Tropicals forum: Exsanguination by Puya or ...

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Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Dec 3, 2015 3:26 PM CST
How do you repot these things without needing a blood transfusion?

I have Puya Alpistris and P. berteroniana that I've grown from seed. They are 4 years old and desperately need repotting. These plants have to be the most insidious and vicious plants I've ever grown. The leaves have spikes that point inward toward the center of the plant making extrication of bare flesh a bit scary.

Being essentially ignorant about broms I need advice on how big a pot do I need to step up to and is it ok to prune off the older, bottom leaves that are curling around the pots.

Thumb of 2015-12-03/Xeramtheum/f1e638

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Unknown

Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Dec 4, 2015 9:30 AM CST
LOL, I gave up and gave mine to a local collector who specialized in thorny plants. Weird, I know, why would anyone focus on such vicious plants?

The guy has since moved so I can't even ask how he handled them.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
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Xeramtheum
Dec 4, 2015 11:30 AM CST
I gave away all my plants that 'hurt' except for these two. I'm thinking I might actually put them in the ground in Spring rather than pot up since they are both iffy zone 8 plants and would be easy to protect in winter.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
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ctcarol
Dec 4, 2015 1:03 PM CST
How about Rose gauntlets and barbeque tongs? Add a long handled trowel for re covering with soil.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Dec 4, 2015 2:04 PM CST
Lol .. that's definitely a good idea!
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Dec 6, 2015 10:50 PM CST
Anne, are you really SURE you want to grow these thorny things? There are those Kevlar gloves they make for oven mitts that I've heard of people using for such tasks . . . welding gloves are very thick and strong, too.

I've had some of the sharper thorns even penetrate the rose gloves with the thick gauntlets.

I think it's a great idea for you to plant them out in your garden in the spring - any neighbors with wandering dogs? They'll sure learn their lesson if they get tangled up in those spiky devils! Be sure to put a "caution" flag up near them so they don't bite you if you forget where they are.

I'm contemplating planting a bunch of pineapple tops around and under the edges of my Lychee tree to keep the squirrels away. Once pineapples have 'naturalized' they get very thorny edges along the leaves too.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
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Xeramtheum
Dec 7, 2015 7:25 AM CST
But the flowers are so beautiful and unusual they should be old enough to flower in about 3 - 4 years! Kevlar gloves? Lol. Actually the thorns tried to eat one of my firefighter/EMT 'sharps' gloves - that's what I've been using to move them - pulled the right hand glove right off - took about 30 minutes to get it out using knitting needles and tongs. You've got me thinking, they would be great to throw at a burglar or someone trying to attack me.

"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

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Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Dec 7, 2015 7:44 AM CST
They sell stainless steel fine mesh gloves for chefs and clumsy cooks, I wonder if the pointy parts would get through the mesh???

No matter what you decide, I think you should get an award for the very clever thread title. Thumbs up
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
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Xeramtheum
Dec 7, 2015 8:33 AM CST
Lol .. thanks Alice. I had actually thought about those metal gloves but was thinking the thorns would catch even worse on the mesh.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Dec 7, 2015 10:15 AM CST
Ok, I can see trying to grow them for those fabulous flowers. You're right, though. Whatever gloves you try should probably be smooth, not mesh. That rules out the Kevlar ones I was thinking of, too. The welding gloves I have are suede which would also catch, but I think they make them out of smooth fabric, too.

Wait! What are we thinking, just get in there with your nail scissors and cut off the thorn tips just before you are going to re-pot the plants! (then keep your fingers away from the middles where the new thorns are) You only need to cut off enough thorns so you can get your hands underneath the plants to pick them up.

Now, I just went back to look at your picture in the original post. Why do you need to re-pot them again? Broms really don't collect all that much nutrition through their roots. Roots are mostly just anchoring the plants. They're major foliar feeders so I wouldn't cut off any green leaves if you can help it. Guess you could put them in a shallower pot, so they could spill over better.

When I move my broms, it involves no digging - pick them up from where they're growing and put them down in the new spot. The roots just hold them upright. I do stake them until they stand on their own in the new spot . . sometimes . .
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
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Danita
Dec 7, 2015 11:02 AM CST
I was recently looking through an old gardening magazine and someone wrote in that they wore silicone oven gloves when potting up their cactus plants. I try to avoid weaponized plants since I'm such a klutz so I haven't tried it. Those Puya blooms are so gorgeous that they may be worth a little danger.

I actually got an Agave with those same inward-pointing thorns at a plant trade one year. I managed to get my flesh entangled in that thing so often that I was certain that it was living off of my blood. I started calling it Audrey II. When the next trade rolled around, I popped that sucker into the trunk to find it a new home. There happened to be a couple there that was specifically looking for Agaves and were thrilled to take it. I swear, I saw that thing practically lick its lips as its new victims carried it to their car.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
Dec 7, 2015 11:12 AM CST
Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Be a voice - not an echo!
Plant and/or Seed Trader Enjoys or suffers cold winters Hybridizer Birds Seed Starter Cat Lover
Pollen collector Morning Glories Greenhouse Bookworm Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
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Xeramtheum
Dec 7, 2015 12:33 PM CST
Thanks Elaine .. as I said, I don't know nothing about broms .. so if they don't mind being in those small pots they'll just stay there until I can find a safe spot to plant them outdoors.

Danita, many years ago I had a 4 foot Cereus peruvianus cactus grossly underpotted that was on my bench making it top heavy, in the greenhouse. One day it tipped over on me as I was facing it. I was thoroughly impaled on my cheeks, arms, chest and breasts (thankfully I wear glasses) and tangled in my hair. I could not move without lodging the thorns in further and didn't have a phone or neighbors at home. I just stood there in shock and pain. After about 20 minutes of trying real hard not to panic I started to detach the cactus from one arm so I could move my arm. It took about a quarter of an hour .. I was finally able to reach my clippers and clipped off all the thorns stuck in me. Whew! I then spent the next couple of hours removing the thorns from my body. After that experience I pretty much gave away all the plants that hurt.
"We were all humans until race disconnected us, religion separated us, politics divided us and wealth classified us."

Unknown

Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
Dec 7, 2015 1:19 PM CST
Yikes, I remember you chatting about that experience, what a scary time. For what it is worth, the hectia, a dyckia and a puya I gave away were in small pots for years because I couldn't touch them. They never bloomed for me either.

Took this photo in Charleston a few years ago of a very happy dyckia.
Thumb of 2015-12-07/ardesia/1268ad

Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator Hummingbirder Salvias Butterflies Birds
Plant Identifier Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Seed Starter Cat Lover Region: Georgia
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Danita
Dec 8, 2015 8:42 AM CST
Oh heavens, Anne, that is horrible! The pain-perceiving cortex in my brain lit up just reading your story. *shudder* Crying

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