Transitioning seedlings from the closet to the ground

Lykaon - Ohio Zone 6aOctober 7, 2013

I have a couple of questions about transitioning seedlings from the closet where they've been since germination in January to the ground.

1) Do I need to acclimate them to the outdoors. If so, how.
2) Can I just bury their current cup (a 16 oz solo cup) for easy transplantation next year or will they do better actually nestled into the soil?
3) Am I too late for this process?

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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Well you are a bit late. I usually get mine used to the outdoors in the Spring putting them in full shade for a few hours a day. This takes about a week. Then leave them outside overnight for a few days before planting. I see you are zone 6. When do you anticipate frost? I would not leave them in their cups while in the ground. Don't bother spreading out the roots and such, just plop them in a hole at the correct depth. You can always move them to a more permanent spot in the Spring. Mark them well and make a map of what you've done.

Having said all of this, some people leave their seedlings outside in their cups over winter. They put them in full shade and cover them with a tarp or with shredded leaves. Do they lose some? Yes, but mostly that is due to varmint damage rather than freeze or crown rot. You just need to adjust them to being outside before the temps get too cold.

The other option for you might be to put them in an attached garage for overwintering if one is available to you. That's what I will do if I'm working with a potted plant that flowers late. I finish the hybridizing inside and then put it in the garage well after frost and freeze dates. Be aware that putting them in an attached garage will cause them to arise early in the Spring and you'll have to move them in and out to avoid early frost at that time.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 8:53PM
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Lykaon - Ohio Zone 6a

The first frost usually comes in mid to late October. So I've got two full weeks at best.

I have an attached garage so I could go that route. What is the watering and light regiment for that situation. Once their dormant I assume no light is fine but until then?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Once plants are dormant and in pots or cups, do not water them. I will occasionally put a small amount of snow on a pot in my garage, but that's it. They have no need for water during dormancy. It will only cause crown rot.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 10:27AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

whats your native soil ... and whats its drainage??? .. that famous OH clay???

are you concerned about retaining crosses ... name tags .. etc??? ..

or could they all be jammed together..

are you in ground freeze area???

and finally.. how many we talking about ...

answer these questions... and i will give you my opinion ...

meanwhile.. turn off the lights ..... and put them out in the garage .. to start hardening them off ... they have been way to warm... to throw them out into 40 degree nights.. w/o a transition period ... couple nights in the garage.. then a couple days/nights against the house .... out of sun .... and be ready to do this come the weekend ..... and dont water in the mean time ....

BTW .. do you think they are gay .. having been in the closet so long????


ps: and finally.. have you been real busy since MAY .. when they should have gone in the ground.. lol ... though there was a better time.. they are hosta.. and you could probably.. wait for it.. throw them on the driveway for the winter ....

pps: and if there is a lot of them ... this would be the time to throw out half the nondescript ones .... which you probably didnt have time to cull all summer either ... lol ...

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 4:37PM
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Lykaon - Ohio Zone 6a

Yes... ohio clay.

I would like to retain crosses/labels.

The ground rarely freezes here (north of Cincinnati).

I've culled down to 12 hosta but probably 3 are definitely keepers. 4-5 are only worth saving if they prove their hardiness this winter.

Here are my favs:

The right one:

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 8:46PM
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