Clearly, the plant has grown significantly and has a lot more leaves.
Unfortunately it’s too big and is hitting the top of the bin, but I don’t have any other place to grow it that’s large enough but also enclosed in a container to maintain the proper conditions.
Some of the leaves are malformed because they’re pressing against the bin lid as they are trying to grow.
There are various other defects on the new leaves, probably as a side effect of being pressed against the top, keeping them wet and close to the bright and hot light. We also had a heat wave here which drove the temps in the plant room ridiculously high.
I’ll share a little info about how this specimen has progressed since the beginning.
The first growth I noticed was roots coming off the stem, which happened within a couple of weeks of planting.
Within a month the roots were much larger and all along the stem.
At first the Turtle Back was extremely slow to do anything, likely due to it needing to grow a strong root system and get acclimated to the new conditions, but then suddenly it exploded into vigorous and fast growth which completely shocked me.
If you recall from the planting video, the plant and leaves were off to the side a bit, but as expected it eventually righted itself and all the foliage is pointing upward now. The reorientation happened mostly when the growth spurt occurred.
One thing that surprised me is that the plant got taller and branched out, because at first I thought this species grew as a single stem with a rosette of leaves.
Note this little dwarfed leaf, which is the one that was just beginning to form inside the growth point when I unboxed the plant.
Stunted growth like this is pretty common when plants go through a shock and stress such as shipping and being placed in new conditions.
I’ve only given this plant a light watering a couple of times in the past few months.
All I did was mist the plant and wet the substrate a little, and that was mostly during the heat spell which was causing the substrate to dry out.
As mentioned in the care video, I kept the Turtle Back in dim light at first, and then eventually increased the light intensity when I felt the plant was acclimated and stable.
As far as the rest of the bin, some of the filler plants are growing nicely, such as the Selaginella species, Begonia lichenora, and mini ferns.
These smaller species are a bit larger than they were in the beginning, but obviously haven’t grown nearly as much or as fast as the Turtle Back.
To be fair, I have kept these in dim light for a longer period than the Turtle Back.
I recently increased the light and they seem to be growing slightly faster now.
This small, dark leafed plant had foliage bent to the side and also has reoriented itself, just like the Turtle Back did.
Based on how all of the jungle plants are doing, I’d say they’re loving the custom experimental substrate mix I made, as well as the other conditions of the setup.
You can learn about all of that in the care video.
Overall, I’m very happy with these plants and how well they’ve grown, and I’m excited to see how the smaller species do over time.
I’m blown away by the Turtle Back, but very disappointed that my available space can’t handle its magnificence, so I’ll have to make some tough decisions very soon.
Thanks again to the Buceplant.com team for helping make this video possible.
I gave the Turtle Back to a friend who has a bit more space for growing large plants. We considered putting the Turtle Back in his greenhouse, but he lets the temperatures drop too low in Winter, so instead he might put it in his gigantic, custom vivarium. If possible I will post updates of the plant in the future.