Carefully maintain Beaucarnea recurvata

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Sustainable life is the current trend, less consumption and garbage - who tried it, quickly realizes how stupid and time-consuming "buying is to throw away", even in indoor plants. Beaucarnea recurvata is the ideal alternative, it can even be purchased sustainably, has a very long life expectancy, and even the absolute beginner among the hobby gardeners will have no problem maintaining the elephant's foot properly:
Elephant foot, bottle tree, water palm, monkey tree? The talents of Beaucarnea recurvata
The Beaucarnea recurvata bears all these names, and as Mayan palm, the succulent plant with its homeland in Guatemala and Mexico is also still known, all an indication of the popularity of the chic plant. The Elefantenfuß is not only popular because of its exotic appearance, but also because it easily fits in with us in Germany and can be kept even without a major effort in the care of beginners in housing culture. It can be kept in hydroponics and in the bucket with normal soil, developed in its early years the perfect height for normal living room and can grow up to the eye-catcher for large halls, the dense green tuft always looks good - the elephant foot has something. And then he is also unbeatable unproblematic and easy to care for, because he comes from really dry mountain regions and had to develop the characteristic tuber below the trunk to survive. There the Beaucarnea stores water and nutrients, if you travel abruptly and forget about it, that usually does not do him much.
By the way, you have the choice between two varieties of Beaucarnea, with different "hairstyles":

