Codonopsis advice

Laura & Dave
Sat, 11 Nov 2006 19:28:27 PST
Richard and all

  Sorry to hear that you lost the seedlings, but don't give up as 
they're definitely worth growing!  My guess is that the transplanting at 
an early age was the main cause of your problems.  I sow seed through a 
1/4 inch layer of chicken grit (granite) into 4" inch pots of a 
moderately organic, well draining soil. I then plunge the pots to the 
rim into a sawdust bed and leave them there for a couple of years. This 
provides the cool roots they prefer. I can grow Codonopsis in full sun, 
but I'm further north (47 N latitude) and on a lake, which keeps the 
humidity high. After two growing seasons, they have usually developed 
tuberous roots capable of surviving a bit of handling and dormancy.  
Don't sow too thickly, as the two year old roots seem to take delight in 
creative knot work, despite ample space in the pot..  For me, 3 or 4 
years need to pass before flowering, rather than the 2 or 3 often 
quoted.  But I'm a "slow" grower, not liking to push plants into 
maturity as fast as possible.

Dave Brastow
Tumwater, WA (USA) 7A
After a dry fall, we've had over 13" of rain since the first of November 

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