Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pink Eye Sabbatical 3-Seeds

I mentioned in my Scavenger's Garden post that most of the plants I've collected are succulents like agaves and aloes. One reason that I have so many is that I get a lot of them for free. The reason that I get them for free is that they are so easy to propagate. Many succulents will root if a piece breaks off and falls to the ground. Others form large clumps of offsets that can be harvested. Still others form bulbils when they bloom that can also be used to propagate a new plant.

But there is a whole host of other plants that I would like to learn about and grow, but because they cost money I have been slow to collect them.

I decided to start at the beginning and bought seeds of a few native plants at T. Payne. I got a couple different kinds of Ceanothus, arboreus and leucodermis. They both require a stratification period, which I had never heard of but it turns out it is a period of time spent in the cold after a wet spell. That sounds a lot like our winters so it makes sense that native plants would need those conditions to germinate.

I read online that one way to speed up the process is to pour boiling water on the seed to crack their hard coating. This allows the plant inside to break out and start growing.

I decided to try that with a few seeds and plant them directly in a starter mix but the rest went in baggies to rest in the fridge for a couple months. If my experimental seeds don't germinate maybe the ones in the fridge will have more luck.

Ceanothus arboeus grows quickly and once established can become quite tree-like. Mature plants should require no supplement water and can fail if they get watered during the Summer. This is good news for me since I rarely water anything but my potted plants and new fruit trees.

Ceanothus leucodermis should stay smaller but still put on a good show of deep blue flowers in the Spring. I also love the shiny dark green leaves on these, which should look nice even in Summer.

Hopefully a few of mine will sprout and will be ready to go in the ground next Fall in time for the rainy season.

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