This plant is my lifeblood, and I've hurt it so much

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This plant is my lifeblood, and I've hurt it so much -

Post by Slinking_Ferret » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:52 pm

I can finally post something here, about time ;)

I've wanted to grow Salvia D for about 5 years now, I recently got a plant from Siebert in the mail and could finally start. This poor plant has been through a lot, I live in Oklahoma so I couldn't get it shipped here so I sent it to the big T(exas) so I could bring it back up. It was in a prime position to transplant when it arrived, but I was only able to get over to my sisters house a week after it arrived.

Once I arrived I had well rooted plant with a rather brown leaves and a little droopiness. I trucked it back to Oklahoma the next day misting it every 25 minutes to help it survive the trip back (Probably didn't need that much but that is the past).

I used Happy Frog organic soil, was dark and rich but I didn't have enough of it to fill the bucket, it wa a good 6 inches under the top. There was nothing I could do so I just lived with it.

So heres a list of things I see that I've done wrong already.

1. When I first had it in my car a shirt fell on it and knocked a leaf off..oops.

2. Got a fungus gnat infection (still sorta have tem, under control) ended up doing more damage when I sprayed a light neem oil solution on it every day (Whoops)

3. Only had one 23 watt CFL (Daylight bulb above 5000 I know that) for most of the time, the second light (side one) is a recent addition.

4. Dropped the main light twice because we have no real roof support, lost a large stem because of it but what can you do(Cutting failed to survive, another story for another time)

5. Friend failed to plug in the light one day and it got pretty depressed for a while, have a timer now.

6. While transplanting, lost a lot of the root ball(Had spread to a lot of dirt, but not thick so as I held the plant dirt would fall pulling roots with it :(( )

7. first time I harvested I havested WAY too much, but she survived.

So thats 7 ways and counting I've screwed up, but onto something else.

My current setup is

Lights: Two 23 watt CFLs provide light on a 18 hour on 6 hour off (used to be 24H) cycle. They were called Dayligt bulbs, pretty sure 6400K or so, but certainly over 5000K.

Soil: Was in pure Happyfrog aquatic organics (or something like that) I figured it might have been too dense so I transplanted the plant into a mix of the Happy Frog soil(what the roots held onto) and 50/50 potting mix, and vermiculite. (Good soil takes a drive, I hope it's enough)

Fan: About 3 weeks ago I set a fan to blow on it lightly for most of the time (I use it for myself when I sleep)

Tempature: I'm cheap as hell. And my plant suffers, I live in OK where temps can hit 105 and our AC isn't efficient. The heat wave is over so the AC is going to be off, it's slightly hotter in the room than outside because of heat generation so I guesstimate it hits about 90 95 peak and probably drops as low as 70. It's been ok so I figure it'll acclimate, the temps will be around 63 during the winter that'll be much better.

Pot: 5 Gallon bucket with 10 drainage holes, 6 on the sides 4 on the bottom.

Water: I water it 7-10 days, I have sand on the pictures(fungus gnats) but it doesn't have sand on top now. I was afraid I over watered it for a while so the last time I watered I waited till it started to droop just a little (about 9 days, but I bet it was because of heat not water)

It only lost one leaf during transplanting, but one of the stems got bent (not broken, just bent) so I'm going to try and slowly bend it until it stops producing auxins so I can get stems from the node. If it breaks I'll make a cutting.

This leaf belongs to the stem you see on the very left, the reason the stem bent during transplanting was because this leaf held the dirt that fell pulling it down. No idead why it is twisting, all the leaves on that stem are kinda depressing.

Yeah, probably during my overzealous harvest I caused the main stem to catch rot. Or the side branches were already growing up so as to shade the main stem. EITHER WAY! The main stem rottent down a few nodes till it hit a node with leaves then stopped. I'm keeping an eye on it but it looks alright, there was more of the rotted stem but I cut most of it off because it's ugly. The side branches are huge now.

i think I over fertilized before (8 not 7 problems I caused) for a while. There were several leaves with this burn but much large and prominant, I removed them and flushed the soil (3 days after I watered too...uhg..) and it went away.

Look at that leaf on the right with it's white dots. I know (i think) what caused that. Bloody flies have been laying on my plant. They vomit up their juices and wherever it was causes a small localized dead spot. I've been able to wash up the vomit before, so I know it's the flies. Got that sorta under control.

Another thing I notice, ithe scalieness of my top leaves compared to the lower leaves.. you'll see.

Here is the whole setup. Notice that one leaf almost perpendicular to the ground. It's not wilting, the stem on it broke weeks ago, the leaf somehow not only survived but grew larger. Crazy. Fan not in picture.

I want to show a nice closeup picture of the new growth, I will next post when I show pictures of how it looks now.

Any tips? I have only a little undergrowth but it's starting to grow. For the longest time all the newleaves that formed at the bottom would die, I think it's because the top leaves shade the lower ones, now that I have the secondary light they last longer.

