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Beginner Flowers: Dormant Plants

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flowerprincess
Ogden, UT

January 8, 2008
3:58 AM

Post #4374170

I recently ordered about 100 plants, Japanese maples and Japanese White Pines, for landscaping and bonsaii.

Was planning on just planting them and keeping them in the greenhouse, until I found out they need to stay at cooler temps, which I wont be able to regulate. I wonder if they need to stay in a the dark? Do you immediate plant them?
Hopefully the plants come with directions, just wondering if anyone has any tips?
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

January 8, 2008
4:53 AM

Post #4374318

flowerprincess,

Did the nursery give you a shipping date? When I've ordered bareroot bushes/trees this time of the year they didn't ship right away. They shipped them in the spring at the proper time for me to plant them outside right away.

I've never done any bonsai, but I would think if they don't know which are for the landscape and which are for bonsai they will ship them all at the best time to plant outside in your area.

Karen




flowerprincess
Ogden, UT

January 10, 2008
7:16 PM

Post #4384265

That's what I thought, and usually when I have ordered in the past they wait until plant date.
I imagine they sent them because I did indicate I have a greenhouse.
Just got them the other day, and they don't look very dormant, actually look good and fresh.
I think I will put them in the greenhouse and try to keep them cooler? Well have to see
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

January 10, 2008
8:13 PM

Post #4384440

I don't know if you have to worry about keeping them cooler--there are some plants (lilacs, peonies, and some fruit trees come to mind but I'm sure there are a few others) which need a certain number of hours of winter chill in order to bloom/fruit, but all that happens if they don't get their winter chill is you won't get flowers/fruit the following year. And the plants you mentioned don't even have that problem, so keeping them in the greenhouse at whatever temperature you're keeping it ought to be fine.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

January 12, 2008
12:58 AM

Post #4389413

Hi Flowerprinces, I really dont know your zone or what frost you have in your area, but the plants you mention, I grow here in Scotland, UK. I dont have any of them in my greenhouse as the likes of the Japanese Maples where they originally come from, are hardy plants that grow away well in colder areas, I like on the ocean and have just had a storm last weekend where the small trees/shrubs came through 85 mile hour gales right off the water, they had already lost all their leaves early autumn, but the branches etc are fine, by all means put them in your greenhouse for frost protection if they are really tiny plants, but dont allow the house to heat up in any way, if you have winter sun on the glass, then ventilate it well and close it again once the temp starts to drop, all you would do if you feel your plants wont survive is protection from the worst freezes, in the greenhouse, remember they will need enough water to prevent the plants from drying out, but not over-watered. As for the ones you want to start as Bonsai, they are also outdoor plants, the mistake a lot of people make is by keeping the Bonsai plants indoors thinking that very small specimens equals tender plants, it is the very opposite, they need the same growing conditions as if they were allowed to grow to full sized trees, Borsai is just a method of restricting the plant growth by cutting back the roots when very small and restricting the size of container so the roots cant grow out or down, sorry if you already know all this info, just thought I should mention this in case others take a look at your questions and maybe had no ideas about Bonzaii. My sister-in-law does this method and has now got some really nice examples going, but it is a slow process, but very enjoyable. take good care and enjoy. WeeNel.
flowerprincess
Ogden, UT

January 13, 2008
5:15 PM

Post #4395939

WeeNel
I live in Zone 5, so long cold snowy winters. I have 2 greenhouses, one of which I have seeds started, and heaters to keep at around 70, although when the sun comes up it gets warmer in there.
I had the kids plant all the plants we received, I am just wondering if I should place them in the other greenhouse without heaters? It will still get warmer when sun appears, but keep them from freezing.
Think it will keep cooler in the other one. What do you think?

We attempted bonsai a few months ago, the plants did great for about 2 - 3 months, but I believe we were over watering them, also we had them inside, and they should be outdoor bonsai, so I believe this time we will keep them maybe in the greenhouse?
Kids loved it, and it gives them something to think about and care for daily. I do feel bad the plants didn't make it, but they wanted to try it again! I explained we learn through failing sometimes and just have to not give up!
Good life lessons through plants :)
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

January 13, 2008
5:36 PM

Post #4396012

I don't know how cold your unheated greenhouse would get, but if these plants were being babied in a nice warm greenhouse before they were shipped to you, they may not be so happy if you all of a sudden dump them into a cold environment. That's why I was suggesting keeping them in the greenhouse until spring, that way you're not shocking them with temperatures they're not used to (the fact that they came to you with leaves on them still suggests to me they were probably being grown in a nice warm greenhouse somewhere) Then once spring comes and the weather warms up, you can start treating them like normal outdoor plants.
flowerprincess
Ogden, UT

January 13, 2008
8:26 PM

Post #4396709

I think I will keep them in the greenhouse with heaters on then. You know how sometimes when you order through the mail you receive dormants plants that look dead with no life, these look very healthy and like they want to "wake up" not go dormant.
Thanks for your advice :)
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

