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PAL Questions: 2 - Garden Tools: 1
Can you give me specific directions on how to germinate Brugmansia seed and care for the seedlings. Also, at what age or size do these plants flower?
The following information is quoted from the book Brugmansia and Datura: Angels' Trumpets and Thorn Apples (by Ulrike and Hans-Geog Preissel, 2002, p. 74):
The fresh seed should be sown as early as possible, at temperatures between 64--79 F. Cover the seed with approximately 1/5 (.20) inch of humus, which must be kept wet.
The seed is relatively large and is pressed lightly into the hummus to ensure contact with the moist planting mix. Initially cover the seed box with a glass plate to provide optimal humidity. At temperatures around 68 F, the various species of Brugmansia germinate very differently. As a rule, germination takes between 10 and 20 days. The young seedlings can then be planted out directly into small containers.Young plants that are grown from seed go through an immature phase, easily recognized by the change in leaf shape. The plants do not reach flowering maturity until the end of this immature phase. The length of time before the first flowering varies with the species. On average, most Brugmansia flower for the first time when the plant is between 2.5--5 feet in size. If they are well cultivated, then they will usually reach this size in six to nine months.
Plants grown from seed can look very different. They differ not only in leaf shape and size, flower shape, color and size, but also in other traits, such as susceptibility to diseases or willingness to flower. The possibilities are almost endless and many interesting and valuable discoveries are undoubtedly waiting to be made....
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We had a lovely Embothrium coccineum for about 15 years. Last year we had our Chilean Fire Bush removed and the stump ground after the wind blew over the tree. That was a great loss because we loved the tree. Now I have six new starts of Chilean Fire Bush ranging in size from one to three feet, which I assume are growing off a live root. I'd like to transplant them to more appropriate places in my yard, but the buyer at a local nursery advised against moving them. What can you advise me about transplanting? Is fall even the right time of year to move them? How deep can I expect the roots to go?
The people at the nursery may be thinking of Embothrium's reputation for resenting transplanting. According to Graham Stuart Thomas's book, Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers, and Bamboos (Timber Press, 1992), Embothrium coccineum seldom thrives when transplanted. However, I think he is talking about the difficulty of transplanting a mature tree, not a small seedling. Simon Toomer's Trees for the Small Garden (Timber Press, 2005) confirms this: "It has a reputation for being difficult to transplant when large and so container-grown plants of moderate size should be used."
Local gardening expert Ciscoe Morris has said of Embothrium: "Only buy it if it's a small seedling. They hate pots and if they are pot-bound for very long, won't survive transplanting. Plant Embothrium in a sunny location in acid very well-drained soil. Never fertilize these trees as phosphorus is known to kill them."
Since you have several starts, why not try transplanting at least one or two of them to an ideal spot in your garden. Try to get as much root system as you can when digging them up, and if more than one start comes up, don't try to cut them apart if it means you will lose any roots. Now is probably a good time to attempt this, and there is not too much risk in trying.
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Garden Tool: Starting plants from seed is a fine way to save money, but it requires a bit of patience and commitment to see the seeds through germination to planting out weeks or months later. The book Gardener's A-Z Guide To Growing Flowers From Seed To Bloom by Eileen Powell (Storey, 2004) will arm you with the knowledge you need to successfully transform tiny seeds into healthy flowering plants. Entries for individual plants detail planting depth, recommended temperature and the best time to transplant outside.
Season: All Season
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January 13 2017 10:35:53