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Re: This plant is my lifeblood, and I've hurt it so much -

Post by BiffCo1138 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:07 am

I would cut in half some of the top leaves that are blocking light to the rest of the plant. think bonsai. try to make cuts that spread the plant out initially so that it can fill in with healthy growth later. Air circulation to the middle of the plant will help in avoiding pythium rot.

nice first post!
I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. -Robert A. Heinlein

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Re: This plant is my lifeblood, and I've hurt it so much -

Post by Slinking_Ferret » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:32 am

Aye, thats true. The rot occured before I weaned it off misting and before I added the fan for circulation so it's not a problem anymore.

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Re: This plant is my lifeblood, and I've hurt it so much -

Post by Slinking_Ferret » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:00 am

Pinched a couple of the branches on my mother plant yesterday, and made a cutting off one of the side branches. It was only 4 nodes long and it's rather shallowly in the soil. I have a 3 liter Faygo bottle (Whoop Whoop) over the cutting as a humidity dome. I spray the inside 2-5 times a day (Sometimes the top is open sometimes it's not. I just try to keep water on the inside of the bottle.) The inside of the bottle dries out rather quick because I have the bottle supported about an inch above the dresser (Standing on these..cylindrical things)

The mother plant seems to be doing alright, definitly perked back up only 2 days after transplanting. And I notice a lean on the plant to the secondary light. (So I flipped it) Tried watering with colleced rainwater and a bit of H202, nothing special yet.

I used a direct to soil rooting method, vermiculite perilite and cheapass soil. I didn't realize how cheap Sta-grow potting soil was until I mixed it up. Immediatly all the perilite and vermiculite floated to the top and it formed a slow draining muck at the bottom. Spent a lot of time mixing it up and making it work, it'll be a while until I need to water again, wait and see...

Take pictures....eventually

Oh yeah, and the rot that was on the main stem is about a half a node lower. It has been moving barely at all, so I expect it to stop at the next node which has several leaves. If it doesn't I'll take action.

It is also getting a lot coler where I live. I estimate it is now between 53-78 in my room at all times, not much change from the plant yet other than a bit of slowed growth (but the cutting and pinching may have effected that.) Ready for it to hurry up! Considering another light but, I don't know if it will actually benefit it.
Last edited by Slinking_Ferret on Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: This plant is my lifeblood, and I've hurt it so much -

Post by Slinking_Ferret » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:06 am

Still no pictures, but I never stay on my word :P Just need a digital camera and I could do it, but I don't.

Anyways, the mother is doing fine, some new growth. The rot is still slowly extending, from my last post it is still only half way to the next node. A leaf is touching it from the small branches developing that are growing right below, and it is not browning.

The branch that is touching it is coming off the next node below, so if I start to see browning in that branch I'm going to start making cutting just in case.

I found a bug on my cutting today, I took off the 3 liter in order to remist the plant and the bottle, and a green bug was just chillin on top. Our doors tend to be opened a lot and I'm sure thats how the bug got in, It was green, kinda looked like a stink bug but without the stinkiness. I don't think it feeds on plants, just uses them for camouflage.

Where I cut the large leaves off for the cutting seem to be browning, just a little cruspy on the end of the cut. Doesn't look like rot yet but it may end up into rot.

(9 hours later, lol can't believe I still had this up)

Looking at the rot on the mother again, hasn't moved much. Cutting looks fine still too, remisted the 4 liter and left the top off fo rair. Going to wait for it to dry then remist and put the top on for the rest of the night.

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Re: This plant is my lifeblood, and I've hurt it so much -

Post by Slinking_Ferret » Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:34 pm

The cutting seems to have survived the leaf end rotting(as it should) and stopped the rot at the main stem. Woke up this morning and I accidently left the cap off the cutting all night so it dried on the inside of the bottle, looks a little more droppy but at least the bottle won't develop mold now that it dried ;P

Mother looks good, main stem rot still progressing slows, still hasn't reached the end of the node it was on but it's another 3rd the way there.

The top leaves are so bumpy it's ridiculous. The leaves are also a lighter greed, I noticed that one of the tops of the lateral branches was being shaded by a leaf, so I looked at the top leaves of the shaded branch and it was still bumpy as well. So I don't know if it's the exposure to the light, or what.

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Re: This plant is my lifeblood, and I've hurt it so much -

Post by Jupe » Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:56 pm

bumpiness probably related to heat...or lack of air circulation

light leaf color due to lights pulling nitrogen faster than plant can get it...perhaps from lights, maybe from soil issues....try some light foliar feeding before evening,( not in heat or with lights on) this will help plant get going if roots or soil are having issues..

.....reflective white or metallic panels can help spread light around, without adding extra get bottom leaves going...

......regular misting with semi-stiff spray can help 'discourage" pests, up under the leaves especially..

........plants suffer in hotter climates without air movement to pull moisture up and through their system.....

