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Thread: propagating perinnials

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 8 Northern Florida
    Posts
    55

    propagating perinnials

    I have read your title on propagation of perinnials and am comfortable with the process. I am confused as to when to propagate them in the greenhouse as they do die back in the winter outside. If i do it in the fall, wouldn't they be to leggy for springtime sales? As this is the best time for sales. I'm obviuosly just starting and can't get the jest to all the ins and outs of it.

    Thanks,

    Judi
    Judi K.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
    Posts
    9,934

    Thumbs up Excellent Question

    Judi,

    Fortunately, in zone 8, you will not have quite as much of a problem as some of the more colder regions have. To handle this problem, I use flourescent workshop lights. I often grow seedlings in my greenhouse which are even more challenging than cuttings with the fewer hours of sun light in the winter. Seedlings tend to get leggy very quickly.

    I have the flourescent workshop lights hanging on light weight chains which I can raise or lower as needed. Grow lights will work better, but can be expensive.

    The commercial nurseries use something known as growth retardants to keep the plants from getting to leggy. An example of a growth retardant is B-nine SP. I have never used this, but have read about it.

    In addition, you may want to pinch back the growth periodically to encourage bushiness instead of long stemmed growth. Put the shade tolerant plants on the lower level where they will receive less sun, and the plants requiring sun on the upper shelf.

    A lot is dependent on what you are growing and the light and heat requirements. The heat requirement is probably going to be your biggest challenge. If the temperatures get too low, your perennials will tend to go dormant.

    Another suggestion is to take advantage of the zone 8 climate and let them develop as good a root structure as you can before the temperatures start to take extreme dips with the cold fronts.

    And don't forget to keep the soil moist. Lights and heaters will tend to dry out your plants quicker. Also, the humidity will be lower during cold periods.

    Should your plants go dormant, water less frequently to discourage root rot.

    Some perennials will benefit from a dormancy period, so it is best to learn as much as you can about the particular perennial that you are propagating. For example, 'tender' perennials many times will not need nor survive dormancy. Others will tend to bloom faster if given a period of dormancy.

    Most important of all, start your cuttings well in advance of freezing weather so they will have a good root structure before the temperatures start dipping.

    Perhaps some of our other greenhouse/winter growers can add more...
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Ky zone 6
    Posts
    66

    ropagating perennials

    Judi
    I assume that you don't have a green house, so this may not help you, I am in zone 6 and the winters get really cold sometimes and in the 60's when we least expect it. They say this area has less sun in the winter than anywhere in the states. I take cuttings in nov. or just before the first ice or snow storm. I usually just do the things that stay green all winter like Rosemary , Thymes, etc. I use one inch cuttings and root on heat. As soon as they are rooted I put them in one or two inch pots and tip them, they fill the pot with roots and slow down in growing, In about feb I start potting in 4 inch pots and fertilize and tip again. At that point they start growing, I pinch out the tops often so by May they are nice full plants. I try to keep the green house as cool as I can open the doors in the day and heat only to 50 at night. For things that usually go dormat I try to keep a small plant growing in a pot and take cuttings in Jan. The cuttings do just fine without going dormat. Hope this helps.

    Pat
    Log Cabin Pat

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
    Posts
    9,934

    Thanks, Pat!

    For those of you that do not know, Pat is extremely experienced and knowledgeable in this area.

    Also, I visited our local nursery supply center, and unfortunately, the price of B-nine is about $80/qt. and it takes two scoops/gallon, or maybe it was two scoops for two gallons. I should have written it down, but was so taken back by the price that I did't.

    So, unless I need it really bad, I think I will follow Pat's methods.

    What do you think?
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Zone 8 Northern Florida
    Posts
    55
    Thanks Pat. Good advice, as I am interested in the herbs as well.
    Judi
    Judi K.

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