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Keeping busy in lockdown


Since March I’ve had a lot of time to fill so I’ve been doing some trials as to what was good for growing clematis cuttings. earlier this year I took cuttings and tried with Oasis foam (for flower arranging etc), normal multi purpose compost as it was all I had and couldn’t get out for seed and cutting compost, perlite and vermiculite. The results were interesting, to me anyway, as I believe something will grow when it’s ready or conditions are right for it. I include seeds with this.
After a few weeks three clematis had small roots in the oasis, nothing in the compost, vermiculite or perlite. I waited but the leaves and stems died apart from in the perlite where they’ve stayed green all the time.

Last week I checked them out and hey presto! They took their time but it happened in the end.

These are from the small cup and the next from the pot with half water bottle on top. It’s all recycling!

I jiggled them back into the perlite to grow a bit more root but I think perlite is the way forward for me for cuttings. I tried it last year with variegated jasmine and they took too and I tried for a couple of years in compost and got nowhere.

I’ve also grown Fuchsias from seed this year. Never managed that before either.

Above- Fuchsia Boliviana, below- seeds from xbacillaris and Isis Lemoine.

I know it sounds silly but I get really excited when these sprouted.
At the end of July I removed all the seed pods from my Clianthus but a week later decided I’d give them a try as well. I’ve grown from seed before and had to be patient but not this time. Within four days I had lots of small leaves poking through. I did think it might be a fluke so last week I repeated but on a smaller scale.
First put the seeds in a small desert pot with damp kitchen towel and leave overnight.

Next morning they had swelled up.

Place on top of compost and cover with vermiculite and put on kitchen windowsill.

Covered with the half bottle again!

This time it took six days but here they come.

The ones below are when the first ones germinated in July. I also learned that Clianthus seed is “colour coded”. Black seed for red flowers, white seed for white flowers and brown seed for pink. The only problem I had was that I had five seeds which were half brown and half white, reminded me of a kinder egg if you know what I mean. I had tried crossing the red with white but it was tricky as the white flowered a few weeks after the red.

Anyway they were planted as black, white and mixed. It will take a couple of years but I’ll be interested to see how they turn out.
I hope I haven’t bored you too much. You learn something new every day. Stay safe.

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not boring at all Thorney. some plants prefer the seed to be fresh to germinate whilst others can be viable for years after being dispersed.

Love to see your successes.

14 Sep, 2020


I was interested in your findings. I've put nearly all my cuttings in perlite this year and had good rooting: lily seeds, fuchsias, physocarpus, osteos plus all the usual suspects. I shall have to try clematis next year after looking at yours. I don't have any luck with those.

14 Sep, 2020


How interesting, I've never tried Clematis cuttings. I'm glad some of the rooted for you.
I have been meaning to get some Vermiculite, I'll have to get some for the spring.

It was also interesting to read about the different coloured seeds giving different colour flowers. It must be something hereditary.

14 Sep, 2020


Thank you for doing the research and telling us about your findings, seems vermiculite or perlite is the best medium.
I like the idea of colour coded seeds.

14 Sep, 2020


Great work, Thorneyside! It’s such a nice feeling to achieve this isn’t it! I hope we shall see your cuttings blooming next year. I also recall Monty’s advice re. Perlite.

14 Sep, 2020


I remember when Monty visited Jimi Blake at Huntingbrook Gardens in Ireland. Jimi grows all his cuttings in sand as he says the lack of nutrients makes the new roots grow stronger as they look for food

14 Sep, 2020


Not boring at all Thorney, I'm useless at cuttings, it really frustrates me, I'll have to try again with your methods.
Thankyou for a very imformative blog ..Adding to favs ..

14 Sep, 2020


Next, you need to get the Fuchsia boliviana Alba to go with the red ones. I have a couple that hopefully will flower next year.

15 Sep, 2020


Sounds like a rewarding project. You can start a business!

15 Sep, 2020


Thank you all for your kind comments. Even at 70+ I get excited when something grows, seeds or cuttings. My grandaughter keeps telling me when something breaks off to throw it away but I still find it hard to do that.

16 Sep, 2020


I found it so interesting,Thorneyside,and I would have been excited too,and age is immaterial,it's just a number :o) I shall be trying mine in Perlite next year.Thank you for an informative blog ,and I too am adding to Faves ..

18 Sep, 2020


What a wonderful blog, Thorneyside. I am always
interested in information on seedlings. Very informative

19 Sep, 2020


Thanks again everyone for your comments.
Hywel, I used to buy giant bags of perlite and vermiculite and split with my friend but now the 10litres from Wilko do the job for me.
Thanks for the tip Andrew, I have to stay home for a while so sand it is! I always put plenty in with rose cuttings but I've never tried it on its own.
Wylie, I have a Boliviana plant with pink flowers and hopefully the seeds of the red which are growing. Couldn't get Alba at the time but there's always next year. Patience is a virtue!
Bathgate, if I was forty years younger I might think about it but too much to do now.

22 Sep, 2020

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