The plants took a beating…

October 24, 2009

Tropical Storm Rick really gave the vegetation in Mazatlán a beating.  Walking the dogs this morning I realized that the west  side of every tree we passed by was burned and blackened or bleached looking.

A lot of the plants at our house are in pots, and those most affected by the storm were on our upstairs front patio.  Keep in mind that as the crow flies we are about 4 blocks from the water but we are behind Icebox Hill, which shelters us from a lot of the weather.  Our timber bamboo really took a beating, though.  Planted in the ground on the side of our back yard, it has grown to more than three stories high and provides a nice buffer between us and the aparment building behind.  Or I should say it used to.  Whether it will even survive at all is anyone’s guess.  I cut off the stems (bamboo is a grass, after all) that had bent over today, but it is as though more than half of the bamboo is missing and the remaining leaves are shredded and dry.

I thought I’d do this post now and we’ll see how we are doing in a couple of months.


At the top is the bamboo I had to cut out.  See how dry and shredded the leaves are?  They are a bluish color, very strange.


Here’s the bamboo, now.  We assume it will send up more shoots but we don’t know if the existing bamboo will re-leaf.


This is my edible ginger.  It is not normally variegated.  That happened during the storm.


My fig.  It is in a pot and had been doing pretty well.  I have my fingers crossed!


The banana and the orchid tree seem a little off kilter.


Awwww, crap.  This is my datura.  It is really unhappy.


This vine was doing so well, before.  It is  a flame vine and it hasn’t even bloomed yet! It was draping over the front facade of our house and was going to be quite the show!


This tree was sold to us as a real lemon.  Ok, it isn’t, it seems to be an orange, but we’re not even sure we’ll ever get those oranges, it is doing so badly.  I have no idea why they didn’t fly off in the storm, either.


Above is my handkerchief plant.  It was so lush and had tons of blooms on it, before!.


Here’s the banana after I cut off the big one that went down.  Kinda ratty, don’t you think?

We haven’t been through this kind of storm before, so we are no experts, but next time we are going to be ready with a heavy duty handtruck and move all the plants on the patio into a corner and if possible cover them with a tarp.  But the plants that were more exposed did worse, so whatever shelter we can give them, we will.

We’ll also hose them off as soon as the storm passes.  In hindsight we realized that some of the damage was caused by the salt in the moisture, and if we had hosed them off, who knows – they might have done better.

Our neighbors shrug and say who could expect two storms like we had this year in ONE year!  So we hope next year we will get a pass, and that the storm season is over for us for this year. One thing I should have expected is that the palms did quite well.  They flap up and down and get whipped all over the place but don’t even look slightly affected by the storm.

Below is a video of the front patio during a bit of the storm.

A couple of months from now I’ll let you know how it’s going with all these plants. Wish me luck!

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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. Hi nancy – Unless there was sea water standing in your pots, all your plants will return. Having gone through many hurricanes in Texas, I have nursed all manner of plants in the ground and in pots back to life.

      Luckily you didn’t have water in your house or worse. The poor people in Galveston lost 1000’s of old 100 year old trees during Ike from the sea water inundating the island. A great tragedy.

      Probably if you had tarped your plants, you would have lost the tarp!

    1. Good Luck! I agree with Babs about the plants, unfortunately Galveston lost so much, as did the Mississippi coast after horrible hurricanes there. Sad to see all the dead oak tress.

      You should be fine with all those pretty tropical plants that live their lives expecting storms!

    1. I think your plants will bounce right back too. They really did get shredded, didn’t they? Not to worry, tropical plants are hardy.

      1. I am happy to hear that you all think the plants will come back. They look so awful right now! And we know we were lucky, it was coming towards us as a category 5 before it lost power, thank goodness.

    1. Nancy – Mother Nature has a very demonstrative way of making people take notice. I am glad you and Paul weathered the storm.


      1. John, You are right about Mother Nature. She just gave us a warning this time.

        Jonna, I hope most of the plants will recover, the bamboo is the one I am the most worried about. Yes, the handkerchief plant is a musseanda, I love that thing like crazy, hopefully it will be all right. Sorry about yours.

