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Guaranitica rhizomes

Posted by hawkeye_wx z5 east-central IA (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 15, 12 at 12:59

I have two blue ensigns that are behaving differently with regard to rhizomes. In spring of last year I got a new small plant from Rich. It performed well and became big, but there were no rhizomes at all. I dug it up and overwintered the root/tuber clump in a cool, dark basement. This spring it re-grew from a couple spots on the old wood stem, with nothing sprouting from the crown and obviously nothing from any rhizomes because there were none. This summer the plant has performed wonderfully and it large and dense. However, again I see no evidence of any rhizomes in the top couple inches of soil surrounding the crown. I thought for sure this year it would finally begin producing them given the plant's maturity.

My second blue ensign is different. At the end of last season I took cuttings and managed to root a couple in a 4 inch pot. I overwintered the cuttings in my window. This spring I noticed a new green shoot emerging from the edge of the pot. I dug down and realized this was a rhizome growing out of one of the cuttings. In May I planted the cutting with the rhizome. In contrast to the other blue ensign, this plant sent up more new shoots from below the surface and has continued to send out more rhizomes all season.

I definitely want some rhizomes so the plants will be bigger and fuller next year. Could Rich or anyone else explain why the original plant is not producing them and the newer one is?

I have also only had one black & blue ever produce rhizomes. That plant is fantastic this year. As far as I know, the other three black & blue that were overwintered and planted this year are still not producing any rhizomes. I wish they would.

My argentine skies produce a lot of rhizomes, which apparently they tend to do.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Guaranitica rhizomes

In order to develop stolons or tubers, there needs to be an active node on the underground portion of the plant. With many of the tuberous sages, there is no active eye on the tuber, and a healthy node on an attached stem is needed to send out either new stems or stolons. The latter will develop stems later.

This is why I always try to include at least one node under the surface of the rooting medium. Sometimes, there is a little rot that works its way up the stem and destroys the node, but roots form and the plant survives and grows.

Nodes are also natural barriers to pathogens, and many cuttings put out roots at the nodes. Most of the time, the nodes survive, and axillary growth from the node develops normally. Occasionally, the axillary growth is blocked.

Cuttings root best from stems showing robust growth, since the tissues have not hardened off, and there is both a larger reserve of nutrients and the means to generate sugars for tissue growth.

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