Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dietes seedlings

I decided I wanted to try some more tropical African irises, to accompany my Fortnight Lily (Dietes iridioides), but I couldn't find many plants for sale.  So I ordered some seeds of the Peacock Flower (Dietes biflora).  Starting plants from seed is a little new to me.  Or maybe I should say, successfully starting plants from seed is new to me.  I have tried quite a few seeds over the years and haven't had much luck.  Some recent success has encouraged me to try some more.

Dietes bicolor seedlings after 1 month
In just under a month my Dietes bicolor seedlings began to appear.  The amazing thing about these little guys is that they look just like the mature plants, but much smaller.  They already have a little fan of leaves.  For size comparison, check out the pill bug (Armadillidium vulgare) next to the seedling below.  Yes, they are that tiny.

Dietes bicolor with pill bug for size comparison

These plants are not hardy in my zone, so they will have to spend the winters in the greenhouse.  But they can be grown outdoors just 1 zone south of me, and they are considered drought resistant and good for xeriscaping.  So I might have the opportunity to plant some of these soon in a garden in southern Texas.  More about that later.

I'm really glad I had luck with these iris plants.  It is an encouraging success that gives me the option of growing my plant collection without having to spend a lot of money.  Now, I wonder how long it takes these guys to become flowering size...?  If you would like to see the flowers, you can view pictures here.

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