Midland Diary Discussion: 07 August 2010
Started by: Diane Clement
Midland Diary No 31 - August jobsGo to latest contribution by Margaret Young, 11 August 2010, 01:38. Go to bottom of this page.
My new diary entry can be read by clicking here:
Please add any comments in the discussion thread here
Re-potting is on-going here Diane but being delayed by showery (and cold today) weather. I haven't room to work in the greenhouse and being banned from the kitchen I have to do it outside.
A question from Cyclamen novice. I note that you pot yours at the top of the pot and cover with grit. Chris Grey-Wilson seems to recommend, for most species, burying the tuber about half way down the pot and topping with grit. Have you tried both ways and found that surface potting suits your growing conditions best?
Hi David, it's cold here as well, but I can work happily in the greenhouse!
In the garden and in the wild, the cyclamen tuber will find the depth it is happy with. This will depend on the climate (many cyclamen grown in warm climates, although in shady situations). In my garden (soggy at the best of times) cyclamen tubers tend to pull themselves to the surface. This also happens in pots, the plant indicating itself where it wants to be. I think in general that most species prefer the tuber to be on the dryish side but constant access to moisture at the roots.
The species I do tend to put a bit deeper are Cc purpurascens, colchicum and repandum - I cover the tuber with a layer of leafmould.
Thanks again Diane for a great report. It is particularly useful for me as I survey my current successes a germinating cyclamen seed. (I have to say that for the inexperienced, planting seed "deep" in a pot and then putting it in the dark is really counter intuitive, but the excitement of seeing all those little pint stems the first time is terrific.
I have learned
1.to plant my seeds in smaller pots for greater and quicker germination rates.
2.To be content with my cyclamen seedlings until about January.
Can I ask a stupid question? why do you cover everything with grit? When I do this I can no longer tell whether my potting mix is damp enough?
Hi John and thanks for your contribution. I cover everything with grit for several reasons:
- it helps keep the compost from drying out too fast
- it helps to stop liverwort and moss from taking over
- if weed seeds germinate, it is easy to pull them out
The first reason is the most important, and certainly essential for germination of most seeds, otherwise the top layer of compost and the seeds themselves will dry out too fast.
You ask how you can tell whether the potting mix is damp enough? It's down to experience - lift the pot and judge the weight is the commonest method. Or, if your pots are standing on sand, lift the pot and if the sand is damp then the pot doesn't need water.
By the way, there's no such thing as a stupid question - we all do certain things without thinking and it's good to have methods challenged - it makes us think again about why we do things. Good luck with your cyclamen growing.
Thanks Diane for the explanation. I have been using "coarse bedding sand" as an alternative to "grit" and I notice from photos from other southern hemisphere contributors a similar sort of product in use.
It occurs to me that this is a thinking person's activity growing Alpines. I hadn't made the link between the frustrating length of time it takes for alpine seeds to germinate and the "grit" use. I am just too used to waiting just 14 days for carrot seedlings!!
John, you have obviously got yourself on the right track... yes, patience can be needed for some ofthese alpines to even germinate, let alone flower.... so you occupy yourself in the meantime by enjoying more speedy things like carrots! Helps keep your strength up, too!