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Re: Digest Number 1294

>    Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2000 20:19:35 -0600
>    From: "Donald Eaves" <donald@eastland.net>
> Subject: Re: CULT:  Enhanced germination

> Anyone have any ideas when I could safely take the baby out of the
> bag?  It seems to be doing pretty well encased in a plastic house, but
> at some point I know it needs to come out.
> donald@eastland.net
> Texas Zone 7, USA


It is easy to put a plant into a bag, but it is another thing taking it out!

I am not sure of the mortality rate of iris seedlings, however other
seedlings I have grown in a home-made greenhouse (which is really what you
have created with the plastic bag) need to harden off gradually before being
taken out of their bags. The first year I tried propagating roses, my rose
starts withered and died within a half hour of being taken out of the bag
without being hardened off.

To harden off a seedling you must gradually expose it to dryer air.  This
process can take a couple of weeks easily.  In addition you will want to
gradually expose the seedling to the outside climate as well.

Punch a few air holes in the bag and let it sit out on the counter for half
a day.  Then put it back.  Every day let it stay out a little longer and
increase the amount of air holes gradually.  Eventually you will want to
move it outside on the patio for a half a day and then longer daily until it
becomes acclimated to outside and there are so many air holes that you might
as well take it out of the bag.  Then your seedling will be ready to
transplant outdoors.

This is a general rule of thumb.  Iris seedlings may do fine if just taken
out of the bag and planted, but the leaves will be more tender than normal
since it was in a bag, and more susceptible to damage, pests, and disease.
I would recommend hardening it off first.

Patrick Orr
Phoenix, AZ
USA  Zone 9

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