Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Syngonium podophyllum

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This plant (Syngonium... podophyllum? doesn't look quite like it to me) has been, for the longest time, the ugliest, sparsest trailing plant that was really doing nothing. It would sometimes make green leaves at about the same speed as it would lose them. Sometimes it would (apparently) be restarted (though not recently enough that I really remember it), though based on the salt buildup on the soil and on the pot I'd say not recently, and then it would grow until it got fairly ugly again.

We kept it around because it's been in the family since around the 1940s when a friend of my late grandmother (who I never met) gave her this plant as a present before dying of breast cancer (or similar). I assume my grandmother grew it for a while until it became my dad's plant so it's been in the family a while now anyway.

Syngonium sp.
Syngonium podophyllum - Not that bad anymore actually

Well, earlier in the summer we decided that if this plant was going to stick around it should look nice doing it. Now for some reason we have hooks in the ceiling all over the place (Ok, 4. Still sort of strange - we didn't put them there and haven't bothered removing them.) and this plant had been hanging on one maybe 10' from a large south window and glass door. There was another hook though right in front of that window, so we moved it right where it would get pretty good sun and very soon it rewarded us with a white stripe down the center of the leaf. This was nice of it so we said "hey, this thing likes where it is."

It probably started getting watered more often than it had been so with that, combined with the new location by the window it started to grow. The white spread across the leaf and recently it began to grow leaves with five nodes where it had been growing only green leaves with three nodes before. It had never looked more full until, that is, a branch broke off during the photo shoot that resulted in the shot above. We were definitely getting ready to restart the plant but sort of got a push in that direction once we had a broken branch in hand.

Into water went the end after being trimmed, cleaned and had a few older leaves taken off so there were only three leaves left. I was starting to play around with passive hydroponic culture at the time and so it was rooted in water in hydroton. Once roots appeared the water level was reduced until we got where we are now - a rooted cutting growing in passive hydroponic culture. That cutting has done well and the leaves that had gone slightly limp have perked up again and the new leaf emerging has started to grow again. That cutting has done so well that I've started two more which I will ultimately plant together in a single larger container in passive hydroponic culture.

I had been thinking of allowing it to grow up a pole I got (free) from work but don't know how that would work with the pole and passive hydroponics. Not well I imagine though I'm sure there are ways to work around it (like wrapping the part of the pole in the hydroton in a waterproof liner). Would be much more attractive that way that continuing to grow it as a hanging plant I imagine. Easier to keep restarting it as a hanging plant... though perhaps not in hydroton.

1 comment:

  1. It really is a Syngonium podophyllum. This is just the mature form of the foliage, instead of the more commonly-seen juvenile foliage. There's at least one cultivar out there that starts way earlier with the mature foliage, the name of which escapes me ("Tri-" something?), but if the plant is as old as all that, it's probably just the plain old species.


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