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Re: This plant is my lifeblood, and I've hurt it so much -

Post by Slinking_Ferret » Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:49 am

It's cooled down a lot. In fact, I have long past and closed the windows in my room now that it is so cold. Of course, the heater will not be run im the winter Except enough to keep our pipes from freezing(Lowest thermostat setting is 50) so I will probably get a cheap little heater to place in my room(Not next to the salvia plant, Just somewhere, i'll set it for an ambient temp of 55-60.)

I think that light issue may be right Jupe, I looked at one of the leaves that was almost a light green/yellow at the top, I moved a leaf that was blocking half of it and the leaf was a much darker green there. It was still a light green, but no hint of yellow. I plan on watering tonight since it's been about 13 days or so, big pot and all that jazz(Actually, may wait a little longer since it's been so cold. It's dry on the top but I know the roots have not reached all the way to the bottom, and I don't want this soil turning into sludge. Plus it's been cold!). Distilled water with some neem oil and regular dawn dish soap. Don't really measure it out, I just put in roughly 3- 4 tablespoons, and just enough soap to make it mit mix together.

The cutting is still alive, I don't seen any roots yet. I think I should end up seeing them in another week or so. I'm worried the cold tempature will end up making it harder for the cutting to root, but I don't really have a way to warm it up right now. So if it fails, oh well. Mother is doing good.

Speaking of, lots of new growth, and several new nodal branches because of the pruning. I'll do the foliar spray tonight with my fert. I've heard conflicting things about Nitrogen for Salvia though, I've heard some say that she likes a lot of nitrogen and only a bit of K and P. So I got a 2-1-1 fert. Expensive little bottle, organic and all that jazz. But now I hear from here that nitrogen should actually be lower than P and K. Anyone know for sure?

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Re: This plant is my lifeblood, and I've hurt it so much -

Post by Jupe » Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:44 pm

alligator leaves?...too much lightstrength..(my whole patch has alligatored in half Cali sun)

......yellowing under sun, or hot grow bulbs?, (like HPS etc.)
...too hot AND inability to use nitro.

yellowing under floruos? most likely inability to get nitro from air or roots. (or drowning, or root rot... which of course makes the roots not function, although plants can still grow)

Half strength foliars sprays, 3x week .... of any kind should help, took my whole patch only 2 days to green up...

Mixture of nutrients isn't critical at this stage(salvia IS a heavy nitrogen feeder, that info you got is incorrect, in my experience, (check all my posts here for pics) but if you just have commercial potting soil, then be regular with whatever you apply, as it doesn't stay in the soil long. Large leaved tropicals are usually heavy Nitrogen feeders, if/when it flowers then other ferts are helpful. Plants do need the full NPK component tho...breakdown of mulches and manures ususally provides that, but nitrogen cycles pretty quickly, and takes longer to come out of mulches...

Temps down to 40F at night are fine, they will discourage insects...probably make your house a bit chilly tho....haha

heres current temps from Huautla de Jimenez for the coming week..

:High: 63°
Low: 53°
High: 63°
Low: 53°
High: 69°
Low: 49°
High: 70°
Low: 52°
High: 69°
Low: 51°
Last edited by Jupe on Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: ferts add n

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Re: This plant is my lifeblood, and I've hurt it so much -

Post by Slinking_Ferret » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:13 pm

So yeah it's been a while since I've posted, but I'd rather just make one larger post than a single small one.

I did the foliar spray like you suggested Jupe, and I also decided to raise the main light up about 3 inches. The plant looks like she really appreciates it, the new growth looks like it's adapted to the environment extremely well, and actually look semi-proper. The leaves look far greener than they did before, and are much flatter and better shaped. Because of the large amount of new good growth, most of it surpassing the old crappy leaves I removed about half old ones just for looks. I'll remove the other half after the next watering, once again waiting until I see some sign of drooping.

The top of the soil is dry, and that means the exposed rootball at the top is dry but I figure that just means it'll make sure those damn bugs are dead, I'm sure there is plenty of water in the soil because she has not grown all through the soil(I can't be sure, but estimating from the amount of root ball that broke in transplant).

But for the real reason why I am posting, I still don't see any visible roots on the cutting. I noticed that some of the smaller leaves looked noticeably bigger. Also, the leaves that had been touching on the side of the dome were slightly longer than usual. I decided to do a little tug test on the cutting and it did not come out.

My assumption is that the cutting has very small roots, it still wobbles.(cleaned area today and it shook a bit) I am thinking about starting it to acclimate now, because I don't want to make a larger humidity dome. I left it out for 30 minutes this morning will half light and I just put the dome back on, very slight drooping, but most of the leaves on her are used to the mother's condition. They are actually showing a little curling from too much humidity(I think).

I'm going to have the cutting grown on a southern facing window, it'll get stray light from the fluorescents which will be good.

I'm going to take daily pictures of the mother and the cutting once I get a camera. Make a time lapse video or something

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