Friday, April 06, 2012

Frankincense Friday - Little Frankie is leafing out after waking up from his dormant period

On December 19, 2011, I wrote about the arrival of my little frankincense tree.  Click here to read and see the photo.  Even for a dormant tree, Little Frankie looked pretty poorly.  The heat pack that he was shipped with torched his growing tip, and fried his few remaining leaves.  I potted him up in a cactus soil mix, put him on my kitchen windowsill and watered him with about a teaspoon of filtered water once or twice a week.  I'm sure my housekeeper thought I was overly optimistic, as he looked like a bare, dead twig.

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

1 comment:

  1. Anya, THAT is totally an awesome plant. You are very lucky to have one.


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