Big Bluestem Seedlings

Furpaws(z6 SE Michigan)April 7, 2004

Back in January, I planted seeds of big bluestem in one of those plastic pot saucers filled about 3 inches deep with potting soil (the saucer is approx 9 or 10 inches in diameter). I now have one giant plug of big bluestem seedlings that are about 3 inches tall. My original plan calls for me to now divide the entire mass into smaller plugs, repot, and set them out in an unheated greenhouse until early fall when I will transplant them into my garden. I've noticed that some of the blades are turning reddish tan, similar to BBS's fall color. Is this normal? Do you think I ought to divide and transplant these now directly into the garden?

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froggy(z4/5 WI)

"I've noticed that some of the blades are turning reddish tan, similar to BBS's fall color. Is this normal? Do you think I ought to divide and transplant these now directly into the garden?"

yes

    Bookmark   April 7, 2004 at 6:26PM
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John_Blakeman(z5/6 OH)

No, a strong frost (still likely in southern MI) could really set these tender little plants back. I'd wait until May.

But try to keep the seedlings in the sun. The reddish color is probably a result of shading.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2004 at 3:38AM
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Furpaws(z6 SE Michigan)

Thanks to both of you for responding. Looks like I'll be dividing and transplanting to pots and moving them to the greenhouse.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2004 at 5:17PM
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oogy4plants(6B MD)

I am not very experienced, but I disagree that the seedlings will be harmed by frost, unless I am not reading your post correctly. Were they grown inside or outside in the saucers?
I have grown BBS seedlings this year using the winter sowing method- outside in recycled milk jug containers and they are not susceptible to frost. I am jealous because mine have only just sprouted and are not 3 inches high.
Now I think yours must be inside if they are that large and should be hardened off before being planted out.
It was very easy to grow them outside because I just planted them and forgot about them pretty much, just making sure they were moist.
Good luck with your bluestem!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2004 at 4:11PM
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Vera_EWASH(z5 EasternWA)

I wintersowed some too and they are way small in comparison to the one I started indoors at 4-6" clumps...they too started getting that fall color...these went out last weekend and getting 30+night temps they have greened up again.

I've made a boo boo though...I wintersowed both BBS/LBS for the meadow area bed and Blue fescue for my rock garden bed by the front deck and all the wimpy ID tags either vanished or disinigrated.....and I can't tell which ones are which on those...guess I'll be waiting a while before those go in the ground! LOL!

Vera

    Bookmark   April 15, 2004 at 9:44PM
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Furpaws(z6 SE Michigan)

oogy4plants, I started the seeds indoors and placed them on a table in front of a south-facing window. Last weekend, I divided up the big clump into 8 or 9 individual clumps, and planted each in 4-inch plastic pots. They now occupy a shelf in our unheated greenhouse (daytime greenhouse temps hover around 70+ degrees). Our nights are still on the cold side, so I'll gradually move these pots outside to harden off before planting permanently in the ground. My main concern right now is keeping them from drying out. I figure I have better control of that while they're in pots rather than losing them in the garden by August.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2004 at 10:24AM
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Doctorant(6-MO)

Seedlings grown indoors and this young could indeed be harmed by frost. In nature they don't germinate until average soil temperature reaaches the sixties and then have a whole growing season to get established. The reddish coloring is most likely due to the stress of crowding, so good idea to divide and re-pot until danger of frost is past.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2004 at 7:18PM
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Vera_EWASH(z5 EasternWA)

update on the hardend-off indoor plugs I transplanted outside...
They are now getting that 'fall' color, but other than that are just fine....our warmer weather is arriving tomorrow and steadly climbing thereafter!
Festuca ovina doing well too..

My mother in NDak. wintersowed lots of plugs of both LBS and BBS and in one season the BBS towered over her 5'2" and the LBS was knee high...

Vera

    Bookmark   April 21, 2004 at 9:39AM
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