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Video: How To Grow Thuja From Seeds
This evergreen thuja
Evergreen trees and shrubs in ornamental gardening have always been highly valued both for their beauty and for their phytoncidal effect on the environment. Indeed, the essential oil of western thuja sterilizes the air, which makes its use in home landscaping very useful. No wonder thuja was called in ancient times the tree of life.
Thuja is a genus of the cypress family, represented by trees 12-18 m high, rarely up to 75 m (at home - North American giant thuja), and shrubs of various heights. Leaves are scaly, in juvenile (young) plants - acicular (there are juvenile garden forms, for example, thuja juvenile with acicular needles, propagated by cuttings).
In our zone, it is the western thuja (Thuia occidentalis L.) of North American origin and its numerous garden forms (golden-tipped, yellow, yellow-variegated, columnar, spherical, ericoid, elvanger, etc.) widespread. Frost resistance, resistance to strong winds, resistance to the smoky atmosphere of cities makes this species very attractive in landscaping.
Thuja perfectly tolerates haircuts, therefore it is suitable for creating architectural forms of the crown and hedges. It grows, however, slowly - by the age of 10 it reaches a height of about 2 m (garden forms have their own growth parameters). Due to the slow growth, planting material is expensive, especially imported.
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Probably few gardeners know that it is very easy to grow a spherical and pyramidal thuja from seeds, which are best collected after winter frosts. Gardeners are patient people, they lay gardens for tens of years of life, and for 2-3 years it is a pleasure to watch young thujas. It is interesting to know that, according to literary data, thuja lives up to a thousand years …
The garden forms of thuja are variegated, golden, with needle-shaped needles, require vegetative reproduction (cuttings, grafting). The advantage of seed propagation is that you can get an unlimited amount of planting material (how many seeds you collect, and grow seedlings as much). It is curious that the seeds from the spherical garden form of the thuja give in the offspring about half of the spherical and the second half of the pyramidal forms of the thuja. Conversely, seeds of a pyramidal garden shape give in the offspring the same splitting into spherical and pyramidal shapes. You can sort them already in the second year of life.
Cones at the ends of thuja branches ripen in the first year of fruiting. It is very easy to notice them on an adult tree - they are brown-orange or light brown, resemble the branched branches of thuja, only turned brown from the cold. By the way, the green branches of most garden forms of thuja in winter really acquire a brownish tint, and this is a normal state for them. In spring they will turn back to intense green. These brown seed twigs with small cones are easily broken off from the tree, they are collected in the right amount from interesting specimens of adult plants and brought home to the warmth. Twigs with cones are laid out on paper or in a box in one layer, and after a day or two, small oblong cones at the ends of the branches open, small winged seeds of a reddish color spill out of them. The seed is ready - sow the thuja for your own purposes.
You can grow several different specimens specifically for improving the air at home and contemplating beautiful evergreens. They will eventually grow quite large, but, of course, not as large as in the open field (the size of the pot or tub will limit the growth of the underground and aboveground parts of the thuja).
An adult thuja at home can be dressed up for the New Year instead of a Christmas tree, which, of course, can also be grown in pots, but it does not tolerate wintering in a dry and hot apartment. So a herringbone in a container can be grown outdoors, on a balcony or terrace.
Thuja is rather unpretentious at home and at the same time looks exotic. Needs in winter in a bright cool place with moderate watering, loves spraying in summer, does not tolerate overdrying a clod of earth. From spring to autumn he feels good on the balcony, terrace, loggia. Preparing the soil for sowing includes drawing up a soil mixture and disinfecting it. As a rule, for domestic plants we take garden soil, a micro-greenhouse filled with fertilizers, and river sand (4: 2: 1).
Peat soils sometimes conceal surprises, from which plants die, unfortunately, this happened both in production and in private practice. It would be nice to check at least the acidity of the micro-greenhouse - whether it corresponds to that indicated on the package. A slightly acidic mixture with a pH of about 6.0-6.5 is suitable for thuja.
Disinfection of the soil mixture can be carried out in any usual way: steaming over boiling water for about an hour, calcining in the oven for 40-60 minutes at medium heat, or spilling with a hot solution of dark pink KMnO 4.
You can sow thuja already in February, supplementing the seedlings with a fluorescent lamp. In plastic containers made of oil "Voimix", for example, with a dozen holes in the bottom for water drainage, a drainage layer of 2-3 cm (expanded clay, sand) is laid, then the soil mixture, leaving 2 cm of space to the top of the container for further adding earth and for the growth of seedlings under cover. A thin layer (2-3 mm) of disinfected river sand is poured over the soil, the soil is slightly compacted, the filled container is spilled with a warm dark pink solution of potassium permanganate. When the moisture is absorbed, seeds are sown randomly or staggered at a distance of 1-1.5 cm from each other.
Thuja seeds are not covered with soil - this is an important condition, and it applies to sowing all small seeds in containers or seed boxes. You can slightly press them to a damp substrate, sprinkle with warm water and cover the crops with foil or glass, put the container in a warm (+ 20 … + 25 ° С) and still (before germination) dark place, for example, to a central heating battery.
