Tuesday , December 11 2018

Alpines, usually require more attention than other plants, so growing them in pots ensures that special watering, compost or feeding requirements are provided for each plant.  You can grow them in plastic pots, which retain moisture well, or in clay posts, which are more attractive if you are going to exhibit your plants. In plastic pots, the soil dries out slower than in clay pots, so be careful not to overwater the plants grown in plastic pots. To prevent any further problem with diseases you should clean and sterilize all pots before you use them. To sterilize your pots you can use sterilants based on dilute solutions of sodium hyper-chlorite. Do not use tar-based disinfectants.

Alpines in Pots

For best growing conditions you should use a freely draining compost to plant your alpines. Add a layer of broken crocks in the bottom of clay pots or a layer of grit in the bottom of plastic pots to ensure that water will not stagnate in the bottom of the pot and suffocate the roots. Most alpines will grow well in a mixture of equal parts of loam-based potting compost and grit.

Alpines that are native in high, alpine habitats of scree and rock-face crevices and any cushion-forming plants need a less fertile and more freely draining mix in order to maintain their neat, natural habit. If you grow these types of alpines in a rich compost they will become quickly soft and lush. This way they will be more prone to pests attacks and diseases. For these plants you should use a mixture of up to three parts grit to one part loam-based compost.

Alpines that are native from woodlands or those that grow in humus-rich pockets in rocky habitats will prefer a well-drained compost that is rich in organic matter. For these alpine you should use a mixture of one part loam-based compost, one part grit and two parts leaf mould, peat substitute or peat.

Before planting any plant make sure you check on the individual needs of each plant before selecting the appropriate compost. Make sure that for lime-hating plants you chose ingredients that are all lime-free. To avoid any planting problems, specially on alpines that need a less rich compost, introduce them to their new medium while they are young. This way they will adapt easier to the new medium, especially if they have been potted on from a more fertile medium.

After planting up the pots you should top-dress them with a layer of grit or stone chippings. This will prevent the growth of mosses and liverworts, will keep the neck of the plants well drained and not at last, will enhance the plants appearance. Use a top-dressing that is appropriate to the pH requirements of each plant.

You may also be in position to repot some of your alpines when they have outgrown their pots. Transfer them carefully into a slightly larger pot, disturbing their roots as little as possible. Repot herbaceous and shrubby plants in spring and summer, when they are growing strongly, and bulbous plants when they are dormant. Plant them in their new pot at the same level as they were planted in their old pot. Firm in fresh compost and then add a new layer of top-dressing. Water well after potting by standing the pot at least 2.5-5 cm of water until the top of the compost becomes moist, then remove the pot to avoid the risk of root rot.

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Sempervivum, also known on their common name as Houseleeks or Hens and Chicks, are succulent evergreen perennials that produce low, compact, evergreen, flower-like rosettes of succulent leaves. The plants send out numerous offsets, and spread in this manner to form a dense colony. The parent rosettes are the hens, and the smaller rosettes that spring from them are the chicks or chickens.

Although grown for its foliage, usually used in rock gardens, hens and chicks do flower. Flowers of up to half a metre develop on the branches and their colour vary from rose to pink. The foliage of hens and chicks plants are normally green at the base and reddish brown at the tip, all with close, rigid dented edges.

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