        Next time trundling them all to the corner is my plan. And we have already moved the plastic furniture, we brought up a heavy set we had downstairs, it is much more practical up stairs, just heavy to move! We have been learning as we go.

        Nona, No matter how you got here, thank you for coming and also for commenting. I know what you mean about addictive, I had read many blogs from top to bottom in an inexplicable desire to find out how the story goes. Might have something to do with why I also like reality TV (well, some of it) It is just more compelling when the story is real! I bet you have a story to tell, yourself, right?

    1. I think most of them will be fine, hurricanes strip all the leaves off but as long as they don’t sit in salt they come right back. Is that a musseanda, I think you called it a handkerchief plant? I love those. Mine suddenly died a few weeks ago, I think something ate the roots. Shoot, if it’s not the bugs it’s the storms.

      You are right that hauling them to a protected spot and then hosing everything off right afterward is a good plan for next time. There will be a next time but let’s hope it is many years away. Also, I’d move those plastic chairs inside, in a hurricane they would have gone airborne. Anything that you can lift the wind can lift, best to put it where it won’t come through a window.

    1. Not sure how I ended up reading all your blog entries but it is addictive. Also, not sure how I ended up here.

      Very interesting reading of your move to Mexico and had to comment on your damaged plants. I’ve been through quite a bit of typhoons on Okinawa, but I’ve never seen the likes of what happened to the plants near you. I wonder if coral reefs surrounding the island of Okinawa somehow stop what took place in Mazatlan.

      Thanks for blogging.

    1. Nancy, the bamboo will grow more of the side branches that grow from the nodes but the main stalks won’t get taller. However, this should shock it into putting out new shoots. Give it a lot of water and fertilizer, it is a heavy feeder. I dump compost, coffee grounds, fertilizer, and all the cuttings from the pond on my bamboo along with soaking it whenever it doesn’t rain. What was just stalks in March is now full and there are 4 new stalks that are higher than the chopped off originals. It’s a survivor.

      I may have to get another musseanda, I love it so. I have to figure out what killed the last one though so I can avoid it. I didn’t have it in the sun, I had heard the white ones could take bright light instead. I’m afraid that the roots could have rotted, or there were some kind of burrowing bugs in the dirt.

      1. Jonna, Our yard is COVERED in bamboo leaves, but there is a bit of green coming back. I will start putting coffee grounds on it, I didn’t realize they like it acidic. We use lawn fertilizer every few months. Up till now it had been awesome! You have to check out the post I will put up later tonight with a couple more pictures.

    1. A few days ago I asked you about Vegetarian cookbooks, and many thanks for your response. I’ll try to find a copy since it’s out-of-print. Good cookbooks are hard to find.

      I’m also on a self-imposed blog sabbatical ’til I catch my breath, but I occasionally surf favorite blogs to stay abreast of what’s going on in the world. Your photos of the damage wrought by Rick is pretty sobering, altho good that it wasn’t worse! Only Jim is returning this winter season for Jan. only to volunteer at the animal shelter, which he loves doing. I’m taking a break, but when he returns we’re driving to Santa Fe, NM, for Feb and March to see what winter looks like there.

      How’s Consuelo? Any new photos?

      Stay dry!!


    1. Just wait a month and you are going to see your plants blossom and grow. The burning/bleanch/black its because the salt in the wind and water but right now the weater its youst perect for plants and people thanks to rick now noone needs air conditioner :P.

      PD: Visit my blog to see the upcoming events in mazatla november and dicember comes with a bunch of great cultural events and of course the beissball that we love


    1. I agree. I don’t see any damage from your pictures that won’t repair itself. Good idea about washing off the salt. We do it once a week here.

      1. Leobardo, I am hoping the plants do as you predict! And I love no air conditioning! And I love your blog! What a good resource for all of us in Maz.

        Isla Gringo, We normally don’t even consider the salt since we are inland a bit but I learned something in this climate for sure!

    1. Thanks Nancy and glad your plants are coming back. I love bamboo which reminds me I need to do some pruning too. We love the sound bamboo leaves make – reminds me of home.

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