Young Joshua

Day 1 | Day 5 | Day 15 | Day 21

label for Joshua tree kit

When he was here in November, my friend Dave from Vancouver made a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Ever the good guest, he came back with a small kit to grow one's own Joshua tree, which he gave to me to express his gratitude for the fine hospitality he had received Chez Paul.

I couldn't help but observe that although the kit included about 10 seeds (one presumes they are seeds — they looked more like circles punched from somewhat hairy dark green felt), the pot provided for the "giant Joshua tree" measures just 1.5in (3.8cm) in diameter at its widest point. Something tells me I should not set my expectations very high.


pot containing planted Joshua tree seeds Day 1 (08-Jan-03)   Given my sorry track record with house plants, it is with some trepidation that I even start this project. Nevertheless, I have.

According to the instructions, "the young Joshua Tree should begin to appear on the surface in 10 to 21 days from planting," and it will look like a blade of grass. I am re-assured that my Joshua "can reach four to six feet in ten years."

We'll see!


sprout emerging from soil Day 5 (12-Jan-03) Is that a sprout I see peeking from the soil? (Click picture to enlarge)

If it is a Joshua Tree sprout, it is certainly a precocious Joshua Tree — according to the instructions they weren't supposed to sprout until 10 to 21 days from planting. This is only the 5th day.

You don't supposed somebody slipped a Jack-and-the-beanstalk seed into the packet, do you?


sprout becomes erect and grows a branch Day 15 (22-Jan-03) The first Joshua Tree sprout has undergone significant changes in the past two days, this after nearly 10 days of no apparent change.
  • First, the stem has thickened and become strong enough to lift the seed casing free from the soil
  • Second, the stem has developed a small branch

This morning I took young Joshua out onto the patio to bask in the warm sun. My neighbor Wanda happened along and was curious about this tiny plant: "What's that supposed to be?" she demanded. When I explained that it was a young Joshua Tree, Wanda replied, "Well, I think it has a long way to go; I hope you live long enough." I like Wanda — she gets directly to the point.

I am rather proud of the young sprout's progress. Perhaps I should start carrying a picture in my wallet!

So far, there is no sign of activity on the part the other seeds. If it turns out to be just this one, that makes pretty poor odds of survival.


joshua tree 21 days after sprouting Day 21 (28-Jan-03) Young Joshua is growing like a weed, or, more aptly, like a blade of grass. What began as a small nub on the side of the main sprout one week ago has shot up to become pre-eminent.

As promised by the instructions, it does look remarkably like a blade of grass, except for the seed coat which is still attached to the original shoot.

There is still no sign of any growth from the other seeds, and it is at the end of the "10 to 21 days from sprouting" period.