January 14, 2008
2:19 AM

Post #4398414

Hi Flowerprincess, in your zone 5, and taking into account the plants you listed, they will be perfectly fine in your UNHEATED greenhouse, all you need do is protect them from real freezes, and I assume that in the cold house you have, then there will be no chance of the potted new trees/shrubs freezing, dont store them against the windows unless you can insulate the glass in some way, I have in the past, resorted to stapling bubble wrap along the inside of the glass IF prolonged frosts etc are expected, but having the pots about say a foot away from the glass windows should be fine, what you need to watch in your zone is, the tender tiny little buds that should be appearing on the branches any time soon, even at this time of year, the plants will have been storing energy for that job to take place, ofcourse when they were dug up from the earth to be shipped to you, they would have been even more dormant, but between then and now, the buds will be forming even if we cant quite see them yet, so now you have them planted into pots or greenhouse borders, you should still give them a little water, just enough so the roots get moist but not soaked. by the end of Feb start of march, the sap should start to rise and the new growing tips will follow. hope this helps alleviate some of your worries, if you keep them in the warmer house, they will spurt into new growth and that growth will be over tender as it will be out of season for the plants you mentioned, also you want them to slowly waken up, they have already been in a bit of shock by being dug up from the soil, so let them come to life for spring as they normally would, not late winter as like now.
Bonsai, all these plants are outdoor type trees and will never survive inside, it is a case of the trees being grown in there normal environment with the exception of the stunting of the growth, not changing there climate so much, so when you see a bonsai tree say a fir tree, it grows outside but gets special treatment by trimming the roots, pruning the growing tips and unwanted side shoots and twisting/bending the tiny branches till over a few years, you start to get the shape you want and natural looking only miniature in size, they dont need too much watering as there are such small amount of roots, they are only barely watered enough to prevent the trees from going brown or dying, there are some really great books for doing bonsaii for beginners right through to experts, but from what my sister-in-law said, you ain't going to get anything like the showroom trees/shapes for a few years, some species are easier than others but like proper trees, some grow faster than others. good luck. from what I can gather, it wont take you too long before you are hooked on this form of garden art. WeeNel.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

January 14, 2008
2:32 AM

Post #4398500

You're right, all those plants will be perfectly hardy in zone 5. But the reason I was suggesting keeping them heated is that the nursery that sold them may have had them in a warm greenhouse (many mail order nurseries in this country do things that way, and the fact that the plants are not looking very dormant makes me suspect this was the case with these plants). If they're used to being warm and toasty, then in order to move them to a colder environment, you need to harden them off, getting them used to cold temperatures gradually. Or you keep them in the heated greenhouse and then pull them out in the spring. You can definitely do things either way, I just figured if there was space in the heated greenhouse that way takes less time & effort.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

January 14, 2008
11:45 PM

Post #4402424

I understand about the different methods of growing plants from country to country Ecrane, but the fact that these were mentioned to be bare rooted small plants gave me to thinking they were grown in the open field rather than in a heated greenhouse, trees that are of the kind mentioned would be very expensive plants if they were grown inside a heated greenhouse and then shipped as bare rooted specimens in winter as the journey and transportation would in fact cause more harm to the young plants just by the cold at the roots. also for a tree supplier to grow an amount of young trees for sale to the public would suggest they have vast areas of heated greenhouses or tunnels, that would also make me think they were unsuitable for delivery at this time of year and costly also, I would find it almost impossible for growers to sell plants straight from a heated environment, send a good distance from there warm growing place and expect them to survive unless they were specially packed with heat retention packaging and definitely not with bare roots, but hey, strange thing happen. I was working on the assumption they were field grown plants ready to be planted in either the open ground if weather permits or in pots in a cool environment, keeping in mind, none of the plants mentioned are of the tender species, and are not indoor plants, either at seed sewing time or after germination, but just needing protection from hard frosts, till the bare roots get going into compost with some small amount of moisture, and set outdoors from the protection of a cold greenhouse once the new growing tips can tolerate harsher conditions out doors for themselves. but good luck whichever way you go with them. WeeNel.
flowerprincess
Ogden, UT

January 15, 2008
12:06 AM

Post #4402505

Thanks ecrane3 and Weenel for your help, I don't know what I would do without you. I run the greenhouse as a passion now, but it is also my job and I am on my own, learning more each year, I appreciate all the help and advice you have given.

I have another greenhouse question, for my plant guru's, this is my third year, and I have had a great success in the past. I tried lots of new plants and they were healthy and bloomed beautiful.
This year, I had an epiphany to put timers on the heaters under the seeds that are germinating. Helps me not have to jump up every morning and hurry and turn them off. Now I am questioning grow lights, due to our long overcast winters here, I believe the grow lights may help significantly. We had some beautiful sunshine today, but probably the first day in over a week.
Have you used grow lights before? and how much light should the plants have?

WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

January 15, 2008
1:02 AM

Post #4402798

Hi Flowerprinces, sorry but I never use grow lights here in my greenhouse, the truth is, they are so expensive to buy the actual bulbs required, I'M talking hundreds of dollars equivalent, but I have sometimes resorted to using ordinary light bulbs and making either a canopy or wall behind the seed trays using thick cardboard covered in my kitchen roasting foil you buy by the role to cover your roasts, this gives good reflection from the ordinary bulbs, I'll be honest, I cant say if it helped the development of the seeds any faster than had I not tried it out, but then I do try just to keep the glass as clean as possible to let in as much sunlight as is possible in winter, I find the warmer conditions help me better for bringing on my seeds, but I find that the seeds I plant a few weeks later than the first, soon catch up with the others about April time, by then I am trying to shade the greenhouse, never easy is it, if it ain't one worry, then there is another, last year about September time, there was a long discussion by others re grow lights, in fact, maybe Len was one of the people talking about it, it was really interesting though, dont know if there is a specific forum on the site for greenhouse growers or Polly tunnels. wish I could help you more but hope someone else will be able to answer you fully. good luck. WeeNel.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

January 15, 2008
1:49 AM

Post #4403111

So were your plants bare-root? It had sounded to me like they were in soil and not really dormant, that's why I had suspected they had been grown in a greenhouse and in that case you definitely don't want to dump them suddenly into a situation where they're going to be really cold. But if they were bare root and dormant then WeeNel is right and cold wouldn't be a big deal.

As far as lights--for plants you don't need to add additional lights, but for seedlings it would be very helpful. Plants are used to seasons where sometimes they have longer days than others, so it's probably best to let them have whatever light the sun chooses to give them. But for seedlings that are just starting out, lots of light is really important, if they don't get a good number of hours of light they tend to get really leggy. When I'm starting seeds, I leave the lights on for 16 hrs. I also leave my heat mats on all the time. I don't know what you're growing, but if it's plants that are helped by having bottom heat then they may actually germinate faster if you leave the heat mats on the whole time.
flowerprincess
Ogden, UT

January 15, 2008
3:41 AM

Post #4403791

I just have the seedlings in trays on shelfs in the center of the greenhouse, I place a heater on the very bottom shelf and cover the whole shelf unit in plastic over night, then every morning I open the plastic up, holds the heat in well, just have to get out there when the sun comes up cuz it heats up quickly.

Well I am glad I asked about the lights; I think I will save on the budget maybe just get one light for seedlings. I have geraniums, petunias, lobelia queen victoria, coleus, columbines and coral bells germinating now. The geraniums and petunias are up and doing great, think the others take longer to germinate. I have several more to go, but will start them in February :)

The plants were not dormant, they came clumped together green as green, the japanese maples look a bit dormant; they have a few leaves on them, but the leaves don't look so good.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

January 15, 2008
3:45 AM

Post #4403808

You don't have to buy expensive lights either--I have cheapo fluorescent light fixtures that I picked up at Lowes and I've seen other people post that they use shop lights. So there's definitely no need to go buy the expensive things that the garden places will try to sell you! The key is keeping them on for 14-16 hrs, and also make sure that once the seeds germinate the light is only a few inches above the tops of the seedlings. Any farther away than that and you lose a lot of the benefits.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

January 18, 2008
1:55 AM

Post #4417839

Flowerprincess, I have to agree that you dont really need big expensive grow lights, folks managed without them years ago, I do know here at home in UK, it was really commercial growers that used them as they needed plants growing way ahead of the season for the public so they could have them in the stores much earlier than we could ever plant them out, what I have found for myself to give that kind of treatment, my own plants are really only a few weeks behind the shop plants and even then, they are still too tender to plant out in-case of frost, now as we all know, we can buy anything the commercial growers can, but at a huge cost, but you might have much better conditions outdoors early spring than I have. Give it a go with the method Ecrane suggested as she has tried and tested it and gets good results, like all our gardening, trial and error is usually the best way, if it is not the best way for you, then you will still have time to get new seeds started again I feel sure. Good luck, you sound as if you are really busy already, wish my weather would improve some. WeeNel.
flowerprincess
Ogden, UT

January 22, 2008
1:19 AM

Post #4435445

Thank you, all my seeds came up within germination time, so I guess I'll just keep doing things they way I have.
Last year, I learned to start my plant times earlier, and all flowers were ready in time, so I'll stick to the tried and true.

We have had so much snow this year! There is like 2 ft outside and it just keeps snowing. We sure needed it, I love being in the warm greenhouse and growing plants in the middle of winter. But I have serious early spring fever!

Thanks again for info
flowerprincess
Ogden, UT

January 27, 2008
5:49 PM

Post #4460643

I decided to do a little of both, I have a heater under the shelfs, but didn't cover in plastic so they are averaging about 50 - 65.
I noticed the japanese maples are greening up and buds looking good!
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

January 28, 2008
11:54 PM

Post #4466539

Hi Flowerprinces, so glad all is well with the baby plants, what are we gardeners like, worrying yourself frantic over little plants eh, but hey that's what gardeners do. Hope all goes well and by springtime, the next worry will be "where am I gonna put all those lovely plants, he he he. good luck, glad you found the best way for you and the babies. WeeNel.
flowerprincess
Ogden, UT

January 29, 2008
1:35 AM

Post #4467003

Thank you :)

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