Author Topic: Growing in Pots  (Read 1950 times)

true blue

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Growing in Pots
« on: December 04, 2016, 11:03:02 PM »
When you don't have enough space in the borders to grow all the Meconopsis you want try growing some in a big pot. The biggest pot to try is a 25 Litre one so that you can still lift it even when just watered. A 15 Litre pot is ideal as well although you will have to divide your plant sooner. These sizes of pots means that you can leave them outdoors over the winter and the roots of the plants are quite well insulated. You have to feed each spring with a slow release fertilizer and make sure you remember to water them.

Meconopsis_Matt

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Re: Growing in Pots
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2016, 11:05:15 PM »
I have never thought of growing them in pots, so will need top give it a try.
Matt Heasman

Pat

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Re: Growing in Pots
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2016, 09:10:36 PM »
There are many advantages for growing meconopsis in large pots especially for those whose soil is very alkaline, e.g. on chalk or limestone. The compost in the pots can be adjusted to suit the plant's requirements. Generally meconopsis prefer a rich soil, with good drainage which does not dry out. Adding a slow release fertiliser, leaf mould and checking that the compost is moist means the plants should thrive. It may be necessary to move the pots to a frost free area over winter or to protect the pots with bubble wrap to prevent damage to the roots.

Meconopsis_Matt

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Re: Growing in Pots
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2016, 09:21:12 AM »
I think I will need to try some more in pots as my heavy clay soil is not great. In our area of south Glasgow, they should also never dry out....Matt
Matt Heasman

Steve Garvie

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Re: Growing in Pots
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2016, 10:29:41 AM »
Firstly I have to say I am no expert but I think that pot growth is the only way to go in cultivating the smaller and more difficult Meconopsis such as venusta, lancifolia, henricii, delavayi, etc. Except for delavayi these plants tend to be biennial (or flower in their third year) and need to produce a good-sized taproot to survive the first Winter. Once germinated they need to be pricked out carefully and grown on with minimal disruption to growth. I find using a loose mineral mix with plenty of perlite and vermiculite in the seed compost makes transplanting easier and less traumatic. Plastic long tom pots are best for growing on but as these are almost invariably black they heat up quickly in direct sun (leading to cooked roots) so if possible they should be plunged in damp sand. An open-sided shade frame allows plenty of ventilation whilst allowing control of overhead water.

In the past I have found that the main cause of death with these high altitude small monocarpic Mecs is fungal infection and root rot. In nature they live in an environment that is not conducive to good fungal growth and so have little natural resistance to such infections. In a mild, damp lowland garden with rich organic substrates it is fungal/mould heaven and so these wee Mecs barely stand a chance. For this reason I have over the last few years started to use only very mineral-rich mixes when growing these plants in pots. I grow Cypripedium and in the early days the standard advice was to grow these plants in very organic-rich composts with leafmould, composted bark, etc. Losses through rot were common as a result. Nowadays Cyps are grown in pure well-drained mineral mixes and as a result cope much better with the conditions in our gardens. Treating small Mecs the same way seems to be working -I am no longer getting crown/root rot or extensive botrytis on the leaves and have now managed to flower delavayi and henricii whilst lancifolia looks to be on track for flowering in 2017.

The exact content of the substrates is not too important but I use a mix of pumice, silica sand (naturally acidic), perlite and baked moler clay (Tesco low dust lightweight cat litter or the pink bags of Sanicat bought at "Pets at home"). I add a small amount of sphagnum peat or partly decomposed pine needles to "dirty" the mix. This also acts to reduce pH. Some species naturally grow over limestone bedrock and seem to benefit from the additional of some dolomitic lime (rich in magnesium). Using such lean mixes results in very free drainage so the plants tolerate a lot of water. The cat litter holds water well yet results in a high air-filled porosity which reduces the risk of anaerobic conditions and root rot. The downside is that frequent dilute liquid feeds are required with periodic flushing of the substrate to prevent build-up of salts.

I am planning to extend the above "regime" to some other Sino-himalayan plants such as Cremanthodium, Nivalid primulas and Omphalogrammas but only time will tell how successful this might be.


Meconopsis henricii
« Last Edit: December 15, 2016, 10:35:47 AM by Steve Garvie »

Meconopsis_Matt

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Re: Growing in Pots
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2016, 01:57:06 PM »
Very interesting Steve, I haven't tried the cat litter yet. I am having some success with small granite chips. The main problem is when I put them out in the garden, even preparing the hole well, they clay seems to overtake after a while. I take it that it much leech in around the plant with the wet climate. I will need to try to get more experiments set up next year. Thanks for the post, I am sure it will be read with great interest....Matt, I Love the picture, I haven't managed to germinate M. henricii yet.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2016, 10:14:38 AM by Meconopsis_Matt »
Matt Heasman

poppy girl

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Re: Growing in Pots
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2016, 10:01:32 AM »
Excellent advice Steve particularly about the fungal infection and root rot. I think this is where a lot of us have the problems but never understood why. The small ones are tricky little things but with other members experiences and knowledge hopefully we will all get back to getting them growing again.

Nick

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Re: Growing in Pots
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2017, 10:52:51 PM »
Three plants grown from SRGC seed (two "rudis" and one "racemosa") have flowered at one year old in 7cm square pots.

Peter Kohn

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Re: Growing in Pots
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2017, 04:12:11 PM »
We find even the 'big blue poppies' go through winter nearly 100% successfully in pots but lose a lot in the ground in the Sheffield climate. At Kerrachar we also lost plants in pots if they were in the polytunnel but they were fine outside so we contimue to keep them outdoors in Sheffield. No fancy composts, just a mixture of multipurpose and JI 3 plus slow release feed. This also seems to work OK for smaller mecs such as zhongdianensis and aculeata.

Costales

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Re: Growing in Pots
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2017, 09:24:19 AM »
I have never thought of growing them in pots, so will need top give it a try.

I grow in pots quite a bit and it works great.