Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Ornamental grass seedlings

Last year I collected seed from ornamental grasses in my garden and saved them in small sealed brown envelopes which I have stored in my garage. Perhaps next spring I will try sowing some of these – as an exercise to see if they are viable after 18 months. It might be interesting to see if there is any difference in germination with seed collected this year. Although if you are familiar with growing ornamental grasses you may already know that there is another way of increasing your stock with very little effort at all.

Gravel mulches
on paths and borders are a great way of cutting down on weeding but very occasionally weeds do still germinate but they are quite easily pulled out. I have ornamental grasses growing in areas mulched with gravel in my garden and as the seed is so fine it can sometimes germinate in the gravel. I always find these plants a bonus.

Top dressing pots with pebbles looks good but there will still be pockets where seed can get trapped. I have a large pot of alliums in my front garden but I am not disappointed at all at the young ornamental grass seedlings that have grown up and through the pebbles I have top dressed this pot with. I spotted them after the allium’s foliage died down and have waited until now before lifting and potting them up as sometimes lifting young self sown seedlings can be risky. It wasn’t until I lifted these seedlings today that I realised quite how many were in the pot!


Square pots rather than round ones for seedlings or cuttings work best for me as I have a very small, 6ft x 4ft, greenhouse and space is an issue. I place six pots in and tray so I can move them around more easily. I also tend to place cuttings in the four corners with one in the middle giving five per pot. With grass seedlings I tend to put only two per pot and in opposite corners. I also place the pots in the trays in the same way so that they all get enough light when they have grown into larger plants as you will see in the photo above. The white in the pots is vermiculite which I added to the compost to help drainage. I don’t imagine these seedlings really need over wintering in my greenhouse but I have done this for a number of years now.

A closer look around the garden could reveal more self sown seedlings and not all I will lift. Sometimes I will let plants grow where they land – well for a little while anyway. It is like a treasure hunt where I don’t always keep the treasure!

The photo above was taken in my garden on August 28th 2007.

4 comments:

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I love my ornamental grasses. I grew pampass grass from seed last winter. I collected some seed from the purple fountain grass recently, I also noticed some tuber looking things under the two that I gave to my mom. Can I grow more grass from those?

Barbara said...

Up to now I didn't grew ornamental grass from seeds. There is one grass that provided a lot of seedlings in the flowerbed and now I have a great bunch of it. I've just taken pictures from seedlings growing in the marlplace (for a post, maybe next week).
Have a nice day! Here we have very strong rainfall!
Barbara

shirl said...

Hi again, Robin

So do I - although pampass is a one I have never considered growing because of the space it needs. You must be delighted to have grown yours from seed. My neighbour has one and the plumes are really looking well at the moment. I am keeping my eye on it as birds will soon be seen trying to get the seeds. They bob up and down on stems to do this – many on the same stem. Have you seen this before? It is quite funny to watch :-)

It is great to grow plants from seed especially seed collected from your own garden. Good luck with the purple fountain grass – I don’t think that one is hardy here. I am not sure if you can grow grasses from the tuber roots but I would definitely give it a try. If I were to make a guess I’d say it could be successful. Let me know on that one – I’d be interested to know :-)

shirl said...

Hi again, Barbara

I have never grown ornamental grasses from seed either – my stocks have increased by self sown seedlings and by division. It’s great to look out on how many I have now with just a small outlay and taking a little time to split good sized clumps.

Last year though, I collected seed purley out of interest – they were there and I began collecting! Once I started it was difficult to stop. I do plan to try sowing some to see if they will germinate but I would need to give some of the plants away if they were too successful! The one grass I do want to germinate is Uncinia Rubra :-)

I will look forward to your photos soon – what is the marlplace? BTW I visited Branklyn at the weekend and thought of you when I saw a large clump of Ophiopogon - I would really like to succesfully grow that one from seed :-)

This morning was sunny here but it is windy and duller now. Hope you have better weather tomorrow :-)