Trachyandra Tortilis are amazing plants, with extraordinary growth patterns. They are a gorgeous, rich green, and can grow into very unusual shapes and formations. It’s not surprising if you want one of these plants in your home, but you will need to learn how to care for it well, which is what we are going to look at today.
You should make sure that your amazing plant has enough water, humidity, and fertilizer, and you will need to provide the correct kind of soil, too. Looking after your plant well will ensure that it grows into the fabulous shapes that it is famous for, and will mean you can keep enjoying your plant for years.
It’s important to be aware that these plants are hard to grow, and if you are relatively new to plant care, they may not be the best option for you. They are pretty expensive and often prove easy to kill, so consider choosing other plants to practice with before you purchase a Trachyandra Tortilis for yourself.
Indoor vs Outdoor Growing
Most people grow Trachyandra Tortilis indoors, because it is a succulent and needs stable, warm temperatures. If the temperatures in your local area tend to range between 41 and 59 degrees F, you can take the plant outdoors, but you will need to bring it in again if the temperature rises or drops.
You should not leave your Trachyandra Tortilis outside overnight until you have hardened it off. This involves placing it outside for a few hours on warm days. Choose a sheltered spot where it will not get battered by the wind or burned by the sun.
You will need to do this for several weeks before you start leaving it out overnight. This gives the plant the chance to adjust to outdoor temperatures and build up its resistance to the harsher elements outside.
Do not leave your Trachyandra Tortilis anywhere that it will get direct sunlight. This will burn its delicate leaves and ruin your plant. When it is outdoors, it must be shaded by other plants or by an artificial cover that lets some light through, but blocks the brunt of the sun’s rays.
Best Location For Your Trachyandra Tortilis
Really, you are better off keeping your Trachyandra Tortilis indoors. You want it to be close to a window so that it gets sufficient indirect light, but otherwise, you are free to put it anywhere in your home that you like.
You should make sure that there is good airflow around the plant, and that it is not close to a heater or an air conditioner. It needs some protection from the sun’s rays coming through the window if they fall directly onto its leaves. A sheer curtain is often the best option for keeping it safe.
Many people keep these plants on desks or coffee tables. Just make sure that it is getting enough light if you don’t have it directly beside a window, or it will struggle to grow.
Soil For A Trachyandra Tortilis
Trachyandra Tortilis plants like really good drainage, and if you don’t provide it, you will likely kill your plant by accidentally over-watering it. You should make sure that the soil is mixed with plenty of perlite, or fine gravel and sand.
More drainage is pretty much always better for these plants. Put a layer of gravel in the bottom of the plant’s container, and mix drainage material throughout your potting medium. Remember that succulents are vulnerable to being over-watered, and the Trachyandra Tortilis is no exception to this.
It’s a good idea to use a rich succulent mix, which will provide the nutrients that the plant needs, and then increase the drainage with pebbles and sand. This should give your Trachyandra Tortilis its best chance of survival.
Watering Your Trachyandra Tortilis
Watering this plant must be done with care. It is vulnerable to root rot, and if you water it too heavily or too frequently, it will really suffer. It is very important not to over-water your Trachyandra Tortilis; this will almost certainly kill it, and as these plants are so rare and hard to get hold of, you want to avoid that at all costs.
How regularly you need to water your Trachyandra Tortilis will depend upon where you live, the temperature, the size of the plant and its pot, the container, and many other factors. As a very rough guide, you should be watering it once every one to two weeks.
However, it is always a good idea to check whether your plant actually needs a drink, rather than watering it on a strict schedule. To do this, press your finger into the top inch of the soil, and see how damp it is. If it is still damp, do not water the plant. Wait until the soil has dried to about an inch down, and then water your succulent.
You should water a Trachyandra Tortilis very generously when it does need a drink. You want to totally saturate its soil by running water into the container until it is flowing out of the bottom, and then add a bit more water. Once the soil is completely wet, put the plant back on its tray.
You should later remove excess water from the tray, leaving your plant to dry out fully again. Do not leave it sitting in water, because it will be vulnerable to fungal or bacterial infections if it is kept wet, and it may simply die if its roots start to rot.
Too much water carries a further risk with succulents. They store moisture in their leaves, because most grow in very dry environments where it rarely rains. Therefore, when it does rain, the plants need to grab and hold onto water, keeping it available to them through the dry periods.
However, if the plant gets given too much water, the leaves will try to absorb more than they need or can hold. This can lead to black spots on the leaves, leaf mushiness, and fungal infections. In really extreme cases, the leaf might actually burst because of the water pressure. This needs to be avoided, so don’t water your plant until it needs it.
