Monthly Archives: March 2014

Starting begonia tubers – update

Well, here we are 3 weeks on. First, the single large tuber, sporting at least 7 shoots that I can see:



then the 3 smaller ones:


By the looks of it, the top one of the group of 3 is pretty much ready for potting into a properly-drained pot as there are roots appearing above soil level that ought to be covered (when the tubers are potted up they should be covered with a little compost because they apparently root from the top as well as the base).

This is the point at which I usually manage to get things wrong and end up with tubers that simply sulk and refuse to grow any further, so I shall have my fingers firmly crossed from now on!


Spring has sprung!

A little collection of blooms to brighten the day:


This is daffodil “Jumblie” grouped with Scilla siberica, an unknown primrose and some hyacinths, but I could have chosen from a number of plants. Looking around I also have Clematis armandii, bergenia, crocus, pulmonaria, and  vinca all showing colour with tulips, chaenomeles and brunnera soon to come.

Spring has come so early this year – such a contrast to last year when we more or less missed it altogether and went straight from winter to summer! I can’t remember when I last had daffodils in flower in February, nor when I last saw bumblebees and ladybirds around at this time, but I suppose it was to be expected given the mildness of the winter we’ve just had: barely a flake of snow fell and there were very few nights below freezing through January and February, which is most unusual even here in the Sunny South.

Still, it does mean that gardeners have to get their skates on. This is the time when I like to start moving and/or dividing my dormant herbaceous plants, but they’re already waking from their winter slumber so I’ll need to crack on with it. Matters are a little complicated this year by the fact that we are having one of our fences replaced and another repaired (a few too many storms have hit them, unfortunately) so I can’t necessarily put my plants where I would want them – I’ll need to keep my most vulnerable plants away from places where a careless work boot might stand on them! Putting some in pots and temporarily heeling others into spare bits of ground is probably the answer – I just need to actually get around to doing it…

Starting begonia tubers

I’m not very successful at keeping begonia tubers from year to year. It’s partly ignorance I suspect, but also, I don’t really have an ideal place to keep them ie., nowhere cool but frost-free. I’ve no greenhouse, no conservatory, no unheated spare room, and the loft doesn’t seem suitable because they manage to rot off when I put them there. The best I can do seems to be a cold cupboard (against an external wall in my kitchen) but it’s probably a bit too warm there. Hey ho.

Still, I’ve succeeded in keeping 4 alive from the 6 that I saved last year, so that’s not too bad: now the only problem is how to get them back into growth because I’m not too hot at that either, lol!

I’ve been inspecting them periodically for the last couple of months looking for signs of new shoots and was delighted when the first smattering finally appeared a few days ago. This is my signal to remove them from their paper bags and place them, hollow side up, in shallow trays of moist compost, like so:



and so:



(they’re a bit tricky to see so I outlined them in yellow dots!) There are no drainage holes because the tubers won’t be staying long – just until they are obviously into good growth, then I’ll plant them into individual plant pots with proper drainage. Both trays will be covered with clear plastic and placed on a north facing windowsill which should provide decent light and hopefully won’t be too cold.

In a few weeks I should have 4 nice, strongly-shooting plants to pot up – with any luck!

Begonia cuttings – March update

Well, they’ve certainly grown!

This was my progress update from last August:



…and here they are now, potted up separately:



To be honest, I haven’t a clue what I ought to do with them at this point. From what I read online last year I reckoned they were supposed to go dormant for a few months over winter, but since they showed no inclination to do so, I just left them as they were, watering them very sparingly and picking off the odd dead leaf as necessary.

So who knows? Maybe they’ll grow on properly and thrive, maybe they won’t – I suppose only time will tell! Potting on the larger of the two today revealed a very healthy-looking fibrous root system, so hopefully there’s a nice little tuber bulking up down in the middle of the compost. Fingers crossed…

Citrus propagation – potting on the cuttings

…a very long-delayed update!

At the end of September I finally decided it was time to see how well my 7 citrus cuttings had rooted and move them to individual pots. I’d previously thought that all of them had significant roots, but that wasn’t in fact the case.


These three had managed only the tiniest amount of root, preferring to concentrate their energies into producing flowers instead. I decided they wouldn’t amount to anything and discarded them.

The remaining 4 looked like this:


Perhaps unsurprisingly, the one with the best roots was also the one that had produced the biggest shoot, and it continues to be the most promising of the 4.

All in all, I’m very happy with my citrus propagation endeavour. I wasn’t really expecting any of them to take given the lack of sophisticated tools/equipment at my disposal, so to have half of them succeed is pretty satisfying – gotta love plants-for-free!