On March 18, Jeanne Rose wrote to me via my Anya's Garden Perfumes group on Facebook, asking how my tree was doing, as she believed hers, purchased at the same time, was dead. Later that day I observed Little Frankie starting with the tiniest of leaves flushing out, and told Jeanne to have patience, perhaps her tree would come out of dormancy, too.
I had been cautiously optimistic, because the dead tip, also the site of the apical meristem in the plant, troubled me. If it continued to shrivel up, moving down the plant, that meant that perhaps there was a bacteria or fungus causing the shriveling, not just the heat-induced shriveling. The tip shrivel didn't progress, and I predicted that since the hormone auxin was now destroyed, and the dormant side branches of Little Frankie would really sprout. It's similar to the action taken when you snip back the growing tip of basil, and you get side shoots. Auxin prevents side shoots from developing, and snipping that tip off allows the plant to send out side shoots.
Little Frankie sure responded to the lack of auxin! He's covered in side shoots, and looks very healthy. I'll keep you updated on his progress. I may keep him indoors because although the frankincense plant can take a lot of humidity, the heavy rains of Miami's summers may be too much. I plan on getting a second frankincense plant soon, so I may experiment. Here are some photos of Little Frankie, a naked twig no more.
|Little Frankie on March 18, 2012 just starting to leaf out after winter dormancy|
|Little Frankie on April 6, 2012, showing tip dieback|
|April 6, 2012 - Little Frankie's leaves are shiny and healthy|