New Jersey Tea

fiddlrs3(NE Illinois)February 7, 2010

Can New Jersey Tea be broadcast seeded and expected to establish, or do you need to buy plants?

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terrene(5b MA)

I don't know about broadcast seeding - it it works, but it might be difficult to identify and protect the tiny seedlings. I winter-sowed Ceanothus americanus last year. I soaked the seeds for 24 hours in hot water and then sowed in milk jugs in early winter. They sprouted abundantly, and I transplanted the sprouts to small pots in the summer. They were easy to start from seed.

I don't know how well they will grow this year, but I hope to plant them out to their permanent spots while they are still fairly small (under 1 foot). Supposedly these do not like to be transplanted. They will grow in rocky, dry, poor soils and slopes, so it's probably best to plant them out while small and let the roots establish themselves.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 3:37PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

I bought 2 from an on-line source. They died. I bought some more in tiny little cups from a Native Plant Sale. They died too. So then I went to an actual Native Nursery who had them in 3 gallon pots. These are the only ones that have ever lived. So for "me", these weren't easy! lol...they were hard!!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 11:34AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Well, Terryr, now you have me worried. Mine were quite small when I transplanted them to pots. I hope they make it through the winter!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 8:57PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

I'm sorry! I didn't mean to worry you or anyone else! I just had really bad luck with them. Now however, these nice sized ones are doing great! Here's hoping yours come thru the winter fantastic!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 11:04PM
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A wonderful plant. Plant lots of them, since they appear to be a rabbit favorite.

My plants were all purchased from Prairie Nursery as small plugs years ago; all did fine. This year for the first time I tried spreading the seeds in a newly planted area. I have heard and read that they are difficult to germinate, but I did not attempt any special treatment. We'll see what happens.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 1:17PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

You have to protect them from rabbits, else they will go nowhere.

I bought 3 fairly large shrubs (5 gal size) and the rabbits ate them to nubs. I put up a chicken wire circle to protect the nubs and the rabbits knocked it over. So I had to buy sturdier woven wire fence and stake it firmly into the the ground.

Its taken about 3 years for the nubs to recover, but they are doing fine. I was told they need to be big enough to survive browsing before I can remove the fencing. Without the fencing, I would have nothing left.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:44AM
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ontnative(5b Can/USDA 4)

JPW, I've had difficulty establishing NJ Tea plants, but it never occurred to me that it might be the rabbits browsing on them. Thanks for the info tip about the fence. I will pass it on to other local wildflower growers who are wintersowing NJ Tea this year. I just thought that it might not be hardy in my area.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 10:04AM
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how do we keep the rabbits away without killing them?

Here is a link that might be useful: poison ivy remedies

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 3:43PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)
    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 10:41AM
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My rabbit strategy is to outwit them. I find that they are creatures of habit--they keep browsing at the same spot. If you spread the plants around, they never find all of them. So plant many different species, and spread them around as randomly as possible (that's what nature does).

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 2:19PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

I use metal cages also. I have a lot of metal cages in our postage stamp yard ΓΆΒΊ. They're out browsing now, but it's too wet to be out there digging up and moving the plant. I took a few of the cages off some plants last year and found that the plants had gotten big enough that the bunnies no longer were interested.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 7:06PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I'm still struggling with trying to get some to germinate. How is the tea, anyway? Is it worth all the trouble?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 4:21PM
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susanswoods(Z6 VA)

I started some seeds from my plants this winter, winter sowing method. First I cleaned the seeds and rubbed them between two sheets of sandpaper to scarify them. I planted them in seed starting trays with clear covers with holes poked in them for ventilation. About a week ago I had sprouts and they now have their first true leaves. I've removed the covers and they seem to be off an running.

It hadn't occurred to me to try making tea. I grow them for insects and birds who like the nectar and the little insects the fuzzy flowers support.

Here is a link that might be useful: My natives blog

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 11:22AM
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I believe the name New Jersey Tea comes from the Revolutionary period. Patriots who refused to pay the British tea tax (as in the Boston Tea Party) tried making teas from all kinds of other plants.

I wouldn't try eating or drinking any plant without very specific information on how to prepare it and whether it was safe!

Here is a link that might be useful: follow me on twitter

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 2:35PM
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