When you do water the plant, avoid splashing the leaves as much as possible, because these do not like being wet. Only water the soil around the plant.
Humidity For Your Trachyandra Tortilis
Unlike many other plants, Trachyandra Tortilis do not appreciate high humidity levels, and they are very likely to rot or get a fungal infection if you keep them in a wet environment. They generally come from places like South Africa, and therefore they prefer arid conditions. If your home is damp, you will need to work hard to grow one of these plants.
You might want to buy a hygrometer before getting one of these plants. This will let you know how damp your home is. Your plant will likely rot if you keep it in humidity levels of over 50 percent. As long as your home is drier than this, your plant should thrive, so don’t put it in the bathroom.
Trachyandra Tortilis plants do not need misting or any extra humidity adding to their containers or their leaves.
Fertilizing Your Trachyandra Tortilis
Most succulents will thrive even in poor soil, and the Trachyandra Tortilis is among them. However, fertilizer can still help the plant to grow strong and healthy, so it’s worth fertilizing it if you have the time and inclination, especially if it has not been repotted for some time.
To fertilize your plant, use a balanced fertilizer, so that it has all the nutrients it needs. Dilute it to half the normal strength, and only fertilize it during the winter, when your plant is growing and blooming. It does not need fertilizing throughout the rest of the year.
You can fertilize your plant once a month, or twice at most. Remember that too much fertilizer can be harmful, because it will lead to a buildup of nutrients and salts in the soil, and these may damage the plant’s roots. For a plant that cares about the soil’s texture as much as a Trachyandra Tortilis does, it really is best not to add too much fertilizer.
If you have done so, flush the soil out with plenty of clean, fresh water, and leave the plant to dry out.
This plant is not known for being toxic, and in general, it is considered quite safe to grow. However, you should still avoid letting pets or children chew the leaves or eat them. This will damage the plant, and it could be unsafe even though the plant is not known for toxicity.
Trachyandra Tortilis plants can cause allergic reactions, so handle your plant with care. If you notice that it causes redness or irritation, wear gloves when you need to touch it, and minimize how much you have to do so. Always wash your hands thoroughly after dealing with the plant.
If you have one of these plants, you are almost certainly going to be asked for cuttings of it at times, and you might want to try propagating it yourself even if nobody else requests one. As these plants are expensive, it’s definitely worth a shot if you have a healthy plant.
Don’t try to propagate a sickly plant; it is better to build it back up to health than to start stripping away parts of it that it may need to keep growing.
Propagating Via Leaf Cuttings
It is best to propagate your plant from the leaf cuttings, rather than from seeds. Although seeds will grow, it takes a very long time to get an established plant – often around three years at least before you see any significant growth. Provided your Trachyandra Tortilis is healthy, a cutting is a much better option.
You have the best chances of success if you attempt this in the fall or in winter; this is when the plant is most likely to grow well, because this is its main growth period.
To take a cutting, you first need to sterilize some shears or sharp scissors with boiling water or rubbing alcohol. This ensures you are not transferring any bacteria into an open wound when you cut your plant.
Next, identify a healthy leaf. It should be plump and have a uniform color across the leaf, with no brown areas or spots. If the leaf is flat or discolored at all, pass it by and choose a different one.
You should cut the leaf right at its base, keeping as much of the leaf as possible. You do not want to cut it too short, or it won’t be able to grow, because the growth node is at the base of the leaf, where it joins the stem.
Once you have removed the leaf, place it on a clean paper towel and leave it for about four or five days. It should callous over during this time, after which you can dip it into some rooting hormone, or just plant it straight into some suitable, well-draining compost.
Wait for a few more days before watering it, because if you water a succulent cutting too early, it will soak up lots of moisture all at once, and this will kill it. After a few more days have passed, water it lightly and allow it to dry out again before providing more water. Keep doing this for a few weeks.
After about a month, you should see tiny pink roots protruding from the cut end. Your plant is doing well! You will be able to transplant it into a larger container once these roots are strong enough to withstand being moved.
Propagating Using Seeds
If you wish to propagate your Trachyandra Tortilis using its seeds, you will need to collect these when the plant blooms, or you can purchase some online. Select the largest seeds, as these are most likely to grow into strong plants.
Take several small pots of a couple of inches deep and fill them with well-draining potting material. Next, bury one seed in each container, to about a third of an inch down into the soil. You can sprinkle smaller seeds on the soil’s surface to see if they take.
