Grow, strange seedlings, grow!

I tweeted back in September about the arrival of my Welwitschia mirabilis seeds. I planted these in a mix of standard compost cut heavily with vermiculate to improve drainage, planted the seeds, then dusted the surface with sulphur powder to help prevent fungal damping off. This is a big problem in cultivation, and in the Namibian desert, where these plants grow.

DSCN4134Back from 10 days in Scotland (visits to Fingal’s Cave and the amazing Torosay gardens), and and exciting discovery – while we were away two of those six seeds have germinated.

Less pleasing was the greenfly infestation! I’m sure they are not a natural pest in the Namibian desert. The seedlings are delicate, so I gently removed the aphids one at a time with a paintbrush. And then again the next day. And the day after.

Now is the tricky time when fungal infection can easily kill the seedlings. I’m hoping careful watering from the base and my soil mix will keep them alive until the grow their first  and only two adult leaves, when they become much hardier plants. Time will tell.

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