Sunday, 27 August 2017

The Sparmannia Diaries

It feels like a large proportion of this year has been taken up with my discovery and love affair with Sparmannia africana.  Until February I am not aware of having seen one; then  I saw some at Thenford when I was there to see the snowdrops and once seen I was totally smitten.
I was determined to have some of these wonderful plants.  I bought some seeds and sowed them.  I moved them from hot to cold, cold to hot.  I gave up and ignored them in the greenhouse and then one germinated.
I was excited, I was pleased.  The slugs were pleased and devoured it overnight, this was irritating.

But I had a plan B as I had also found a plant to buy when I was at the West Woodhay Gardeners Fair.
A good strong healthy plant and I did what I always do with a new prized plant, I considered how to propagate from it and duly took some cuttings.  One cutting I potted up in the greenhouse and the other I popped into a glass of water to see what would happen.  A couple of weeks pass and the cutting in the greenhouse took.
I potted it on when it had some good roots and also took a couple more cuttings, well in for a penny.....

A couple of weeks more and I checked the cutting in the glass of water....
joy of joys, there were roots developing - result!  I potted it on and left it in the greenhouse to settle and develop further.
Am I happy with my wonderful Sparmannias?  Yes I am.

I have checked the two new cuttings in the greenhouse and....
... you guessed it, there are roots.  Few things are as magical as seeing the first roots indicating that a cutting has taken.  The patience required in waiting for this is almost too much for me but I restrain myself these days from giving the stems a little pull as that is a sure-fire way to failure.
and look, look, the large Sparmannia has flower buds forming.  Yes it is early for them them to forming, but I am over the moon with excitement.

Sparmannia africana will have to overwinter indoors as it is quite tender.  They also are very sensitive to having sufficient water, which was why I thought that it might root in water if it tried it.  I always love plants that root in a glass of water, I think it reminds me of my first attempts at propagating house plants when I was a child.

I now have gone from the start of the year with never having heard of a Sparmannia to having five, yes, five.  My Sparmannia cup overfloweth.

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