Lightly moisten the soil and place the containers in a warm and bright spot, but not in direct sunlight. You will need to put up a sheer curtain if you only have windowsills that are brightly lit, or use a grow light as a means of helping the seedlings grow.
When young, they need approximately twelve to fourteen hours of light and eight to ten hours of darkness or semi-dark.
Spray the soil with a plant mister every time it becomes dry, but don’t make it soggy. A little dampness is all these plants need; they do not want to be in standing water.
Keep an eye out for tiny shoots, and add a diluted dose of fertilizer every three weeks or so. Hopefully, your plants will start to grow. Do not repot them too soon; they will be very fragile to begin with. You should wait until they reach around five inches tall before putting them in a larger container.
Make sure the potting mix is well-drained and that the plants are not getting too wet.
It takes a lot of patience to grow Trachyandra Tortilis from seed, but if you are prepared to wait, this is a good way to get a plant without paying a fortune for it.
However, beware of scams online, and only buy seeds from reputable sellers with good feedback. It is very easy for scammers to sell other seeds labeled as Trachyandra Tortilis, and you won’t know for quite a long time!
Your plant will need repotting as it gets bigger. Most plants require repotting around once per year, and this is a good opportunity to inspect the root growth and check that your plant is healthy. You can also provide fresh growing medium to ensure your plant has enough nutrients to grow well.
Most people like to keep their Trachyandra Tortilis plants in terracotta pots. These look prettier and also provide better drainage, because they are porous. Make sure that there are still very good drainage holes at the bottom of the container, and add a layer of gravel to increase the drainage.
To repot your Trachyandra Tortilis, simply loosen the soil in the old container. If it is plastic, you can do this by squeezing and turning the container. If it’s terracotta, run a spatula or blunt knife around the edge of the pot.
Gently tip the plant out, making sure you don’t damage it in the process. Next, shake the soil off the plant’s roots, being careful not to snap any. Inspect the roots to check that they are healthy and there are no pests.
Some people prune the roots, but you don’t need to do this if you would prefer not to; it can encourage growth, but it is not necessary.
Fill your new container with fresh potting medium and drainage material, and plant the Trachyandra Tortilis in it. Spread the roots out and water very lightly to help the soil settle around the plant. Do not water it again until it is dry to an inch or two below the soil’s surface.
You have now repotted your Trachyandra Tortilis! It’s a good idea to put it somewhere warm and out of direct sunlight while it settles into its new pot. It may look a little ruffled for a few days, but it should soon pick up.
When Will My Trachyandra Tortilis Bloom?
Like many succulents, the Trachyandra Tortilis blooms in winter, and sometimes at the start of spring. It has gray, white, pink, or yellow flowers that are shaped like stars, and these will form on individual stalks that grow from the base of the Trachyandra Tortilis. Flowers will not blossom on the same stems as the plant’s leaves.
However, you may think that your Trachyandra Tortilis never blooms. Succulents are notoriously difficult to get to flower, and some never seem to regardless of how well you treat them. It doesn’t help that a Trachyandra Tortilis’s flowers only last for a single day, so you may not see them even if it does flower!
This plant is mostly grown for its beautiful foliage, rather than for its flowers.
How Long Does A Trachyandra Tortilis Live For?
These plants are amazingly long-lived once they are established and well-cared for. You could be passing yours on to your children if you look after it well and meet all its needs.
Should I Remove Dead Foliage?
Yes; once foliage has started to look shriveled or dry, you should remove it from the plant. It is not a good idea to leave dead leaves in place, as they may continue taking moisture from the plant, without contributing anything to its growth.
Cut them off with sterilized scissors and compost them. This will make your plant look better, but will also ensure that it stays healthy.
Do I Need To Worry About Root Rot?
Yes. Like all succulents, Trachyandra Tortilis is vulnerable to being over-watered, and you need to be careful to avoid this happening. Rotten roots will kill your plant very quickly. They are usually caused by poor drainage and excess watering, so always check whether your plant needs a drink before providing one.
If you have over-watered your Trachyandra Tortilis, it will need repotting into dry soil quickly before it has a chance to rot. Cut away any damaged roots, and dry the rest by patting them gently with a paper towel.
Do Trachyandra Tortilis Suffer From Pests?
Although they are generally pretty pest resistant, you should watch out for insects feeding on your plant. Any plant can be infested by insects, and mealybugs can be an issue for this succulent. If you see white, cottony balls on your plant’s leaves or you find sticky sap surrounding it, you have an insect infestation.
You should wash the plant with soapy water, or wipe the leaves down with neem oil.