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Author Topic: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!  (Read 3270 times)

Paul Cumbleton

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Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« on: August 18, 2018, 06:40:00 PM »


Not exactly an alpine but, from Australia, Ptilotus manglesii is a plant I have been wanting to grow for more than 20 years having first seen it in the alpine house at Kew. An Australian friend recently got some seed for me so at last I have been able to enjoy this "Mulla Mulla". It's fabulous.

Paul

(SORRY MAGGI, POSTED IN WRONG THREAD. COULD YOU MOVE THIS PLEASE TO A NEW TOPIC?)
« Last Edit: August 18, 2018, 10:09:28 PM by Maggi Young »
Paul Cumbleton, Somerton, Somerset, U.K. Zone 8b (U.S. system plant hardiness zone)

I occasionally sell spare plants on ebay -
see http://ebay.eu/1n3uCgm

http://www.pleione.info/

hamparstum

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2018, 06:53:12 PM »
Paul, I'm delighted with you fabulous mistake! I wouldn't ever had seen such a marvel...well even it doesn't grow in South America...it is still a southerner.... ;D . Thank you for posting it!
Arturo
Arturo Tarak

Maggi Young

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2018, 10:08:57 PM »
Made a new spot for it, Paul.    We didn't seem to have a thread for amaranthaceae ! ;)
« Last Edit: August 18, 2018, 10:10:38 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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Lawrence

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2018, 10:17:46 PM »
Wow!!!! That's fabulous Paul

Rick R.

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2018, 01:15:38 AM »
Incredible, Paul!  8)

What size pot is it in?
Rick Rodich
just west of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
USDA zone 4, annual precipitation ~24in/61cm

brianw

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2018, 09:28:17 AM »
Paul
After your venture into floral plumbing. Do I really believe a rather sad looking rosette covered in glorious feather dusters ;-)
Edge of Chiltern hills, 25 miles west of London, England

ChrisB

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2018, 10:11:04 AM »
Never seen anything like it, its like a fantasy flower!  Lovely...
Chris Boulby
Northumberland, England

Darren

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2018, 12:51:48 PM »
Beautiful plant Paul.
I remember seeing this in a show report in the AGS bulletin years ago and have been on the lookout ever since! It is a gorgeous thing.
Darren Sleep. Nr Lancaster UK.

fermi de Sousa

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2018, 02:11:29 PM »
Not easy to grow even in Australia!
Well done
cheers
fermi
Mr Fermi de Sousa, Redesdale,
Victoria, Australia

Paul Cumbleton

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2018, 05:44:14 PM »
Incredible, Paul!  8)

What size pot is it in?

Rick, the pot is a 9cm square pot and 12cm deep. I got 8 plants from the sown seed and they were actually quite variable in both leaf shape and the length of the flower stems. This one was by far the most compact and attractive. The flower stems are 4-5cm long - on some of the other plants the stems got up to 30cm long! I am not sure if this is just genetic variation or possibly linked to how I've grown them - as I wasn't sure how best to do this, I tried various compost types. This compact one is growing in pure cat litter (moler clay), some of the long-stemmed ones are in a more normal loam/grit kind of mix. Given their native habitat is dry, sandy/gravelly I have been surprised at how much water they have needed to stop them from wilting. Perhaps this is due to being grown in a pot and through this exceptionally hot summer.

Paul
Paul Cumbleton, Somerton, Somerset, U.K. Zone 8b (U.S. system plant hardiness zone)

I occasionally sell spare plants on ebay -
see http://ebay.eu/1n3uCgm

http://www.pleione.info/

Rick R.

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2018, 06:53:43 PM »
Lots of really usable information, there, Paul.  Thank you.

  We all love to see the great photos, but really, how much more valuable they are when presented in context.  Every picture has a backstory, and I wish more people would volunteer relevant information as you did.   :) :) :)
Rick Rodich
just west of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
USDA zone 4, annual precipitation ~24in/61cm

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2018, 03:41:11 AM »
How long from seed to flower?
Diane Whitehead        Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

Paul Cumbleton

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2018, 05:51:52 PM »
How long from seed to flower?

Hi Diane,
I received the seed from Australia in July last year (2017). I was ignorant as to its potential viability in storage, so decided to sow it straight away. It germinated within a few weeks and made nice small plants by the end of autumn. Flower shoots became evident in Spring this year. They take ages to develop - several weeks - but eventually it was flowering by early summer. So not quite a year from sowing to flowering. I suspect that Spring-sown seed may possibly flower in the same year - I'm going to test this idea next year by sowing some seed in early March. I'm able to do this because luckily my plants have set some seed. I hadn't expected this as Kew say their plants have never set any seed in cultivation and they propagate them by root cuttings. The amount of seed set seems to be small, even in the wild. When you buy the seed they actually send you a load of complete flower heads and you have to carefully search through to find the few seeds. You are lucky if you get one to two seeds per flower head. My own plants are making seed at about the same rate as that.

Paul
Paul Cumbleton, Somerton, Somerset, U.K. Zone 8b (U.S. system plant hardiness zone)

I occasionally sell spare plants on ebay -
see http://ebay.eu/1n3uCgm

http://www.pleione.info/

nadeshiko

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2020, 07:01:56 PM »
Hi Paul! (I understand that a lot of time has passed)
Plz tell us about the future fate of the rose mulla mulla (ptilotus manglesii).
You wrote that the plant grows in pure cat litter (moler clay).
Have you tried growing in another substrate (lechuza / seramis)?
I got a lot of seeds.I want to avoid mistakes.

Paul Cumbleton

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Re: Australian plant - thriving in Somerset!
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2020, 07:05:02 PM »
My Ptilotus manglesii plants have continued to grow and flower. In addition to the cat litter, I have tried them in various other substrates, including a typical alpine mix (50% loam + 50% grit), a 50/50 mix of alpine substrate and commercial organic compost , and also in pure organic compost (a mix of composted bark, coir and wood fibre sold as Sylvagrow). They seem happy in all of these, so I dont believe that it matters very much what type of substrate you use.

When you buy seeds of this Ptilotus, what they send you is actually a whole dried flower head. Ptilotus is one of those plants that makes very few viable seeds (just like many daisies for example). They are also difficult and time consuming to extract, so they send you the whole flower for you to search through yourself and see if you can find any seeds. So, your picture shows the dried flower parts.

To help you find the seeds, see the pictures below where I have dissected the flowers. The first picture shows you where to look for the seed it is not the bit at the bottom of each floret, but the seed capsule (if there is one) is located above this. Carefully dissect open the floret to see if there is a seed capsule there. Empty capsules are small and un-swollen ,as shown in the next picture. Capsules containing seed are swollen, as in the third picture. (There is only one seed per capsule). If you press on this with something like the point of a pencil, the seed will pop out as in picture number 4. Take care with this, pressing gently if you are not careful the seed will shoot out at high speed and be lost! With luck you will eventually find a few viable seeds as shown in the last picture. Because of the low rate of seed production it is sadly possible that you will not find any viable seeds at all in the amount that you show in your picture.

Good luck!
Paul
Paul Cumbleton, Somerton, Somerset, U.K. Zone 8b (U.S. system plant hardiness zone)

I occasionally sell spare plants on ebay -
see http://ebay.eu/1n3uCgm

http://www.pleione.info/

 


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