Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Everything's coming up roses.

I've been looking at the rose bushes wondering what it is that is bothering me about them. They're bearing blooms, they're being supported by sticks but they're looking very sparse and un-bush like. What to do. In my child-hood home the roses were very bush-like and I guess that's why I've been viewing my acquired bushes with confusion.

I've just spent the last 10 minutes trying to to find an answer to this and so far I've only find details on how to plant. That job has already been done for me... now what.
I know that my pink roses bloomed earlier than usual so I might be able to work out what type of rose they are based on that. This is what I've gleaned so far. The red roses are smaller and definitely a different type and bloomed at the start of June.

It's probably very obvious to everyone but me how to grow these bigger but you've got to remember that although I vaguely know that I probably need to fertilise it more etc - I need to know exactly how and what and even where. I've found this and here which gives tips on how to prune to make the bush grow more shoots that will flower.

My "exotic" seed sowing, however need a boost that this lack of weather isn't providing.

I've found some fascinating things, really get into the mind-set and personality of Mother-nature here. says this:

Passion fruit germination:

"Soak seed in warm water for 24 hours before sowing, in a good seed compost at 1/4" deep. Keep damp soil, not soaking wet. Keep pot in warm situation 20°C/68°F, 24°C/75°F. Cover the top of the pot with clear plastic so the humidity will remain high. When you see some tiny plants starting to sprout, slowly open the top of the pot, a little each day, so that the new seedlings don't go into shock from the humidity being lowered too quickly. "

On other websites I found the same info again and again:

Seeds like to be heated from the bottom - 70-80F for faster germination. Some people soak seeds in warm to hot water overnight before planting.

Papaya seeds:

"Papayas are normally propagated by seed. To start a plant, extract the seeds from ripe papayas and wash them to remove the gelatinous covering. They are then dried, dusted with a fungicide and planted as soon as possible (the seeds loose their viability rapidly in storage). Plant the seeds in warm (80° F), sterile potting mix. Seeds should be planted in sterile soil as young papaya seedlings have a high mortality rate from damping off. Potting soil can be sterilized by mixing 50-50 with vermiculite and placing in an oven at 200° F for one hour. Under ideal conditions the seeds may germinate in about two weeks, but may take three to five weeks. Gibberellic acid can be used to speed up germination in some seasons. Seedlings usually begin flowering 9 - 12 months after they germinate.

Seedling papayas do not transplant well. Plant them in large containers so the seedlings will have to be transplanted only once, when they go into the ground. Transplant carefully, making sure not to damage the root ball. To prevent damping off, drench the potting mix with a fungicide containing benomyl or captan. Set the plants a little high to allow for settling. A plastic mulch will help keep the soil warm and dry in wet winter areas, but remove it as soon as the weather becomes warm. Plant at least three or four plants to insure yourself of having females or plant hermaphroditic plants."

I don't think some of that will apply to UK growers wishing to just grow an interesting plant with no hopes of growing fruit.

Lemon seeds and mango:

Again, I keep seeing the same advice. To scratch the seed/stone with a nail file or pierce a hole to allow water to get in.

How to do this is best explained by Ruth on

General fruit growing:

"If their pot is too large or if they have an unrestricted root run then the whole plant will simply get bigger and bigger but it will refuse to flower and therefore produce the fruits. By limiting the pot size you are limiting the ability to grow and this is seen as a threat, so the natural mechanism is to produce seed for the next generation. A suitably sized pot for an adult plant would generally be of 12 inches in diameter."

Fascinating eh?

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