Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Monday, March 7, 2016

What's sprouting on the propagation bench

Winter to early spring is high time for hardwood cuttings and starting seeds. I've got big plans for the garden this year, and I need a lot of plants. Propagating your own is a great way to save money.

Assorted Ribes sanguineum cuttings started out as leafless sticks two months ago. They started to leaf out last month, though that doesn't mean they're all rooting. I've tugged on a few though, and at least some of them are rooting. These are destined for the woodland margins and more open woods inside the deer fence. Now that the deer are shut out, I can go wild and diversify the flora in the natural areas. Ribes speciosum cuttings are also rooting in this container. Not native locally, but this west coast native will be at home in the dry areas of the garden.

Ribes x gordonianum is a hybrid between Ribes speciosum and Ribes odoratum. I'm really excited for these.

Inside the greenhouse, I've been making room for seedlings. The recent warm days with at least breaks of sun have warmed the greenhouse enough that I can actually water the plants inside, which means I can apply more than a foliar fertilizer to the seedlings. The heat and fertilizer have produced visible results. As you'll see, most of these are from local gardening friends. I'm so lucky to know so many great gardeners.

On the right, a tray full of Bupleurum fruticosum. To save space, I put 3 or 4 seedlings in each pot. These are still a bit floppy, since I took the photo right after potting them up.

Moving left. This summer I found out how easy Parahebe perfoliata is to propagate from cuttings. Later in fall I took cuttings at work, and they rooted even better in the cooler conditions of fall. I decided to try another batch at home around the end of January, and just a couple weeks later, they started rooting, the fastest batch yet. At the bottom of the photo are some odds and ends Arctostaphylos cuttings.

Next over is a mixed tray of Bupleurum spinosum and Glaucium flavum var. aurantiacum, both from seed. The former I got from Amy (who humbly writes The World's Best Gardening Blog) at the fall Portland garden bloggers' plant swap. The latter was purchased from Milton's Garden Menagerie on Etsy, run by Ann of the Amateur Bot-ann-ist. To the left of those is a flat of cutting-grown Santolina chamaecyparissus 'Lemon Queen', from Anna at Flutter & Hum.

Here's a close-up of the tiny Bupleurum spinosum seedlings:

Camassia quamash seeds are just starting to emerge. This photo was taken with my phone. If you can't make out the tiny bits of green starting to poke through the soil, you'll have to take my word for it until they grow a bit more.

Also from the fall plant swap, Alstroemeria isabellana seeds came from Loree of Danger Garden. One sprouted a couple months ago. Now two more are following suit. The first one started out with streaks of variegation, but they seem to be disappearing as it grows.

Also from Loree, Bocconia frutescens. I had three grevillea seeds germinate, too. I lost two to damping off, and the third looks to be succumbing as well. Oh, and behind the Bocconia is one Eschscholzia californica 'Mikado'. Is that sad or what? I got one California poppy seed to germinate. The damping off was pretty bad for awhile. But I ordered more seed (lots more) that I'll direct sow when it arrives. To the left is a pot containing a tuber of Smallanthus sonchifolius, the Andean tuber crop yacon, which I picked up from Raintree Nursery at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

From my own stock, Cryptanthus 'Opal' pups are rooting. My main plant went into a pupping frenzy after I removed the initial three. This cryptanthus has handled the cool, humid greenhouse conditions better than most of the other kinds I have. Hopefully these will be ready for the spring swap.

I also discovered a greenhouse guardian yesterday. I don't know how this little frog got in, but I'm happy if it's happy.

And that's it for propagation right now. I need to dig through the seeds I've got stored in the fridge and figure out what else to sow.

16 comments:

  1. Very cool to see what's sprouting for you and I love the little frog. How cool is that?
    Funny: I bought the same Glaucium seeds from Milton's this year. I didn't actually know that they were from Amateur Bot-Ann-ist. Thanks for the link.
    I saw a photo of the Glaucium with seed pods on a Plant Lust blog post and immediately searched for seeds. I had heard of horned poppies and had seen photos of the plants and flowers, but never the seed pods. Now I know why they are horned poppies. At first I thought that Patricia had a cool sculpture in her garden.
    My plants are a bit further along than yours. I got great germination and those glaucous, hairy, ruffled leaves are to die for! Looking forward to seeing how they do in the garden this year. Cheers!

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    1. Yeah, my greenhouse was so cool for awhile that they just sat there, so they are very far behind what they should be now. Greenhouses don't accumulate much heat when there's no sun. Now that the weather is warming and we're at least getting breaks in the clouds, I can finally water and fertilize to push these little seedlings along. I'm very excited for all of these. The foliage is fantastic and I love the orange flowers.

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  2. I don't care how many times it happens, I am always thrilled to see the green of tiny new seedlings coming up! Good to know how easy Parahebe is; I'll have to try some cuttings.

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    1. Me too! That's why I post ridiculous pictures of near-invisible seedlings barely breaking the soil surface. Parahebe is super easy from firm stem cuttings. This last batch was from stems that grew last summer.

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  3. I've never had good luck sowing California poppy in pots, much better just scattering them outside where I want them. I'm trying to decide if I want to start seeds this year. I'm already so far behind, I don't know if I want the extra work of planting them out in the garden. But it is so exciting when they germinate! I am always wanting more of that Parahebe, good to know it roots so well.

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    1. Yeah, I scattered most of the first round outside, but I haven't seen any come up. Maybe they just haven't emerged yet. Either way I would have needed more, so the second order would have been made anyway.

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  4. What bounty! Your garden is going to be even more glorious this year. The handsome little frog is a wonderful addition to the greenhouse too.

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    1. You're so sweet to imply that my garden was glorious before. Thanks!

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  5. You have the touch. I tried a few of the same seeds from the same sources but they are no-shows, at least so far.

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  6. Oh that little frog!!! I am jealous. Oh and the Cryptanthus 'Opal' - only slightly less fabulous than the frog.

    I am thrilled you had success (even if limited) with both Alstroemeria isabellana (although the leaves do look off?) and Bocconia frutescens, sorry about the Grevillea.

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    1. Pretty sure this is the first time I've seen a tree frog at this house. Only been living here since I was in third grade.

      Proteaceous plants are tricky. I was surprised I got any germination at all.

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  7. Nothing as exciting is starting your own new plants. This is especially useful when you have a large garden to fill, and planting in mass is not only possible but preferred. I always liked Parahebe perfoliata but they usually quite beat up after winter. Do you cut them down and let them regrow? Is Alstroemeria isabellana a thug? Some of it's family members are hard to contain.

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    1. This is my first winter growing Parahebe perfoliata, and it's been so mild that they started growing in January. I'll have to find out how they handle a "normal" winter when we get one. I don't think that Alstroemeria is a thug. I believe it grows in a clump. Loree would be better able to answer that.

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  8. Is writing about propagation called propaganda? I'm impressed!

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