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How to grow "nursery rejects" that are sometimes free!


Plant nursery’s “rejects” can often be a cheap source of bulk annuals for any garden or “mass plantings”. I often seek out the worst of the worst in a nursery’s collection and make an offer FAR below the original price. Almost always the owners would much rather take a substantial loss than simply throwing plants away..

Here is an example of a few that I rescued today. I needed lots of Pansies for the rest of the cold season and purchased these decrepit little guys for 5 bucks:

These were mass grown flats of 24 that had very few blooms and were severely root bound in their tiny 1×1×2 growers.
Here is how you bring these type gems back to life without ANY transplant “shock” at all.

All of us have seen this when we pull a small annual out of it’s container:

See all of the circling white roots? That is cutting off the “nutrient intake capacity capability” of the plant and will kill it in the long run, if left this way.
The solution is to “calmshell” the root system and literally tear it in half like this to free up the roots and provide more surface area for nutrient intake:

Yes, I know the process looks brutal, but the next few planting steps will show you how this works so well!

The key to transplanting ANY plant is WELL hydrated roots BEFORE it goes into the ground! The old thought of placing a dry root ball into soil and thinking that you can water the area enough to hydrate the roots is TOTALLY FALSE. The transplant needs to have totally saturated and hydrated roots BEFORE it is placed into it’s final home.

Here is the organic magic that makes this happen: We begin by mixing a solution of compost tea, liquid sea-weed, and fish emulsion in a pail or other handy container:

When we first dip the plant’s roots into the solution, do not be surprised if you hear some bubbling. That is the trapped air in the roots being displaged by the solution.Squeezing the roots gently will help release air pockets and bring in more hydration. If some dirt falls off, that is good because most of the potting dirt contains chemical fertilizers anyway.
Our little planting will now look like this after about one minute:

With the planting totally saturated, place it into the soil, fill in dirt around it an then drench the area with the solution from the soaking container:

Water once every two days for about a week, then once a week and the little guys will take off and thrive like crazy without the use of any chemicals!


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thanks for that now i know what to do

27 Jan, 2010


I have always soaked plants before planting as i thoght that was correct. dont know who told me but it must have been a long time ago.

27 Jan, 2010


Yes me too, in the summertime I dunk my hanging baskets into the waterbutts as well until they stop bubbling, especially if we have a prolonged dry spell. Think that`s wishful thinking.........
Your recipe sounds interesting n2org.......

28 Jan, 2010


Sbg...often find them so at Reighton ! They do love being released !!!

28 Jan, 2010


Seaburngirl, you are doing GOOD! Keep that up! You are giving them the best shot of being planted without "transplant shock"! Even if you do not "clamshell" new plantings, pre-soaking them before planting them, gives the little guys a much better chance of surviving the transplanting transition without signs of "transplant shock". ^5 :-)

29 Jan, 2010


been doing it for 40+ yrs N2. and yes bb reighton is beckoning soon!

29 Jan, 2010


Lost count of the amount of "rescues " from there ! They are so relieved to get out of those totally pot bound containers !Lol

30 Jan, 2010


last yr bought 4 lupins at 50p each in 3" pots. there were 2 seedlings per pot and they were very pot bound although they had only been in the pots for 2 weeks. they were so pleased to be set free.

30 Jan, 2010


I can almost hear the sigh of relief ! Lol. Can you imagine the state of some of them after this big freeze ?

30 Jan, 2010


Way to go GOY users! You-all seem to have a very good grasp of "root hydration" before planting and that warms my heart knowing that struggling little plants stand a good chance of surviving in the hands of all of you!
The feedback to this posting just MAKES MY DAY knowing that some of the poor neglected plants out there stand a really good chance at life!

31 Jan, 2010

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