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Leading the way with Dianthus

British National Carnation Society

Keith 4

The cuttings that were taken during August rooted within about 2-3 weeks. First signs are the white roots showing through the bottom of the plug tray.

I normally at this stage just before potting on give them a watering with a small feed of Maxicrop, this is just to give them a tonic to get over the transition of being potted on. I also feel that it helps the compost in the plugs to stay firm instead of crumbling away when the plug is taken out. They were then potted into 4”plastic pots. I use these pots as they are different to the pots used for the Borders and Pinks so that I can distinguish the plants in the early stages.

I use the same compost mix but add a dusting of bonemeal, it’s vital that the plant builds up a good root system. Watering is still kept to a minimum; plants can easily be lost due to over watering.

The potted plants are kept on the staging high in the greenhouse for maximum light, although at the moment the light levels have been very good due to the present warm weather. In fact it has been that good that the potted plants have grown apace and are starting to show breaks and will need stopping. They will need potting on soon into 5”pots or finals. This is at least two months earlier than I normally have them at this stage.

tray roots

Roots showing at the bottom of the plugs are a good sign that the cuttings will need potting up

Give the potted  plants as much light as possible

The plants are showing breaks and will soon need stopping

It's important to build up a good root system. Do not over water.

Update on the P/F cuttings

Borders update

The Border cuttings have all been potted up into a low nutrient based compost mix, such as J.I.No1. The reason for such low nutrient compost is that I want the plants to make steady growth, no sudden surge as during the winter months they will just tick over till the spring. All I want is a good root system, no top growth activity. Water only when needed and this is very important, never give them too much water far better to be on the dry side. As previously stated, I use the plastic square pots for potting over winter, the reason is that they will all be moved to the poly-tunnel as they do not require any heat; in fact heat could be detrimental to them at this time of the year as it may make them grow apace. Once in the poly-tunnel they will be open to the elements as far as temperatures go and if the compost in the pots freezes then the square plastic pots allow the compost to expand, thus taking any pressure off the stem. If the stem is nipped then it could lead to the plants demise. Once in the poly-tunnel they will be given a pesticide/fungus spray combined just to make sure no pests or disease is over wintering on them.

The layers have taken an age to root. Normally I only take cuttings but this year I wanted to make sure my seedlings survived and were rooted, so I took cuttings, layers and kept the Mother plants which have thrown up new growth. The layers were cut from the Mother Plants several weeks ago, given a good watering then carefully removed the layering pin and eased the layer out. They were then potted on as the cuttings. I have a much better success rate with cuttings and will stick with taking cuttings in the future. I still have a few seedlings flowering and some are showing promise. I would certainly recommend giving seedlings a go, you never know what will flower and that’s part of the fun.

Layer severed from Mother plant
seedling flowering October

The cuttings have been potted up and moved to the poly-tunnel to over winter

Layers have been severed from the Mother plant several weeks before being removed

Layer removed before being potted up.

Some seedlings are still flowering.

Pinks update

Started to take the Pink cuttings in earnest now, apart from my own needs I hope to have quite a few for the Society for Harrogate next year. Nearly all have been cut back and the new growth has been phenomenal. One point I must make when taking a lot of cuttings and that is the need or I should say the necessity to make sure a label with the cultivars name accompanies the cutting , it’s so easy to be distracted and then forget where the cuttings have come from. A practice I have used for many years is always to have a small container of milk with me when taking cuttings. I dip the knife/scissors in the milk every time I go from one set of cuttings taken from a Mother plant to the next Mother plant as this prevents the spread of any virus that may be present. It does not kill any virus present but stops it being transferred as it will stay in the milk.

The Mother plants that have had the sheep/bracken compost added are far more superior to those who did not have it added. The growth has been better, sturdier and a lot healthier. I cannot say the flowers were any better as I did not keep a record of such but the plants appearance has certainly been better and I shall be using it again next year with a view of monitoring the flowers.

compost containing Dalefoot
compost without Dalefoot
still flowering now
Mycorrhizal fungi

Bracken/wool compost added.     Without Bracken mix.                    Still flowering.      Root system with the Bracken mix.