Propagation of phormium

Discussion in 'Plant Propagation' started by Barry B, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. Barry B

    Barry B Member

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    Location:
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    What is the best way of growing quantities of phormium. I have been advised that growing by seed might not be true to type. Also, exactly how should seed be treated and sown for maximum results? Or is tissue culture propagation the best method to multiply quantities?
     
  2. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Surrey,BC,Canada
    Barry and all--I've done phormium from seed for a couple years now, learned a bit along the way. Seed is only useful if you want green and/or red leaved plants...I buy the "atropurpureum" seed and throw away any green seedlings, as the market here is pretty much just for the reddish ones.

    Named varieties must be propagated by division, a slow and labor intensive process I have done and don't do anymore...lots of demand for all those interesting and sometimes very similar looking varieties being sold. Dividing in late winter just as the plants begin to grow seems best...you can tear them apart pretty brutally as long as you water well until they re-establish.

    Seed germination is best by a long cold stratification...here I can sow the plug trays in late fall and keep them stacked in a cold frame all winter...even 6 months of cold improves the % germination so the earlier they start the better. Germination begins as temps warm up in spring, and the plugs can be moved up as they fill the cells.

    One problem is pythium (or something like it) taking out a lot of the newly transplanted seedlings...at first I was germinating in open flats and pricking them out, this resulted in terrible losses. With 288 plug trays, this is reduced, but I still get some die off at the stage of transplanting into the 6cm. containers...perhaps as much the higher temps as disturbance to roots. Watch they aren't too wet at this point, might help.

    Now to find a home for some more of these seedlings...they are ready to be potted on this time of year!
     
  3. Barry B

    Barry B Member

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    Plant Enthusiast

    Thank you very much for comprehensive reply. My fears bout multiplication of this variety have been confirmed. Would like to talk more bout your seedling availability. And or origin of seed. Think this can be done by PM?
     
  4. grannysmith

    grannysmith Member

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    Barry, I grow several and have emailed you re seeds. I water with condys crystals to prevent die back on new seedlings. nay fungicide will do the same thing. They should not be kept to wet.
     
  5. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Grannysmith--what are condys crystals...I would still like to cut down on the seedling losses, altho sowing direct into plug cells has reduced it greatly.

    I talked to a big plug grower in Auckland area who knew immediately what I was talking about, but he didn't suggest any treatment...not sure if they routinely apply anything or just have better conditions than me (very possible)!
     
  6. grannysmith

    grannysmith Member

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    Condys crystals are potassium permanganate which is a weak antiseptic.I can buy from it from the chemists here. Probably available at your drugstore. It comes in a small bottle and I just use a tiny pinch to make up a weak tea. It is very good for damping off.Works out much cheaper than fongarid or other brands and works just as well. I have phormium purpureum seeds available.
     

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