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Turquoise Puya

 

Devil's Hand Tree

(Mexican Hand Tree)

Chiranthodendron pentadactylon - Devil's Hand Tree

Chiranthodendron pentadactylon

 

Pot size -- A 1 gallon pot can hold your plant until it is about 18 inches, and 5 gallon until it is 5 feet tall.

Soil -- The Hand Tree likes well-draining soil.  A good mix is 2 parts quality potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse horticultural sand.

 Whenever transplanting, water the soil first to keep the soil ball from breaking apart, which can damage the roots.  Don't pack the soil down after transplanting - simply water it in.  For the first week after repotting, shade from sun, and give no fertilizer.

Watering -- The soil should be kept moderately moist throughout.  Avoid keeping the soil soggy, but don't let it dry out either.  Mature trees are more drought tolerant, but they appreciate occasional, deep watering.

Sunlight -- The Hand Tree likes mostly sunny conditions.  But after transplanting your plant, give it bright shade the first 2-3 weeks with a small amount of morning sun.  After that, give it about 10% more sun per week, with protection from strong afternoon sun.

Temperature & humidity -- The Hand Tree comes from a climate that is moderate throughout the year.  Mature plants are said to be hardy down to about 20 degrees F, but frequent, prolonged frosts may stress the tree, especially when young.  I recommend protecting your plant from frost the first year or two.  I have no information on how much heat it can take.  In hotter areas, the tree might appreciate some mid-day shade.  It enjoys some humidity in the air and might not thrive if the air is too dry.

Fertilizing -- The Hand Tree has average fertilizing needs.  Feed about once every 2 months, following the dosage on the package.  Use a general-purpose fertilizer that contains micronutrients (I use this). 

By the way, the leaves tend to hang downward, as if they need to be watered.  This is normal!

Have fun growing it!

- Jeff

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