As the propagator at Crûg farm plants I use all methods of propagation, because the plants aren’t typical nursery stock that have had decades of use in the UK gardens where you know exactly which to collect seed, which to take soft tip cuttings and which for division.
These are originally wild collected plants ranging from trees to herbaceous rhizomes that all have their own climatic preferences. And many of them I hadn’t grown before, some I’d not even heard of and so I’ve learnt from my bosses direction, research, experimentation and failures.
I’ve learnt to not treat all plants the same despite how much that would make life easier and to listen to the hints of growing conditions when Bleddyn tells me of a collecting story; it took me a while to put 2 and 2 together when he mentioned a plant was from 2000m that he was telling me how to care for this plant.
What I’m proudest though of my learning here at Crûg farm is to control the growth of the stock; some seed you only get once, they collected it somewhere really far away that they won’t be visited again any time soon and it may take 10 years to flower from seed so instead of growing every single seedling up at the same size, taking up space and water then selling them before you get seed from it again, you push some on and hold some back.
Sow the seed fresh, as soon as it is ripe and falls off the plant easily sow it and leave outside for it to go through the natural temperature fluxes it should. This isn’t for all plants obviously, some need to stay warm for germination and it’s also not always the quickest, sometimes if the winter isn’t cold enough you may have to wait the next year but doing this means it germinates when it’s meant to.
When you prick out the seedlings there’ll probably be more coming up after so keep the tubs/trays/pots for as long as you’ve got space. Prick them out in order of size as some will naturally be faster growing than others, this will make watering them more straightforward and later controlling easier.
We’ve got a growing room that stays a constant 20 degrees with lights, it’s not very big so space is at a premium and so lots of shuffling of pots and trays ensues but this is a massive head start on the growing season as ours in north wales is quite short. Here you can prick the larger seedlings into 6cm with a good dosing of water being applied more and more as they grow as you know there will always be the heat to keep the balance of growth, then once they grow through that you can pot them into 9cm and eventually 1L if you like before you even take them out the room around early March to wean them into natural light.
The seedlings you didn’t pot on so early as they weren’t as big can be graded again to pot on the mid sized ones so they are a bit behind the big ones, whilst leaving you with pricked out seedlings, and also germinated seedlings that can stay in their pot which occasional seaweed feeding through the growing season.
Schefflera macrophylla pricked out last winter and pushed on.
The seedlings that were abit slower than the big ones.
Seedlings pricked out this winter.
The original seed tubs that were sown on 18/02/19
And then on the other side of that there is keeping a plant small, keeping it in a 9cm, with colder conditions and no feed until you want to use it but that does come with having space to keep it and sometimes constant watering and potential losses when it’s hot.
I think this method of growing is great for times when you don’t always know you will get propagation material yearly to grow from.
Smaller Oreopanax hypargyreus
Larger Oreopanax hypargyreus that i’m not actually sure how long these have been like this but you can tell a long time by the moss growing, which is actually a good way to keep moisture.