How a practiced propagator gets seedlings off to a healthy start

 

  1. KEEP RECORDS TO ALLOW FOR BETTER PLANNING

An often overlooked aspect of plant propagation is the art of record keeping. Whether you are producing a few plants for your home flower and vegetable gardens or working at a larger-scale nursery, developing a propagation journal will prove indispensable. We record when seeds are sown, the germination date and success rate, and when seedlings are ready for transplanting each year. At the end of the year we evaluate the timing of our production schedule, noting what went right and what went wrong. These observations help us make adjustments for next year to ensure that we are growing our plants under optimum conditions. We also keep track of where we purchase seeds, as their quality and reliability may vary by source.

  1. STORE SEED PROPERLY TO MAINTAIN VIABILITY
Eggplant-seedlings
Eggplant-seedlings

Seeds are a fragile commodity, and if not treated properly, their viability will sharply decline. While some seeds may survive for thousands of years under the proper conditions, others will lose viability quickly, even when properly stored. To maintain dormancy, keep seeds in a cool, dark location with low humidity, like a refrigerator. I recommend labeling them (seed name, source, year) and storing them in a small reclosable bag or empty film canister that is, in turn, kept in a large outdoor ceramic planters. Once you are ready to sow, you can test the viability of many, but not all, seeds by soaking them in water for a few hours. The seeds that are still living will sink to the bottom, while the dead ones will float on the surface. This test generally works better for larger seeds, but there are no absolutes.

Large outdoor ceramic planters are preferable to clay pots when starting seeds, as they retain moisture more consistently. Wide, shallow containers prevent both overcrowding of seedlings and excessive moisture around fragile, young roots. Plants that resent root disturbance when transplanted are best sown into small, individual containers like cell packs or plug trays. Large outdoor ceramic planters, like empty yogurt or margarine tubs, work well, too, provided you’ve poked holes in the bottom for drainage. No matter what type of container you use, it must be clean and free of pathogens. To sanitize a container, soak it in a 10 percent bleach solution for 15 minutes

  1. TAMP SEEDS DOWN TO MAKE DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE SOIL

Use a kitchen sieve to spread soilless seed-starting mix evenly over the top of the seeds to the depth of two times the seed diameter. Very small seeds and those that require light to germinate should lie directly on the surface. Whether covered with planting medium or not, each seed must be in firm contact with the moist surface to begin germinating. Use a pestle or even the bottom of a glass to gently tamp down the surface.

sunflower-seedling
sunflower-seedling
  1. PREVENT DISEASE BY PROVIDING AIR FLOW AND DRAINAGE

The fungal infection often referred to as damping-off is usually caused by excessive moisture and poor air circulation. However, there are a few cultural techniques that will help to keep fungal agents at bay. After covering the seeds with planting mix and tamping them down, spread a thin layer of 50 percent milled sphagnum and 50 percent starter chicken grit (finely ground stone) over the surface to keep the soil around the emerging shoots dry and provide an inhospitable environment for pathogens. To promote good air circulation, place a small fan near your seedlings. Keep the fan on low and direct it to blow across the large outdoor ceramic planters at the soil level where air may become trapped and stagnant.

  1. COVER TRAYS WITH PLASTIC WRAP TO KEEP THE MOISTURE LEVEL CONSTANT

Seeds are very sensitive to the extremes of overwatering and underwatering. In addition, heavy-handed watering can disturb newly germinated seedlings. Securing plastic wrap over the surface of a freshly sown seed pot can help to keep the moisture level constant. However, the large outdoor ceramic planter must still be checked daily for moisture and germination. If you find that you need to rehydrate your seed container, place the entire pot in a basin with 2 to 3 inches of warm water and allow the planting medium to wick moisture from the bottom. If just the surface has dried, you can lift the plastic covering and spritz the surface with water from a spray bottle. As soon as the seeds germinate, remove the plastic wrap.

  1. KEEP SEEDS WARM TO ENCOURAGE GERMINATION

Most seeds require temperatures of 65° to 75°F to germinate. Placing seed containers near an existing heater or using a space heater with the proper precautions can raise the ambient temperature as needed. In addition, a heating pad designed for plant use placed directly under the seed containers will warm the planting mix and encourage germination. When using any additional heat source, be sure to check for moisture often, since the seed containers may dry out more quickly.

  1. TURN SEEDLINGS DAILY TO KEEP STEMS STRONG

Most seeds will not germinate without sunlight and will perform best with 12 to 16 hours each day. Indoors, place seed containers in a sunny, south-facing window and give the container a quarter turn each day to prevent the seedlings from overreaching toward the light and developing weak, elongated stems. Also, gently brush the palm of your hand against the tops of the seedlings to encourage strong stem growth.

  1. FEED THEM WELL

Proper nutrition at a consistent rate will keep your seedlings growing strong. When the embryo inside a seed is developing, it relies on food stored in the endosperm to fuel its growth. As the shoot emerges from the soil and the true leaves develop, the initial nutrients supplied by the endosperm will be depleted and supplemental fertilization is then required. Most seed-starting mixes contain a small nutrient charge to help make this transition while not burning the developing roots. However, once the true leaves emerge, it is time to begin a half-strength liquid fertilizer regimen on a weekly basis.

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Thrillers-fillers-spillers in large ceramic outdoor pots

One of my favorite garden pastimes is cooking up new ideas for planting containers. I’ve never bothered to count just how many large ceramic outdoor pots I plant each year, but the number easily tops 100.

