Transporting plants

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Transporting plants
« on: June 20, 2011, 08:07:56 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions for cuts - I'll give it a try (so far I've been too nervous about the poor plants to take the knife to them).

As for transport, for the first two years of doing loads of cuttings/seed-raised plants in the UK, we were fortunate that our co-owners drove out to Greece at more or less the right time in late autumn with their car loaded with plants (still in their pots) double-banked in cardboard boxes. We followed a week or so later and the plants had survived both the journey and the short period before we arrived reasonably well. In 2010, we took them by plane. We first replaced their pots with small plastic bags and then laid them head to toe in layers in double-walled cardboard boxes packing them with paper where they seemed to be at risk of moving around too much. We took arouond 100 plants in three boxes (and no other hold luggage) and didn't have any trouble with the airline. By and large, the plants were OK, though ironically it was the ones that were a bit pot-bound that came out looking freshest. Cistuses looked the sickest which is not surprising as they hate root disturbance. We have yet to see how well they'll survive this summer.
I garden and have a wholesale hardy cyclamen nursery in south east England. Also garden on the Mani peninsular in southern Greece and to a lesser extent in south-west France. Am an MGS and Cyclamen Society member, and have been involved with the journal for the latter for nigh on 20 years.

David Bracey

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Re: Transporting plants
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2011, 03:46:47 PM »
I have very successfully transported plants around the world simply by
knocking the plants from the pots, gently washing the soil or removing it by
hand and then simply wrapping the plant in newspaper which is then dampened
and the whole placed in a plastic bag.  It is fail- safe.
MGS member.

 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

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John

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Re: Transporting plants
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2011, 05:25:29 PM »
With plants such as Cistus I would certainly try to take out small plants. Perhaps even taking out plants grown from cuttings and hardened off but still very young. Planted in the autumn obviously. This should really apply to all of the plants that are expected to be drought tolerant, perhaps with the exception of totally succulent plants.
If you have to try with an older plant then I would try teasing out much of the root ball especially if it has coiled around the pot and then trimming them back to a manageable size.  I think this is worthwhile risking even if you lose some plants as the consequences of planting a truly pot bound shrub or more importantly tree are probably poor growth and even the plant blowing over when mature.
Not drought tolerant but I will mention that this year at work we had two large tubs of Brugmansia which had been pot bound for two years. Last year despite being well fed they were poor. This year I decided to give them another chance so I reduced their root ball by about half having cut them back to a woody base of about 30cm. As well as fresh compost I included about 10 handfulls of chicken manure pellets per plant. The tubs being about 50cm diameter. They are now a very deep green and just started flowering, covered in buds and are about 2 meters high.
John
Horticulturist, photographer, author, garden designer and plant breeder; MGS member and RHS committee member. I garden at home in SW London and also at work in South London.