Devil's Hand Tree
(Mexican Hand Tree)
Pot size -- You can start your plant in a pot about twice as wide as the one it's in. A tall pot is best.
Soil -- The Hand Tree likes well-draining soil. A typical mix is 2 parts quality potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse horticultural sand.
For the first week after repotting, shade from sun, and give no fertilizer. For the first month, make sure the original soil ball stays moist, not just the surrounding soil
Watering -- The soil should be kept evenly moist most of the time. Don't let it dry out, but don't keep it constantly soggy. Mature trees are more drought tolerant, but they appreciate occasional, deep watering.
The leaves tend to hang downward, as if the plant needs to be watered. This is normal!
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. Then give it about 10% more sun per week, with protection from strong afternoon sun for at least 2 months.
Temperature -- 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. It might need some afternoon shade in hotter climates.
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.
Repotting -- After a few months, you can move it to a 1 gallon pot until it is about 18 inches tall, and then to a 5 gallon pot until it is about 4-5 feet tall. If you need to keep it a pot indefinitely until it flowers, a 20 gallon pot or larger would be best, but it will need regular pruning to keep it small.
Pruning -- Like most trees, you can prune the top to keep the plant shorter and encourage side shoots to develop. Avoid removing too much each month.
Have fun growing it!
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