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Re: HYB: CULT: pots

Christian, as you've probably figured out by now, decisions about how to
handle seeds and seedlings are based on a mix of personal preference as
much as on what is optimal for reaching a particular goal.  To some
extent, you'll just have to experiment to find out what works best for
you to reach your goals.

Because my gravelly soil is drought prone, seedlings that do well here
usually grow a lot of deep roots in addition to shallow feeder roots.
Some established plants that thrive here have roots 2 ft deep.  Some
baby transplants have few branch roots but may have a single main root 5
inches long when the leaves are much shorter.  So I like to use deep
pots for transplants, but not necessarily for germination.

My preference the last few years has been to plant seeds from pods with
less than 40 seeds per pod in a 4 inch pot, less than 100 seeds usually
in two, sometimes three 4 inch pots, and large batches of seeds in big
pots, preferably ones that are deeper than the 5 inch deep mum pots.

What I do after planting depends on the type of cross.

I do some "junk" intentional curiosity crosses or occasionally get bee
pods from cultivars that I don't really care much about that produce
well over 100 seeds.  Those go in big pots, don't get burrito'd and
don't get transplanted in the spring.  I leave whatever comes up
outdoors to battle it out with the elements and each other and line out
a handful of the biggest seedlings in the fall.  Decide whether or not
to line the rest of them out later.  If germination rate is high, they
do get very crowded, which encourages disease, and helps weed out the
most susceptible to disease and drought.

Most of my "best" crosses get the burrito treatment, are planted in 4
inch pots, then kept on the unheated sun porch to germinate for about a
month, then seedlings from each cross are moved either to one or two big
pots, or individual 5 inch deep styrofoam cups or other deep invidual
pots to grow until they are big enough to line out (with burrito babies,
usually by sometime in April).  If they aren't big enough to line out by
then, they won't survive weather/soil/my neglect, so will have to wait
till fall or the following spring.  Ungerminated seeds in the 4 inch pot
go back outdoors for another cycle of cold, to be brought back to the
sunporch after another month.

Most lower priority crosses also go into 4 inch pots, come in to the
sunporch to germinate during the month the first batch is back
outdoors.  Some are left outdoors to germinate in spring.

All of this messing around results in having to do something with these
baby plants most of the winter and early spring, but means I don't have
to handle all of them at once.  Having it spread out over several months
works better for me, especially since it's during winter & not growing

Hope that helps you figure out what you would like to do.

< If the roots 'prefer' to go down more wouldn't it be better to have a
pot that was say 8-12" deep?  And if the rhizome itself is only 3/4"
accross by line out what's the point in having a pot that's 4'' accross?
......, but if you leave all the seedlings from a cross in one pot
doesn't it get crowded sometimes?  Christian                 ky>

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8
East Tennessee Iris Society <http://www.korrnet.org/etis>
American Iris Society web site <http://www.irises.org>
talk archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-talk/>
photos archives: <http://www.hort.net/lists/iris-photos/>
online R&I <http://www.irisregister.com>

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