  • "Beaucarnea recurvata" leaves the leaves hanging a bit, that is the relaxed hippie head
  • "Beaucarnea stricta" keeps his head straight upright (as if the hippie has just plugged into the socket):
Buy Beaucarnea recurvata
The Beaucarnea recurvata looks good with its funny, palm-like head certainly good, but only the "elephant foot" - the characteristic storage tuber, which can be up to 4 meters thick in full-grown, very old specimens - makes it a real eye-catcher. If you buy a young Beaucarnea recurvata, there is at best a hint of that thick foot, which takes a number of years to develop. You can also buy an older monkey tree, with a moderately thick foot and a trunk of about 75 cm for 150, - €, with really thick foot and 4 trunks of a total of about 1 m height for just under 900, - €...
But Beaucarnea is synonymous with the purchase of sustainability: The monkey trees are like and pulled by many people, for a fairly long time. But often they will eventually become too big for the apartment, or several copies were drawn right away, all of which develop magnificently. A glance at the next classified ad market usually produces dozens of Beaucarneas, 20, 30 years old and 2, 3 meters high, for 30, - to 300, - €...
Multiply elephant's foot itself
If you want to cultivate the Beaucarnea in your rooms just because you like the radiance of the plant with the typical elephant foot, the alternative would be to grow your own bottle tree:
1. Water palm trees grown from seed should develop a thick foot faster and better:
  • The seeds can be ordered on the internet
  • That at any time, the sowing can take place all year round
  • Open the package very carefully, the seeds are tiny and spherical, in doubt a search game for hours
  • The seeds are soaked in a cup of warm water for a few hours
  • Meanwhile, prepare pots: fill with unfertilized potting soil without many nutrients and with a high proportion of sand
  • The light germinators are max. 5 mm deep into the soil, lightly pollinated with soil
  • Set up in a bright and warm place with temperatures around 25° C
  • The soil should always be kept slightly moist
  • Covering the pot with a transparent hood reduces evaporation
  • The seeds are supposed to germinate in a few weeks - but do not lose patience, there should also be late-starting Beaucarnea seeds
  • When the first leaves appear, the elephant's foot has grown enough roots to move to its final planter
2. The bottle tree can also be easily and easily propagated by cuttings:
  • Do friends of yours have a water palm? Ask for a (truncated) runner
  • This cuttings is put in potting soil like a normal head cuttings
  • The pot comes under a hood made of glass or transparent plastic
  • When the cuttings have rooted, it is repotted into good, loose soil
  • He is allowed to go outside already next spring, but should be accustomed very carefully to the fresh air
The better you pay attention to the fact that the elephant foot of the Beaucarnea is allowed to soak up and you only pour again when the memory has largely emptied, the slower it will grow, but the thicker the foot will become in the course of time. Once well watered, then the water tank is filled for about 4 weeks, in this kind attitude a really comfortable plant.
The best location for the bottle tree
The Beaucarnea comes from South America, so is used to the amount and intensity of the sun, which hits the earth near the equator. Significantly more and more intense than ours, lack of light is the biggest problem of an elephant foot in the German living space. So give it the brightest location you have to offer. Gladly on the south window in the sun, only full noon sun through the window pane does not necessarily have to be, which acts quickly as a kind of glass on the leaves. A plant lamp can be additionally installed, the window absorbs about half of the light spectrum that plants need. Our normal room temperatures are the water palm just right, in the summer she likes to stand in a room that heats up a bit. If it is nice and warm outside, the bottle tree should be put into the open air as much as possible for light refueling. The first few weeks in a half-shady place, so that after the light-poor winter-sensitive leaves get no sunburn, then he can be placed directly in the sun.
The bucket and the earth (the substrate)
The bucket must adapt to the elephant foot water storage (botanical caudex), so be as flat and broad as possible rather than deep. A bucket of 30 cm diameter z. B. must be only 10 cm high. This is sufficient for an elephant foot of about one meter in height, a well-trained Caudex then fills almost the whole plant pot. The tub should also not be much deeper, water palm trees are Flachwurzler that get along well with little soil in the pot. Little earth also means that there is little danger of too much moisture collecting and the bottle tree does not like it at all. The soil in the bucket should be adjusted loosely, it does not have to be a purchased substrate, real earth is ecologically much more useful:
  • If you have a garden, you can mix Lauberde with wet loam (loam powder from the hardware store) and sharp sand
  • Sharp sand can also be obtained at the hardware store, which is a sand where the powdery fines were washed out
  • The soil should have a slightly alkaline pH overall, with loam from the garden enough for it
  • If you have mixed clay powder, maybe some lime should be added
  • The alternative to garden soil is good compost-based unit soil, mixed with sharp sand or other loosening materials
  • Loosening substances are z. Perlite or Kokoshum and almost everything that is sold as peat substitute
Pouring and fertilizing
As I said, the Beaucarnea do not develop an elephant's foot for fun, but to save water. But as a carpenter you enjoy the elephant's foot, because you simply can not pour the bottle trees wrong because of this thickening at the bottom of the trunk. At least you can not pour wrong, as long as the bucket has a working drain hole, you could even drown bottle trees pretty quickly. But otherwise: If you water only every few weeks, the elephant's foot will grow slowly and always well fill its elephant's foot, if you pour it more often, it shoots more... and if you forget your casting rhythm and the water palm completely, she usually still has so much water stored that she does not care. The most suitable method is to achieve "medium growth, medium development of the caudex" by always watering when the soil surface in the pot has dried. During the growth phase, the elephant's foot may occasionally be sprayed or washed off when it is hot in the summer. It also adds some moisture and also removes dust from the leaves. The elephant foot needs fertilizer only during the growth phase from April to September. It is usually enough to give once a month a little weakly concentrated cactus fertilizer or simple green plant fertilizer.
Cutting and multiplying
The elephant's foot can be circumcised, above and below:
  • When a Beaucarnea recurvata grows well, it sometimes develops a magnificent leaf
  • This mane becomes magnificent when it arrives on the ground
  • The idea of ​​giving the bottle tree a "sensible haircut" is fraught with some risk
  • The trimmed leaves are often to get brown tips
  • Again, only by trimming to fix, with the method has your elephant foot but eventually a brush haircut
  • The long leaves are actually a sign that the elephant foot is developing particularly well
  • Better just put the bottle tree on a table when its leaves brush the ground
  • If the water palm becomes altogether too high (after a few decades), it can be passed on to Beaucarnea lovers with higher living spaces
  • You could also simply cut them off, "at a height of about 30 cm, depending on the trunk thickness with scissors or saw, the cutting surface should be as smooth as possible
  • It is best to divide at the beginning of the growing season and disinfect the cut surface, eg. B. with charcoal
  • Whether a wound closure is necessary, is discussed, according to the prevailing opinion not, he should even be able to prevent the sprouting
  • The trimmed bottle tree is put back into the light and is sure to drive out again, even if it can take months
  • The sections can be used for propagation, there are reports that the cuttings rooted in water quite quickly
  • Then they should be planted in normal substrate and continue to grow there
Because the elephant's foot gets by with little soil, it rarely needs repotting:
  • It is time to repot when the root ball has completely rooted the pot
  • As a rule, a larger pot is due every four or five years
  • Again in the widest possible, flat shape and only slightly larger than the old pot
  • Because the elephant foot is supposed to continue to grow above the earth and not focus only on rooting
  • The best time to repot is spring, at the beginning of the growing season
  • Then the bottle tree will best withstand the stress of potting
  • Carefully release it from the old pot and brush off as much of the old soil as possible from the roots by hand
  • Place the elephant's foot in the new planter and fill in all around the earth, shaking the pot more often, so that the earth spreads between the roots
  • Then gently pour on, let it sink, possibly give earth
Beaucarnea overwinter
In winter, the elephant foot with the light supply is not clear with us, he should therefore be sent to the resting phase. Ideally for at least a month in a bright, cool place with temperatures around 10 degrees, if such a winter quarters is not available, the bottle tree is simply as cool as possible from October and March. In case of limited irrigation (the root ball should not dry out completely), without fertilizer.
Maintaining an elephant's foot properly really only requires minimal effort. Waterlogging is the only thing a Beaucarnea recurvata can not stand, otherwise you would have to make an effort to get it down. Any effort to treat the bottle tree well, on the other hand, will be rewarded by keeping the interesting plant "loyal to you for a very long time".

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