macrostachys is also a cloud forest species, so cooler temps but CONSTANT high relative humidity will make them thrive! "They grow like weeds along with Geonoma deversa in the cloudforest of the Andes, at lower elevations. Cool and wet all year."

@stone jaguar always gives the most excellent cultivation advice on cloud forest plants as well. Have not seen him around for a few months but maybe he'll see that I tagged him and chime in..

Do you have a photo of the atrovirens you had? Would love to see what they look like as seedlings.

G. macrostachys is also widespread in the lowlands e.g., P.N. Yasuní in Ecuador (190-400 m asl), which is why i emailed RPS when i made my order so as to find out where the seeds are from/what variant they are, but didn’t hear back from them.

there’s an informative and short paper on the species here (in spanish):

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Manuel_Macia/publication/272941589_Uksha_Geonoma_macrostachys/links/54f350460cf24eb8794c2b49/Uksha-Geonoma-macrostachys.pdf

I have been able to increase the humidity a bit with the crushed marble and water. Approx. 8 hours after watering most of them, i measured 80%+ humidity at the level of the leaves. Dropped to about 70% now at night. For all practical purposes that must do for now, save for light misting twice daily. The fast draining substrate allows me to water more frequently and that helps a lot with local humidity too. 

I’m certainly enjoying this motley crue of Geonomas 

 

8FCFE449-17D9-43BC-9A29-5AEAC04D32AA.jpeg

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Missi
On 11/21/2018, 6:06:11, DennisK said:

Do you have a photo of the atrovirens you had? Would love to see what they look like as seedlings.

Here it is, God rest its beautiful little plant soul :crying::innocent:

IMG_1552.jpg

IMG_1553.jpg

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DennisK

Oh, what a beauty she was :wub:. Would love to try these some day. I will try to incorporate what I am learning by keeping my macrostachys.

I think/hope i got a handle on watering my little ones after initially underwatering them. They have the battle scars to prove it :crying:. After looking at my (cell phone) photos in this thread I realized just how grainy these are. Will have to get a better camera soon.

Some of the smallest ukshas I have are now pushing new leaves, while others are close to finishining opening their new (and partially scarred) ones. Interestingly, some seem quite robust and basically unaffected by my underwatering (?). For reference, the black pots are 0,25L.

I am always open to advice on how to improve my care. 

2B1978B1-A44F-46A5-9342-1D014EDB1A99.jpeg

CD42AA30-378A-48B4-B846-39AB2E7BDD46.jpeg

297FB7F1-CE9C-4B5C-A648-52CA1E5477A2.jpeg

950833A1-3176-4661-AA78-1D11B88F41C9.jpeg

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Missi
On 11/27/2018, 12:03:42, DennisK said:

Oh, what a beauty she was :wub:. Would love to try these some day. I will try to incorporate what I am learning by keeping my macrostachys.

I think/hope i got a handle on watering my little ones after initially underwatering them. They have the battle scars to prove it :crying:. After looking at my (cell phone) photos in this thread I realized just how grainy these are. Will have to get a better camera soon.

Some of the smallest ukshas I have are now pushing new leaves, while others are close to finishining opening their new (and partially scarred) ones. Interestingly, some seem quite robust and basically unaffected by my underwatering (?). For reference, the black pots are 0,25L.

I am always open to advice on how to improve my care. 

Your pics are wonderful! I don't find them to be grainy. If you are noticing photo noise (graininess), it could be low lighting rather than camera quality ^_^ Now that we can see them even closer, your seedlings are looking wonderful! I can't wait to see their future development!!

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DennisK

Well, after getting a grip on watering my tiny macrostachys I thought I had the tip drying problem solved. It persisted on a smaller scale. Thus, two weeks ago, I made the decision to move my ukshas into a Wardian case.

For this purpose I picked up a 50*50*80 cm terrarium off the internet (for free) and set out to modify it. I initially installed two 25mm computer fans; one on the bottom blowing under the pots, the other in the top right corner sucking the air out. My reasoning was that the ventilation holes lining the bottom front of the terrarium and the aft top would provide adequate influx of fresh air. It did, quite a bit too much, in fact. I placed the plants on an old metal shelf I salvaged from the dump of a gas station, which sits above a plastic dish with water. This setup worked reasonably well, but humidity fluctuated very much and was too low most of the time as well.

