Cactus and Succulents forum: Stephania Erecta and Phyllanthus Mirabilis caudex care

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Name: Faye S.
Philadelphia (Zone 7a)
Jun 25, 2020 10:58 AM CST
Hello all! First time in here. I am newer to the world of caudex plants but have fallen in love. I have several now, a few are doing great but I have some questions about my stephania erecta and my phyllanthus mirabilis.
It took almost a year to get my first viable stem to grow out of the stephania and while I am wildly excited and very happy to see it, it seems to just be growing up and up and up. Can anyone tell me how tall I can expect it to get? It's starting to get a little top heavy now and is tipping over slightly. Should it have branched out more? Or does anyone have any suggestions of care or things I should be doing differently? It is currently sitting in a mix of white stones, sand and a little bit of soil, watering when the jar seems to dry and receiving a 1-1-1 liquid succulent fertilizer very occasionally.

The phyllanthus is in a similar potting medium but with a bit more soil mixed in with the sand and stones and is in terra cotta as opposed to a glass jar. This one seems to be doing very well, first stems began to sprout just weeks after potting. It only had two large stems until a few weeks ago when it sprouted 4 more. The older stems seem to have more leaves grouped closer together while the new stems have fewer leaves spaced further apart. Is this common? Or maybe not getting enough light/too much light? It has received the same fertilizer as the stephania and both plants are in a west facing second floor window that gets bright but indirect sun until the afternoon when it gets a few hours of direct-ish sun, but from behind a few other plants

Thanks for your help!

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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Jun 25, 2020 4:51 PM CST


I too am partial to the fat plants and it's always interesting to see new and different ones. I do not have experience with either of the plants pictured but I have been reading about Stephania and looking at pictures.

How long have you had the Stephania? Whaat kind/size of container was it in previously? I would not think that jar would be a good long-term location, but the plant does look nice and leafy, actively growing and so forth, at the moment. I don't use containers without holes at the bottom and I don't pot any plant below the top of the pot, or pretty close to it. What kind of soil do you have in there? How much do you water? (How high is the water level in the container afterwards?) How long does it take to dry out? I would be concerned about salt buildup in the soil over extended time if there is no exit.

As for the food, you should measure it and probably use less than then label directs. The amount of fertilizer I regularly use for fat plants is equivalent to 4 tsp/gal of the 1-1-1 that you prefer. I always flush with an excess volume when I feed so that the salt has an opportunity to wash out and does not accumulate in the soil (and/or the terra cotta container).

Name: Sad Oscar
Los Angeles (Zone 10a)
Jul 10, 2020 4:29 PM CST
My stephania erecta is the opposite. It's grown 5 leaves on one stem and stopped. I would love if it would vine up a bit more, though the leaves it has are lovely.

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It did have little shoots but those dried off for some reason, I really don't know.

1/4" succulent substrate mix since December 2019. At first I had a glass dome but then I moved it over to my fish tank humidity tent. (Could be why the shoots died?)
Humidity ranges from 45% - 99%.
Temperature ranges from 65 - 99F.
Lighting: 7 inches from grow light for 12 hours.

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