Frequently Asked Questions
1. When will it spiral like the photos on your website?
Juvenile plants up to 25 leaf are difficult to assign a RIGHT or LEFT designation because of the limited number of leaf. There are five rows of leaves which make a sequence spiral. As leaf count increases these five rows become visually more pronounced. Your eye sees the plant, but it is up to your brain to recognize the pattern.
2. My plant has yellow leaves with brown tips. Why ?
A juvenile plant with lowest leaf showing this symptom is probably afflicted by insects chewing the root stump from the underside. These may be either Homopterans or Collembola insects which like living in the root stump. The roots die from this and the plant sacrifices the lowest leaf, resorbing the leaf ‘goo’ and using it to form new roots which are then attacked again. The ratio of new leaf production: older leaf senescence for an adult plant which has achieved maximum size (up to 175 leaf) should be 1:1. A juvenile plant 25-35 leaf should have this ratio at 2:1 or more. If the yellow leaf/brown tip symptom progresses to mid-spiral then the plant should be pulled up and treated as described in point 6.0.
3. When do I water it?
If your plant is firmly rooted in a soil mix I describe elsewhere, you may water every 1-2 weeks depending on the season and air temperature. If Summer heat becomes threatening apply water or even ice cubes and shade the plant. In Winter you can go two weeks between water applications if your plant is sheltered (under a roof). The turgidity of the leaf indicate good root health and applying water will be welcomed by them. Permit the soil moisture to drop for a week before reapplying water. Suffocation is the most frequent problem roots encounter. Coarse soil texture with great macropore airspaces allow the oxygen demanding roots to act like pumps absorbing and pushing water into the leaf.
4. How large a pot should I use?
Much larger than you would assume for any other succulent plant. A.p. will exploit a large volume of soil without any other companion plant. A half-barrel with a 20-35 gal volume of soil is a good start for a 45 leaf plant which can then support the adult plant it grows into, requiring 5-7 years.
5. When do I fertilize it?
Never use dry granular formulations or Osmocote. The use of crystalline Miracle-Gro or Miracid at label rate is fine. Topdress soil with dry powder mixes of organic formulations like Dr. Earth are safe to use. Spring through Fall applications are ok for cool summer areas. In hot summer areas Fall through Winter applications are better. A plant with a collapsed rosette has lost all functional root. Do not apply fertilizer to a plant in this condition.
6. My plant has collapsed and shrunk, and the rosette has closed up. What can be done to save it?
The roots have suffocated from either high temperatures or oxygen deprivation. Pull plant up and inspect the underside, remove all dead brown tissue of leaf and root. Use a small knife edge to scrape the tissue away from the root stump. Jet wash the stump, spray it with an aerosol can containing any insecticide which has a labeled active ingredient with the suffix “-thrin”. Replant on refreshed moist media in shade and wait for 30 days to perform the “tug test” to confirm new root formation. You may move it to brighter light and fertilize.