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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Podophyllum's Progress - My Favorite Plant...This Week.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I have a major crush on Podophyllum, especially Podophyllum delavayi.  Previous posts here.

Late last winter, I took a deep breath and sawed in half the roots of an especially crowded pot  of  P. delavayi.  Here it was a couple of summers ago.

It could have been sawed in quarters and still been fine but  I was being cautious.  To my surprise, both halves fairly quickly filled out their pots, bloomed and set fruit as usual.  I smeared the ripe fruit around on the soil in the fall and today there are seedlings in both pots.  They'll be left to do what they will but this fall, the fruits will be spread on flats of soil and late next winter, I'll be dividing these pots again. Maybe I'll be brave and throw one in the ground. 

Here's the other pot also with seedlings. 

Years ago, I had a large beautiful pot of P. 'Kaleidoscope' which I thought should be set free in the ground.  After it was planted, it slowly died and never returned so I'm wary about planting these in the open garden.  

This P. delavayi was planted in the ground at the same time as the previous ones in pots.  It was lovely for a year but the next year was nowhere to be seen.  The third year, it came back and here it is emerging from the ground again this year.  How can a plant simply not grow for a whole year and then come back like this?

For several years there was a large pot of P. 'Spotty Dotty' in my shade garden.  Last year it decided not to grow but look what I discovered today.  Is this a seedling from the original plant or was there a viable bit of root in there?

This one soldiers on even though it's leaves have become a bit deformed.  Thinking that it might be some sort of fungus, I treated the soil with a copper fungicide before the foliage emerged.  We'll see how things unfurl.
 In the pot ghetto, there is another that grew beautifully for two years but  there's no sign of it this spring.  I've learned to simply wait and see what happens.  Crazy plants these but I love them!   Loree at Danger Garden hosts the favorite plant meme and rounds up all of the favorites at the end of the month.

26 comments:

  1. I love all these Asian podophyllums! Someday, in another life, with a bigger garden...

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    1. There's always space for a few more plants. Maybe a pot by your back door or in a bed where a begonia experiment went awry...Not that that would ever happen to you!

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  2. That's crazy, Peter! So strange the disappearing Podophyllum trick. Good to know that they divide up like this, though.

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    1. They take forever to gain size from seedlings but once they're large, they divide themselves and put out large new plants fairly rapidly.

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  3. I found seedlings of my solid green one in the bed, about 6 or 8 feet away. I didn't realize they would self-sow. Actually I think maybe the ants or some other bugs helped. My mottled one hasn't shown up yet. I'm kind of bummed. Maybe next year I'll try taking the ripe fruit and smearing it around.

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    1. The Sinopodophyllum (Podophyllum) hexandrum var. chinense that we both picked up a few years ago is always late to emerge for us. So far this year, nothing but I bet it'll make a appearance!

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  4. This post reads like a mystery novel.
    I've only experienced this plant through your enthusiastic passion for it; it seems to be more successful in pots, though they remain outside throughout year, right? So what's the deal? Either way, you must feel like a proud papa at their great performance this spring.

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    1. They do well in pots for me but the one I have growing in the ground seems very happy. I fear putting a lot of things in the ground because I'm always digging plants and moving them and there are some thugs in my beds (natives no less) that are pretty stiff competition. This is perfectly hardy here and has handled even the phormium killing winters in the pots with no problem at all.

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  5. How lucky that P delavayi does so well for you! Gorgeous group of plants but growth can have erratic patterns too...on some of them.

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    1. Yes, some Podophyllum are as dependable as rain in the winter; others not so much.

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  6. Because I didn't know any better (pretty much how my whole life goes) I've planted almost all my podophyllum in the ground. Last spring, and again this year, I meant to dig and pot them up, reading from you and others that they do better in a container. Have I done it? No. Why? Fear that I'll kill them. Sad podophyllum are better than no podophylum, or so I tell myself.

    Oh and I had a eucomis do that disappear and reappear thing. The summer following a bad winter there was no indication they existed. The next spring, they were back! Strange.

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    1. If your podophyllum are happy in the ground, I'd leave them there. Mine that established itself in the ground, vanished, and came back seems healthy and I saw a great bed of 'Spotty Dotty' at a garden in Olympia. In the ground, they will seed around even better!

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  7. The Lazarus of the plant world perhaps? They're beautiful - I understand why you love them.

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    1. They're a mystery to me! Something I read on a plant tag of another podophyllum at a plant sale said that they need moisture during the summer but sharp drainage during the winter so that their fleshy roots don't rot. Maybe the potting soil helps with drainage during the winter. Guessing.

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  8. I love these plants too! I've planted three kinds in the ground. I didn't know they might do better in pots; seems like it would be harder to keep them moist, and I want them to spread. What is the theory behind why they'd do better in pots? And thanks to danger garden for her helpful reassurance about the P. delavayi coming up later than the others, I think I see it just starting to emerge now. :-)

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    1. I've seen very impressive beds of them in the ground, especially at Far Reaches Farm. I like some in pots because I can see them better and I worry about little seedlings set free in my garden of thuggish plants and hungry slugs. It also reminds me of the first time I saw a large P.delavayi. It was in a pot at Heronswood and I fell instantly in love. If you're having good luck with them in the ground, by all means, keep them there.

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  9. Gosh, all the mayapples that have called out to me have been in-ground. When I finally succumbed last year, that's where it went. It's coming up! Guess I haven't been paying close enough attention to your Podophylum Chronicles. When I get one with patterned leaves I may confine it to a pot and dedicate it to you.

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    1. I grow all of the other mayapples in the ground and now that these will be divided again next winter, some will find a home in the ground as they really are stunning there. The pot treatment was mostly to protect the little ones until they could fend for themselves. They just sort of stayed there.

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  10. Not a species I am familiar with but they are obviously very determined by the sounds of it.

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    1. They're lovely foliage plants and would look beautiful in your garden, Angie!

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  11. Love the leaves and spots......I too have plants that seem in stasis and then grow again. I have some Clivias that just don't grow but also don't die....I am going to try a few things once it warms up to see if I can get them going : )

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    1. Strange but interesting creatures, these plants we love!

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  12. Plant Delights says, "If you've only seen our native Podophyllum peltatum, you have missed some of the great joys of the genus podophyllum. In the great continental divorce about 250 million years ago, most of the really cool podophyllum species were on the wrong side of the great crack and got stuck in China." Maybe Podophyllums are like Lilies. I always wonder what's going on underground when they're gone for a while and suddenly reappear.

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    1. I love it! The really cool podophyllum from the wrong side of the great crack is what I'll be calling them from now on!

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  13. Gosh, I didn't realize there were so many variegated species! They're gorgeous! I have hundreds of P. peltatum in a huge patch in the wild, wooded part of my garden. It's always a joy when they begin emerging their little umbrellas through the soil in the spring. Interesting the points that Jean made. :)

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    1. Our native P. peltatum is very nice and clearly Tony Avent thinks it's from the right side of the crack!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.