Mulling the problem over, I figured that what I needed to do was to close most of the ventilation holes and install a third fan feeding in fresh air from the top left. The fans run on 5V supplied by older phone chargers I had laying around. I also filled the bottom of the terrarium with about 3 mm of water. This now allows me to keep them at a steady 90% humidity, I used the recording function on my humidifier and only noticed a fluctuation of max. 3% during the past few nights. That's a big improvement over the ca. 20% from the previous setup. During the daytime, I now typically see around 88-90% with low fluctuation and I haven't seen any tip drying since. I will be adding an LED plant light in the next week as sunshine is woefully rare at this time.

Quite a few were damaged while I was playing catch up though. I certainly learned a lot during that time and wish I had decided on a Wardian case right from the beginning. Some of them are now pushing their 2nd or 3rd (one of them) leaf, the camera on my mobile phone can't capture detail of such minute size though. 

From the 35 individuals I potted up a month ago, eight never showed any movement and upon closer inspection, I noticed that they were goners. I still have a couple of slow movers whose roots are nice and healthy so let's see if they decide to move.

GM11 has opened it's leaf completely now and remains unaffected by the problematic conditions that affected many of the others. 

 

GM11.jpg

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DennisK

GM13 is not actually as dark as in this image 

GM13.jpg

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DennisK

The damage to GM19 was apparent in the image I posted a few weeks ago, the damaged part has dried out now though. Going well without additional tip damage and will hopefully continue to do so.

 

GM19.jpg

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DennisK

GM14, pushing a new spear. 

GM14.jpg

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DennisK

GM29, with damaged tips. I hope that the new setup with consistently high humidity has solved these issues.

gm29.jpg

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DennisK

I water them with distilled water and plan on giving them a low dose of fertilizer soon. Or should I leave them be for the time being? Can somebody recommend a good palm fertilizer in Europe? I have been fertilizing my other palms with a generic fertilizer, but want to switch to something better.

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DennisK

A photo of the setup

1D08B026-04A4-449F-BF5B-36CE6778D3AB.jpeg

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Missi

Oh wow! That was free?! Score!! Keep up the great growing (and updates ;))!

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DennisK

Thanks Missi :) Almost all of them are now heading towards their two leaf phase. 

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DennisK

I have noticed an increasing amount of pots that are infected with small (under 1mm), white, fast-moving insects that have a round and smooth abdomen. What could they be? Some kind of soil mites? They are in the top layer of the substrate and on the outside of the containers.

So far only one plant has shown a decline (one of its leaves dying/folding up), there may not be any connection though, as I repotted it a few days ago. To make matters worse, i also keep ten ‘atrovirens’ seedlings in this enclosure...

I don’t want to repot all 34 seedlings in this enclosure at this moment. I have repotted a few so far and one of them has stopped growing (the one mentioned above). I have tried Neem oil, but it doesn’t seem to have had any effect. I am wary about trying anything stronger (e.g, Confidor) as I don’t know if these insects actually have an adverse effect on my beloved Geonomas. 

As I understand they are considered a nuisance rather than a pest? Can I leave them be?

 

Edited by DennisK

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Missi
15 hours ago, DennisK said:

I have noticed an increasing amount of pots that are infected with small (under 1mm), white, fast-moving insects that have a round and smooth abdomen. What could they be? Some kind of soil mites? They are in the top layer of the substrate and on the outside of the containers.

So far only one plant has shown a decline (one of its leaves dying/folding up), there may not be any connection though, as I repotted it a few days ago. To make matters worse, i also keep ten ‘atrovirens’ seedlings in this enclosure...

I don’t want to repot all 34 seedlings in this enclosure at this moment. I have repotted a few so far and one of them has stopped growing (the one mentioned above). I have tried Neem oil, but it doesn’t seem to have had any effect. I am wary about trying anything stronger (e.g, Confidor) as I don’t know if these insects actually have an adverse effect on my beloved Geonomas. 

As I understand they are considered a nuisance rather than a pest? Can I leave them be?

 

Sounds like they could be springtails, which are absolutely no harm. Look them up and let me know if that's what you're seeing!

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DennisK
1 hour ago, Missi said:

Sounds like they could be springtails, which are absolutely no harm. Look them up and let me know if that's what you're seeing!

I appreciate your input. I don’t think that they are springtails, as the critters in my pots have a round and smooth body (looks like cephalothorax and abdomen are fused)  rather than an elongated and segmented body form. They look like mites to me, but I can’t even count the number of legs because they are so tiny. I don’t have a microscope at home and it will be at least a week until I can access one...but then i will know for sure. I just hope they don’t cause any problems.

Edited by DennisK

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