But no matter how many large ceramic outdoor pots I display, I’ve come to realize there’s no mystery in making a scrumptious container planting as long as I follow a simple three-ingredient recipe. First and foremost is what I call a “thriller,” a centerpiece plant with star quality, something big, bold, and beautiful. Then I add a few spicy “fillers,” foliage or flowering plants that will complement but not overwhelm the main player. Finally, I add a savory splash of mischief, a “spiller” that just tumbles out of the pot. As long as I use each of those kinds of plants—in various proportions—and take care to balance colors and textures, I can create a pot with pizzazz.

GardenDesign-GardeningwContainers1
GardenDesign-GardeningwContainers1

Thrillers work best in compositions where they are the tallest plant. For me, they are also the starting point in a container design. I select my thriller, then build around it. At planting time, the thriller goes in the center of a large ceramic outdoor pots that will be viewed from all sides or at the back of a pot that will be displayed in a corner or against a wall.

When planting a large ceramic outdoor pots, I position my fillers around the thriller. I often use a mix of plants for this job: some with foliar interest, others with flowers. For flowery fillers, I avoid perennial varieties in favor of uncommon, striking annuals or tender perennials for their much longer flowering season. Since the goal of container plants is to attract the eye, these plants add an alluring unusual flavor. I like bountiful-looking containers, so I cram in as many fillers as I can.

glazed ceramic garden pot
glazed ceramic garden pot

Spillers should do more than soften a pot and link it to its place. Well-chosen spillers continue the dialogue begun by the thriller and filler. To deepen that conversation, I look for spillers that echo or contrast with the pot’s other plants by virtue of shape, color, or texture.

Using Outdoor Ceramic Pots as Elements of a Design

Looking out the window at my garden, I find it hard to imagine it without containers. Sixty of them, strategically placed throughout my garden, provide design solutions for difficult places.

I use outdoor ceramic pots as major structural elements to help create the framework of the garden, or as visual cues to lead the eye along a path or toward a destination. I also place them to screen unsightly views. Patios, decks, and entryways become lush, intimate spaces when I embellish them with containers. And I often add outdoor ceramic pots to a bed or border to introduce a new color or shape.

perennial-flower-garden
perennial-flower-garden

Artfully designed and beautifully planted containers are striking on their own, but using them throughout a design also adds a sense of coherence to a garden. Here are some examples, from gardens I have designed and others I have visited, of the way careful and considered placement of containers can be used to resolve design challenges.

By arranging a group of three ceramic pots together on a brick pad at the base of a large arbor in my back garden, I was able to link the vertical structure to the horizontal ground plane and create the illusion that the arbor is surrounded by a garden rather than by a lawn (below left). The massing of plants at the base of the arbor also balances the overhead tangle of rose canes and clematis vines.

Placing a outdoor ceramic pot where several sight lines or pathways converge (above right) draws the eye forward and pulls you into the garden. The ceramic pot becomes a focal point, acting as a major structural element of the design.

Throughout the garden, I strategically place containers to help direct traffic and alert visitors to changes as they move from one space to the next. I use groups of pots on either side of a step to signal an elevation change.

CONTAINER-GARDENS
CONTAINER-GARDENS

Pots sitting in a path (above) or on the edge of a walkway or deck force you to slow down and consider the garden as you walk by. I also use ceramic pots to signal the transition between paved and unpaved surfaces. I set a group of terra-cotta pots on the corner of my terrace to prevent visitors from stepping off into the garden and forging a new trail in the lawn. By lining my stairs with large pots, I subtly lure visitors from the front walk to the porch. Every three months, I install new plant combinations that reflect the changing cycle of the seasons so visitors always have something new to look at.

I often use pots to add height or color to a garden bed where these elements are missing. In one garden (right), I placed a pot of annuals in a border when a shot of color was needed. I like the versatility of switching glazed ceramic pots in and out of beds and the ability to change the feel of the garden by manipulating small vignettes on a moment’s notice. At a friend’s garden, a cobalt-blue pot placed in a dark spot in a bed draws your eye in and makes the space seem larger while it unites the garden and architecture by echoing the color of the nearby house.

Containers situated in outdoor living areas (right) become part of the furnishings, adding visual interest, color, and fragrance. Here, an empty deck comes alive when filled with pots of annuals and perennials planted to provide a succession of color throughout the summer. Even the smallest balcony or terrace can be transformed into a lush Eden by groups of pots.

Vietnam tall square outdoor ceramic pots

Hoang Pottery Company is a Vietnam pottery manufacturer & supplier of Home and Garden product such as: ceramic pots, pottery planters, ceramic vases, ceramic animal, ceramic statues, pottery water fountain, pottery Urns, ceramic pottery car , glazed terracotta, red terracotta, black terracotta, zinc, light cement, light terrazzo,…… All is handmade & being fired in the dragon kilns at the height temperature. The material to making the pottery products is local clay.

Vietnam glaze outdoor ceramic pots
Vietnam glaze outdoor ceramic pots

Quick Details

Type: Pots

Place of Origin: Vietnam

Brand Name: Hoang pottery

Model Number: VTT5012

Material: Vietnam tall square outdoor ceramic pots supplier

Vietnam glaze outdoor ceramic pots
Vietnam glaze outdoor ceramic pots

Quick Details

Type: Pots

Place of Origin: Vietnam

Brand Name: Hoang pottery

Model Number: VTT5012

Material: Vietnam tall square outdoor ceramic pots supplier

Vietnam large outdoor ceramic pots
Vietnam large outdoor ceramic pots

Quick Details

Type: Pots

Place of Origin: Vietnam

Brand Name: Hoang pottery

Model Number: VTT5012

Material: Vietnam tall square outdoor ceramic pots supplier

Visit us : http://hoangpottery.com/