Tuesday, March 9, 2010
It's starting to look a little like spring and you know that spring is when a young gardeners fancy turns to...
What? Planting, weeding and spreading compost? Well, yes but that's not what I meant.
What? Pruning shrubs? Well, yes but again not what I meant.
What? Having outdoor flowers to post for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day? Ok. I tell you what I'll just TELL you what I meant. I meant PROPAGATION.
It's time to start seeds indoors that will be transplanted into the yard later when spring really arrives. I've got a plant stand with fluorescent lights that I use for this. Every year I start seeds and, sadly, don't have a lot of success. So I'm trying things differently this year. I'm starting fewer seeds, I'm using coconut fiber "pots" and I'm hoping to be able to pay closer attention to each individual seedling.
Amazingly the seeds I planted last weekend have already started to sprout. You can see the seed leaves here.
The seed leaves are the first two leaves to emerge (or one leaf in the case of grasses). They don't look anything like the permanent leaves. The picture above shows Marigolds. See what I mean? Anyway the instructions talk about what to do when the seedlings get their first pair of leaves. These are not those leaves. I have to wait until they get leaves that look like those on a mature plant. Then I'll need to shower them with love and affection.
What am I starting? I'm starting a few perennials (Baptisia australis and Mystery Plant from a gardener I happened to admire the garden of. I'm not even sure it will survive here since that garden was in another zone) but mostly annuals. I have a couple of areas that I dedicate to growing annuals. Like the area beside the driveway where the snow plows sometimes tear up the ground during the winter. I don't want to put anything permanent THERE. So I've got two varieties of marigold (Cottage Red and Jaguar), some Zinnias, some Gomphrena (Fireworks), Tethonia (if you haven't grown this annual and you like butterflies you should get some! They get big but they have a long bloom time and they are very attractive to butterflies) and a plant I heard the name of and just had to try - Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate. What a name! With a name like that how can I resist trying it? It gets big so I'm not quite sure where I'll plant it... I have plenty of time to worry about that! It's not really spring yet.
Spring is also the season I start to propagate some houseplants. This is a group of cuttings from a Pepperomia that generally outgrows it's pot every couple of years. I could also divide the parent plant but this works well.
Here is a bit of my Golden leaved Philodendron that I broke off during watering.
You can see the roots growing out of the node.
What's a node? you ask. I'm in full lecture mode today so let me tell you. The node is the "joint" on the plant where leaves come out of the stem. This is also where the plant will start rooting from. If your plant has nodes be sure to get those into the water or below the soil surface when you're trying to propagate it.
African violets don't have obvious nodes but if you lay the leaf on some damp soil it will produce offspring. This pot is full of offspring. They need to be pulled apart and potted up separately.
Help. The violets are going to take over the house! I'm becoming a Crazy Violet Lady. Maybe I can give some to friends. Anyone? Anyone? Hello?