As soon as the seeds hatch (after 1-3 weeks), the crops under the film are placed in a bright and cool place for hardening the seedlings and their better growth. On the surface of the container, apart from the cotyledons extending upward, pubescent small roots of the seedlings are noticeable. They need to be sprinkled with disinfected sand or a light sandy disinfected mixture, moistened by spraying, if necessary, do moderate watering and ventilate and inspect the crops every day, removing diseased seedlings with a lump of soil, followed by treatment with a KMnO 4 solution.
With good soil cultivation from fungal infection, mortality should be minimal. Fungal spores could be present both on seed pods and seeds. Therefore, before sowing, it is also useful to hold the seeds for 0.5 hours in a warm dark pink solution of potassium permanganate, then rinse with clean water, dry a little and sow. Next, the seedlings are looked after as usual. When they grow up and get stronger, after 1-1.5 months, the film cover is removed, regular spraying and watering continues. As the seedlings grow, it is no longer sand that is poured, but a disinfected soil mixture (instead of a pick), the soil surface is gently loosened. In summer, when the seedlings grow up to 5-7 cm, you can give 1 time in two weeks feeding with full fertilizer for growth ("Uniflor-growth", 0.5 caps per 2 liters of water).
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In the first year of life, thuja seedlings can not dive, but only little by little add the earth. They have enough feeding area and several additional fertilizing, and the container with seedlings will not take up much space. Seedlings will overwinter in the house, at a temperature of + 15 … + 18 ° C, with spraying and moderate watering (overdrying is dangerous).
In the spring of the second year of life, in April-May, you can plant seedlings 1 piece in small pots or plastic cups. When planting in each cup with a drainage layer, it is good to add a few crystals of AVA fertilizer to the soil, then during the season until September, nitrogen fertilization will be sufficient once every 10 days with a weak urea solution (1 g / 1 l of water). If you do not put the slow-acting AVA fertilizer in the substrate, then liquid fertilizing should be done with full fertilizer ("Uniflor-growth", 0.5 caps per 2 liters of water). Specimens of one garden shape (spherical or pyramidal) planned for home maintenance are planted 2-3 seedlings in one pot, which will accelerate the receipt of the maximum decorative effect of thuja.
Conifers overwinter in the house at a temperature of + 12 … + 15 ° C and a relative humidity of 65-75%, that is, with regular spraying, moderate watering and good lighting. In the second year of life, a pallet with young plants for the summer can be taken out to the balcony in partial shade or taken with you to the garden plot. Care for the seedlings as usual: water sparingly (avoid overdrying), spray in the morning and evening, weed, loosen and feed until September.
Young plants should spend the second winter under cover: either in a cold greenhouse in the garden (the pots dug into the ground are covered with a dry healthy leaf, covered with lutrasil, and on top - with a greenhouse frame, glass or film, spruce branches and branches for snow retention, while there should be a gap for ventilation between frames). Another option is to winter the grown thuja at home, near the glass on the windowsill, with spraying and moderate watering.
In the spring of the third year, in February-March, young thuja are transferred into larger pots corresponding to the size of the root system, with a diameter of 10-12 cm. In May, plants can be taken out on the balcony in partial shade. At the same time, after a little hardening, the largest specimens can be planted in a bright place, the rest are grown, regularly fed with full growth fertilizer ("Uniflor-growth") until the beginning of August and planted in a permanent place in the garden. At the same time, drainage (chopped branches, broken brick, expanded clay, sand), nutrient soil from a compost heap with the addition of river sand, a teaspoon of AVA crystals are placed in the planting pit, cover with soil, plant a thuja with a lump, pouring water into the planting hole, filling the roots moist earth, compacting it around the coma and not watering it after planting - dry loose earth should remain on top.Such internal watering allows the plant to take root well even on hot days and does not need watering for the next 7-10 days.
At the next watering, the near-trunk circle, after absorbing moisture, is harrowed and sprinkled with dry loose earth. In this way, destroying the soil capillaries after irrigation, they provide an optimal water regime and minimal evaporation of moisture, which is especially convenient for gardeners who come to the site only on weekends.
In the garden, thuja is planted in accordance with the landscape plan: on a lawn, on an alpine slide, in a mixborder, in a hedge or in a group to create a living sculpture - the ability to grow well when cutting makes thuja a versatile plant in the garden and at home.
For the winter, young thujas are mulched with humus, lime peat, covered with a "house" with spruce branches for snow retention and shading from the bright spring sun, reflected from the snow and capable of severely burning young needles. When the snow melts, the spruce branches are removed. Or, in February-March, the crowns of thujs are wrapped with gauze, a white thin cloth from snow and sunburn.
Everything related to seed reproduction of thuja can be applied to evergreen cypress. Of course, in middle and northern latitudes, it can only grow in indoor, greenhouse conditions, except in summer, when potted specimens spend the warm season on a balcony or in a garden in the bright sun. In winter, cypresses require bright lighting with an optimal temperature of + 4 … + 8 ° C, with a relative humidity of 65-75% (spraying is regular).
This culture is suitable for both home and winter gardens, and for other well-lit spacious rooms. So if cypress cones are brought to you from the south as a gift, do not deny yourself the pleasure of growing a slender pyramidal handsome man with silvery-bluish needles from seeds on your home windowsill. And the cypress will remind you of its sultry homeland - the islands of Crete, Cyprus and the Mediterranean Sea …