Six on Saturday: 16.2.19 Taste of exotics

Having posted about Ophiopogon planiscapus last week I thought I’d continue looking at some of my plans to widen out my selection of exotic plants or at least exotic looking plants. While I’m holding off on most of my sowing a few of my choices for this year have such long germination periods I thought I’d get them started.

1. Musa lasiocarpa-dwarf banana

One of my Morgan & Thompson seed purchases this year was a pack of musa lasiocarpa. This dwarf banana is fairly hardy supposedly taking temperatures down to -10. I’m aiming to grow it for the patio but with up to six months to germinate, I thought I better get started. While they are available as small plants there is a satisfaction that comes with growing from seed. Though as these come with a warning that germination is “slow and erratic” I’m not getting my hopes of success up to much.

2. Agaves

The second of this year’s Morgan and Thompson seed purchases. This was a mixed packet of agave seeds. While I am in the cold North being by the coast I think might give them reasonable survival chances if I can get them going. There are a few gardens in my area that bring agaves out for Summer so we’ll see how I get on. At less than 99p after deals were applied I’m willing to take a chance on them. After a week in the propagator I’ve already got some germinating, so we’ll see if I can keep them going to become fully fledged plants. I need to read up on the next stage. I’d only read up on germination as I thought it might fail at that stage.

3. Heated propagator

In order to increase my chances of germination success, I’ve bought a heated propagator. It featured last week with the black mondo seeds. It’s only a cheap variety that adds a few degrees heat but that could make all the difference. It doesn’t have a thermostat to control temperature but I didn’t want to break the bank on it. I do wish I’d gone for the premium though for a more solid lid.

4. Discount ferns

A few weeks back I picked up a few discount ferns. While they are a bit miserable at the moment I think they’ll pick back up with fresh fronds. The borders are filled mainly with cottage garden favourites so to tie the patio and lawn area together I’m looking to use ferns and hostas that will feature in both areas.

One corner of the border already contains a good number of ferns. I’m now looking to mirror this on the opposite border. These new ferns are destined for there. Dryopteris is a nice erect shuttlecock form growing to around a metre tall.

Cristata the king is a tall form that remains evergreen in warmer climates and deciduous as it moves to colder climates. It tolerates a lot of garden situations from shade to semi-shade and tolerant of a variety of soils. It tends to clump and can then be divided to spread it around.

Filix-Mas is deciduous giving me hope that it will come back fine. Once established it shouldn’t need much care. Most of the ferns are evergreen as I’d intended them as a constant green backdrop. This will add a bit of contrast within that mix.

5. Plant lovers guide to ferns

Ferns make for fascinating plants with their prehistoric nature. They provide excellent foliage. Many of my choices are evergreen providing the garden with a background of year-round interest. This book from Kew Gardens has a lot more detail than I expected. I thought it would have a few recommended varieties and a bit of planting detail. A coffee table book but it’s actually very informative. There are recommendations for different areas of the garden, some design ideas, a solid section detailing different ferns and propagation.

6. Propagating houseplants for outdoors

It isn’t an original idea Will Giles did it, Christopher Lloyd did it but this year I want to try some of the houseplants I keep inside outside. It was discussed in one of this weeks plant based podcasts. My prime candidates are plants that are easy to propagate so I can keep the backup inside and put the propagated plants outside without worrying if they die.

Candidate number one is my spider plant. If I let it my spider plant population grow they could easily take over the house. I normally cut the flowers before they become pups. I have saved a few though to go outside in the Summer. They have put on good root systems and are getting to reasonable heights.

The second plant I’m looking at is my string of hearts. These are supposedly easy to propagate. Cutting laid on soil should root. I imagine this could be used in mixes pots to trail the edge of pots. I’m not sure of its hardiness but a few cuttings of these will only cost a handful of soil. So if they die straight away I haven’t lost anything but a bit of time.

I’m aware these are not necessarily the most exciting photos to ever feature on my six but hopefully, they will be more exciting later in the year. The discount bedraggled ferns should recover to become glorious foliage. The seeds will flourish into beasts. The houseplants will bring new elements to the outside patio area. Exciting times ahead.

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25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 16.2.19 Taste of exotics”

  1. It’ll be interesting to see how the houseplants do in the great outdoors. I love ferns but still haven’t got around to getting any. This has reminded me I really must.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The spider plants have been used by other people before me as has the aspidistra which is probably hardy enough to stay out all year in a sheltered spot. The string of hearts I’ve not seen used out before but the pot inside grows at a good rate so I’m always chopping it so may as well try and propagate.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love reading about how you will try this, use that for filler, tie in one area to another, etc. I’m thrilled when something green comes up in the garden and amazed if it eventually blooms. You need to know that you have an appreciative audience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looking forward to seeing the success of your Musa seedlings. Like Katharine, I have always failed with banana seeds.
    A good choice of exotic seeds and already see results of the agave is a good start.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m impressed you are growing agaves from seed. Which variety are you attempting to grow?

    My spider plant lives outside all year. The only thing I found it does not appreciate bright sunlight and mine, at least, thrive in dappled shade. I tend to forget about it as it is not a fussy plant and suffers neglect. That said you have reminded me I do need to repot.

    I like the string hearts…

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  5. I haven’t ventured into exotics at all. You have quite a wealth of knowledge about them, it seems. It’s difficult to have patience for the slow germinators in my shed, so I post sticky notes on certain trays saying “Have patience!” Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The notes on the packet warned that germination was long and erratic so I’ve not got high hopes of the musa, but possibly going to end up with more agaves than I need. I’ve got very limited space for propagation so I may regret having these taking up space for so long.

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  6. I put my spider plants outside in the summer, in the shade. They don’t really like it during winter though and become very bedraggled. Good luck with the exotics!

    I do like the string of hearts …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started with 3 ferns and they’ve gradually been allocated more space to the point where I’m planning on planting another tree for shade. You can cut a lot of evergreen varieties back at the end of winter and enjoy the fresh fronds but I generally leave mine to look after themselves.

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