Re: Proud mama (arums)


On Tue, 14 Jan 1997, W T McClure wrote:

>   I've been itching to ask a couple of questions but, as all other
> 'beginners' on the list can sympathise with, I've refrained from asking
> for fear of being branded a moron.  However, i ask myself these questions
> over and over again because the subjects come up time and again.  First,
> why is that when aroid tubers go dormant do growers generally stick them
> in a box or what have you?  What's wrong with leaving them in the pot to
> grow again?  Presumably, in the wild they don't get up and go into a cave
> to rest.  Is it because the potting medium is exhausted of nutrients?  The

Answering for myself - I only do this for aroids that I don't trust to
winter over successfully in pots, frozen solid (i.e. many arisaemas).
They take up a whole lot less space packed in bags or boxes, in peat moss,
in the refrigerator, than they would in pots.....go figure.  Pinellias
and hardy arisaemas *do* stay in their pots.  As to medium deteriorating -
yes, that's a valid concern with soilless mixes.  They do start to break
down and get dense and wet after a year.  Nutrients can be (are)
provided artificially.

> other question is how do you deal with sowing seeds that take up to a year
> or more to germinate?  Do you vigilantly keep the seed compost moist at
> just the oh-so-right level for such an incredibly long time? Is it
> possible to germinate these seeds in the home or is equipment associated
> with glasshouse or conservatories necessary?   I imagine
> that people who regularly sow aroids seeds must have a large number of
> seed pans scattered everywhere as well as growing plants.  The attention
> and organisation involved in keeping track of these 'lifeless' seeds and
> their environment would seem to me mind-boggling.  I guess love knows no
> bounds (barf!).  I know that when I try to germinate seeds outside of
> early spring they almost always don't germinate and rot, or they germinate
> and rot anyway.  

Arisaemas only take a few weeks to germinate, hence are no more of a problem
in that respect than any other seed.  I start those indoors, under lights,
partly because it works well for me, partly because they develop slowly 
enough that I needn't worry about them outgrowing their community pots 
and needing transplanting, etc., and partly because it's something to do 
in January.  The arums of which I spoke the other
day - the ones that take 16 months - are sowed when received (fall/winter),
after a 2-day water soak (w/ a few changes) and the pots set on the
basement floor in out of the way places such as dank corners, under the
work sink, etc.  Pots may be covered loosely, individually, with a
plastic bag, and ignored until spring (though I do check occasionally
in case something unexpected happens).  In spring, the pots are moved out
to the shadehouse (plastic covers removed) and left to enjoy whatever
treatment nature affords.  In fall, they are brought back in and left,
once again, on the basement floor.  None of this requires much labor,
attention, or specialized equipment.  As to the amount of love involved -
boundless, no doubt (retch).  But do the seeds care?

Ellen


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