Ensete ventri01 rotted :-o, but lived to tell the tale :)

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Dave Brown
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Ensete ventri01 rotted :-o, but lived to tell the tale :)

Post by Dave Brown » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:29 am

This is the August 2013 story of my Ensete ventri01 plant bought in 2008. It does not grow particularly large which makes it easier to overwinter and has had it's ups and downs over the years, but August 2013 was it's biggest challenge by far.

I wanted to write this in detail and use the pictures I took at the time, so it too long to do in one posting session. Please bear with me as this will be in instalments.

Instalment 1
Ensete resilience really amazes me, they come back even when all the odds are stacked against them :D

August 2013
My dwarf potted Ensete ventricosum was doing very well as the summer progressed but as the plants around it soared skywards, I became aware it was being shaded more and more, and as this area was watered virtually daily, the ground stayed permanently damp.
Ensete ventricosum doing very well as the summer progressed
Ensete ventricosum doing very well as the summer progressed
Finally on 22nd I decided it needed to be moved to a more sunny, dry position, and as the pot was picked up the top appeared to wobble, but thought I had imagined it. Then as it was placed on the lawn, it definitely leaned to one side :ahhh!: An investigative wobble of the top revealed it was not my imagination. Hard to believe how it was looking in such good condition if the roots had rotted icon_scratch Closer investigation revealed that it was even worse than suspected..... the base of the rhizome had completely rotted through :ahhh!: :ahhh!:


Ensete are quite tough plants, able to tolerate extreme drought, and this enabled it to look good due to drawing resources from the rhizome above the rot :roll: The pseudostem was carefully checked and living roots were visible protruding above the rotted part of the rhizome, showing it was attempting to heal itself, but the rot had to be removed to ensure the plant's survival, so drastic surgery was called for.
Here the Ensete looking the picture of health, but actually not having any living part in contact with the compost
Here the Ensete looking the picture of health, but actually not having any living part in contact with the compost
Living roots were visible protruding above the rotted part of the rhizome
Living roots were visible protruding above the rotted part of the rhizome
Firstly, most of the beautiful leaves had to be removed as it would stand no chance of survival with a huge crown of leaves and no roots in a bright position, which it needed for warmth. Once mostly defoliated the whole top of the plant pulled off quite easily, confirming that no living tissue was in contact with the compost, leaving a gooey, soggy mess in the pot. Next the extent of the rot had to be evaluated by probing with finger tips to detect where solid, healthy tissue started. The pseudostem was then cut using a bread knife about 2cm (3/4") above the rot.
Once mostly defoliated the whole top of the plant pulled off quite easily, confirming that no living tissue was in contact with the compost
Once mostly defoliated the whole top of the plant pulled off quite easily, confirming that no living tissue was in contact with the compost
The pseudostem was cut using a bread knife about 2cm (3/4") above the rot
The pseudostem was cut using a bread knife about 2cm (3/4") above the rot
The leaves were covered in plastic sheet to conserve moisture and the cut base of the rhizome left in sun for 3 days to callus over.

Instalment 2 to follow :wink:
Best regards
Dave
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Roll on summer.....
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fern Rob

Re: Ensete ventri01 rotted :-o, but lived to tell the tale :

Post by fern Rob » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:05 am

This is really informative. Can not wait for instalment two.

kata

Re: Ensete ventri01 rotted :-o, but lived to tell the tale :

Post by kata » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:45 am

Wondering if my short stubby Ensete has suffered a similar fate,

Its still short in comparision for other members even though the stem is a wide as others, thats no Indication of whats going on beneath.

San was of the opinion mine had dried out but no It was'nt at any time till last week when I lost heart with gardening been allowed to dry out. I put the short height down to being in a small pot myself.

As summer became summer proper I put in four slow release plugs in the pot. I did what everyone else did except bury it.. :lol: Its had food, copius amounts of water.

As Rob says, lets see your next chapter.

Thanks Dave!!

icon_cheers

Deedee

Re: Ensete ventri01 rotted :-o, but lived to tell the tale :

Post by Deedee » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:56 am

Scarey AND interesting at the same time icon_thumleft

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Re: Ensete ventri01 rotted :-o, but lived to tell the tale :

Post by Yorkshire Kris » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:56 am

I'm glad this has a happy ending. icon_sunny

sanatic1234

Re: Ensete ventri01 rotted :-o, but lived to tell the tale :

Post by sanatic1234 » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:09 pm

It amazes me the treatment it got and still surviving! suppose it is like re rooting alocasia in a way.

