Plants – The Big Coleus Transplant – Hooray!

I’ve been growing this year’s coleus crop in recycled chicken rotisserie containers since mid-winter. They have grown well, and it’s time to transplant them. Before I begin I gently move the larger plants aside; the coleus are already showing different colors, sizes, and leaf shapes. Years ago, and I have no idea where the advice came from, I read that often the best coleus are the last ones to sprout and grow large. I have found this to have a modicum of truth, beneath the larger coleus sprouts are often the best plants.

I transplant into small cups with a drainage hole cut into the bottom. A light potting soil is best, I add a bit of vermiculite to lighten it further, but it’s not necessary if the soil drains well.

The best method to remove the seedling from the surrounding sprouts is to use a fork. The fork lifts without cutting through the roots.

At this time I closely examine each plantlet and take note of those that have the most potential. I was impressed by this small sprout. Although it it is tiny it is loaded with color and sass. I like the spots and it reminds me a bit of a leopard.

Here’s my first tray of seedlings potted up and ready to grow on for a few weeks. Coleus cannot tolerate cold temperatures. I will grow them on in the trays until after the full moon on May 7th. At that time they can be placed in their permanent pots outside.

I love coleus. They can be sown and planted at any time throughout the year. They make an amazing houseplant. I’ve included a photograph of a coleus I’ve grown into a topiary.

Plants – Updates/A Bit of This and That

Several of my past projects are thriving, or at least still growing.  The Meyer Lemon Seed sprouts are deep green and perky in appearance, but growing very slowly.

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Growing a Meyer Lemon Tree from Seed

One of my Carambola seeds finally sprouted after many weeks sown in potting soil. I was about to give up on this planting attempt, but saw green just in time.

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How to Sprout a Carambola Seed

In a day or two after sprouting the seed fell away and tiny fronds emerged.

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My Coleus seeds, sown in January, are showing many colors, but in sync with the carambola and lemon sprouts, growing slowly. This week I will take the seedlings outside to the screened in porch and let them begin the hardening off process. If there is a forecasted frost I will keep them in the garage overnight. Coleus are extremely susceptible to cold temperatures.
How to Grow Small Seeds/Coleus

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Are my Morning Glories blue or pink? The stray pink Morning Glory was a fluke, most of the flowers are blue. Unfortunately, in their quest to face the sun, the plants and flowers grew toward the window. I decided they would create a better display outdoors.

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I had to be ruthless and cut the vines and flowers off at the top of the pot, leaving many inches of vine to wither on the venetian blinds. The Morning Glory plants will be better for the harsh pruning. Each cut vine will branch out in many directions.

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This weekend I gridded and planted a few squares in my Square Foot Gardens. I forgot to take a picture afterwards, so the only image I have is from this morning, taken from my upstairs window in pouring rain.

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Happy Gardening my friends!

Plantings – Manic Monday Update

This post is definitely a bit later than most. I have a good excuse. I live in New Jersey and already the snowflakes are falling, only the beginning of what they are saying could be a record-breaking snowfall. Hopefully, we will get only about a foot of the white stuff. Are you gasping in disbelief? Only a foot! Am I crazy? No, I’m just glad I don’t live further north where they are forecasting near thirty inches will fall before the blizzard is over. When you compare twelve inches to thirty, twelve certainly seems better!

I was one of those crazy people who drove to the Supermarket at 8:00 this morning. I have a gallon of milk, I have bread in the freezer, but wouldn’t you know it, I needed cat food and the orange juice bottle was empty. I ventured out. In the rush of the crowds, comparable to the eve of a major holiday, wouldn’t you know it, I forgot eggs. Grrrrr….

Anyway, it’s a good day for a quick update on my recent plantings. All are doing exceptionally well. The Heavenly Blue Morning Glories sprouted in less than a week. Hooray! If you look closely at the picture you can see I have a “sport.” One sprout a little different than the others. I will definitely keep this one growing. Who knows? It might turn out to the best morning glory ever grown. I can hope!

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Some of the coleus seeds have sprouted too. They grow slowly. It will be weeks before there is a hint of color in the leaves.

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The Meyer Lemon Sprouts are still erupting from the soil. As of now, I have eleven sprouts, but there are a least two more seeds ready to burst into leaf. O Happy Day!

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Pleasures & Plants – Volunteers 2014

In blog posts of past years you will find me praising the season’s “volunteer” plants. Volunteer plants are those whose seeds have slumbered in the earth through the winter. These seeds spring to life when the temperatures become warm. Volunteer plants are one of the top reasons I don’t mulch my flower beds. Besides being filled with unwanted chemicals and dyes, a heavy layer of mulch smothers any hope of volunteer sprouts seeing the sun.

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When I spotted the pink trumpet of this petunia growing in the crack of my front sidewalk I was astounded. How had the small plantlet survived the tromping feet of my grandchildren, the mailman, myself and my husband, and other visitors who come to my front door? I knew I had to try and save the petunia. It was definitely living on “borrowed time.” Sooner or later the sole of a shoe would smash it’s tender blossoms and leaves into the unyielding surface of the concrete.

I knew that pulling the petunia from the scant dirt between the sidewalk blocks would be doom. The roots that it had so steadfastly sent into the soil would be torn away and the plant would wilt and die within an hour. What was the solution? Perhaps I could loosen it a bit with a plastic knife, and then gently tug until I could pull it away from the confines of the concrete.

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Happily, for both of us, the knife worked. The plant loosened its grip, I tugged, it left its first home. The small petunia is now planted in a bare spot in my front garden. After the passing of several days, it is still alive and thriving in the hot summer sun of June.

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I have dozens of volunteer plants springing up in my gardens. At times I let them grow where they have begun, but often I dig the sprouts up and move them to bare spots. Happy Gardening!

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Check out this terrific article on the Mother Earth News Website: Volunteer Plants: A Garden Bonus