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Re: Ensete ventri01 rotted :-o, but lived to tell the tale :

Post by Dave Brown » Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:47 am

Instalment 2
25th August 2013
The Ensete was left under the covered area with the leaves wrapped in plastic to conserve moisture. I only intended to leave it for one day, but in the end it was there for 3 days before time was found to handle it. In the 3 days the cut part of the rhizome had dried off nicely and callused over. Then the base of the plant plunged into a bucket of cheshunt compound for 1/2 hour to reduce the risk of rot reinfecting the rhizome.

The next stage was to repot, and for this a 10inch straight sided pot was chosen so that the rhizome could be planted fairly deeply, with room for roots to emerge all the way to the bottom of the pot.

Compost was mixed with 40% perlite as the main planting medium, but neat perlite and 20mm shingle was also used as follows
- Stage 1 (bottom 10cm (4 inches) was 60/40 MP compost/perlite
- Stage 2 was a 1cm (0.4") layer of neat perlite as an extremely well drained bed for the rhizome to sit on.
- Stage 3 the Ensete was placed on the perlite
- Stage 4 60/40 MP Compost/perlite was used to backfill around the rhizome where the roots were emerging
- Stage 5 A 5cm (2") layer of 20mm shingle was laid as a well drained top layer to keep the base of the pseudostem dry, and also a heavy layer which would hold the Ensete upright and secure in the pot.

As it was August and temps were reaching 21°C I decided to sparingly water just to slightly dampen the compost.

Instalment 3 to follow
Attachments
Stage 1 (bottom 10cm (4 inches) was 60/40 MP compost/perlite
Stage 1 (bottom 10cm (4 inches) was 60/40 MP compost/perlite
Stage 2 was a 1cm (0.4") layer of neat perlite as an extremely well drained bed for the rhizome to sit on.
Stage 2 was a 1cm (0.4") layer of neat perlite as an extremely well drained bed for the rhizome to sit on.
Stage 3 the Ensete placed on the perlite
Stage 3 the Ensete placed on the perlite
Stage 4 60/40 MP Compost/perlite used to backfill around the rhizome
Stage 4 60/40 MP Compost/perlite used to backfill around the rhizome
Stage 5 A 5cm (2") layer of 20mm shingle laid as well drained top layer to keep the base of the pseudostem dry. Also a heavy layer to hold  Ensete upright and secure in the pot.
Stage 5 A 5cm (2") layer of 20mm shingle laid as well drained top layer to keep the base of the pseudostem dry. Also a heavy layer to hold Ensete upright and secure in the pot.
Ensete potted  and ready to go to Lunar Module
Ensete potted and ready to go to Lunar Module
Best regards
Dave
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_________________________________________________
Roll on summer.....
http://www.hardytropicals.co.uk

fern Rob

Re: Ensete ventri01 rotted :-o, but lived to tell the tale :

Post by fern Rob » Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:18 pm

Great article.

kata

Re: Ensete ventri01 rotted :-o, but lived to tell the tale :

Post by kata » Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:52 pm

Yay, its up and running, well done Dave!!

icon_cheers

GREVILLE

Re: Ensete ventri01 rotted :-o, but lived to tell the tale :

Post by GREVILLE » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:07 pm

Your constant expertise with Ensetes continues to astound, Dave icon_cheers

Spookily enough I had a similar problem with my Musa sikkimensis 'bengal tiger' which suddenly went limp last week. I had potted it on last month as it was still in the same pot I'd used to start it from dry corm stage earlier in the season. I left it in a bucket of water to soak the compost and forgot about it, pulling it out of stagnant water :oops: All the roots had rotted.

After cleaning off all the dead roots and scraping away a sliver of rotting tissue on the corm (Thank goodness that was all it was!) I was relieved to see two small pups showing from the corm. It is now in a similar mix as yours, Dave, and it looks as though the surviving roller is starting to move.

Good to know your episode with Ensete tells me I've done the right thing with Musa icon_thumleft

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