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Chrisr40

Seafoam - Im Growing my own

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Hello all,

 

Earlier this year I decided to have a go at growing seafoam - Teloxys Aristata. Seeds were only £1 in the sale at Dobbies so seemed like a bargain.

 

I have been pretty lucky with germination - I didnt use any special tricks like putting the seeds in the fridge before sowing, they were just sprinkled on moist compost in a seed tray on the kitchen windowsill.

 

I have attached some pics of the plants at the moment - I have potted them up from the seed tray.

 

What I would really appreciate, if anyone has the knowledge is how to care for them now. They are currently in my greenhouse but I have read that they originate from the Gobi Desert so I am not sure if I should be watering them regularly or sparingly. I think I will probably need to pot them up again soon. Having got this far successfully I would be very grateful for any advice.

 

Best Regards

 

Chris

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I thought it was harvested from under the sea - the Ghobi sea perhaps ?!

 

Im sorry, I'm just having a senior moment.

 

If you can grow your own sea moss I think that's a wonderfull idea but after all that I can't help in the slightest for when it comes to growing anything, I'm more than useless - I've seen more plants die than survive which I have had anything to do with...

 

Cheers.

Allan.

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Hello all

 

I have had a browse around the rest of the web and found a few sites with information on propogating them but very little on care for young plants. If it helps anyone else considering having a go with these it seems you need to treat them pretty harshly. They prefer to be in poor soil with good drainage and watered only every few days with a good soaking of the soil - most of which water you will loose if you have the right drainage.

If I manage to succeed with these I will post again with the results.

 

Best Regards

 

Chris

Edited by Chrisr40

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I got about as far as you have last year.I was meticulous with preparation before sowing and I did put the seeds in the fridge before sowing.The plants were watered sparingly but then mysteriously I lost the lot.I think adequate sunlight is the key but like you I couldn't find any specific information.At the time a contributer to the forum was growing them outside with apparent great success but that was in southern France I think.Please keep us posted with information regarding your "crop".

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Latest update on the seafoam experiment. So far all plants are still alive although they have undergone a quite startling change in colour. Where once they were green they are now purple (Dont quote me on that as I am horribly colour blind).

 

Growth has slowed down but I am lead to believe that this is normal and that they will put on a spurt when the weather gets warmer - lets hope so I have had enough of the rubbish weather we are having down here at the moment.

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Yes thanks for the update.My crop reached the changing colour and slower growth stage then stopped,went crispy and died.Perhaps at this point sunlight levelsand waterering need to be right.As you say the plant is a native of the Gobi desert but is this a hot or cold desert when the native plants reach this stage in their development? Very interested in this project as the price of "Forest in a box" for a big layout is expensive.

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You don't know whether they are supposed to turn red? I dunno this plant but that looks like a fungal disease... I hope I'm wrong.

 

Done some more reading. the plant should gradually turn red by the Autumn - i.e. the end of the growing season. It is not just from the Gobi desert  but grows throughout Siberia and even reaches as far west as Poland. It also grows naturally in the North East of the USA. Condition for growth are suspiciously missing! which implies mixed success. You can't go far wrong with fast draining soil and watering when dryish!

 

Best, Pete.

Edited by trisonic
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Hi Richard, Pete

 

Apparently the desert in question is subject to extreme variations of temperature - or in other words sometimes hot and sometimes cold....fat lot of good that google search did me.

Im going to keep going with the plants in the greenhouse and see what happens.

 

Apparently the colour change is normal - the illustration on the seed packet shows them in a very similar colour when presumably fully grown.

 

Im not popular with the other half at the moment as they have taken valuable bench space and are competing with dahlias, runner beans and sunflowers.

 

All the best will update when something interesting has happened

 

Chris

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http://encyclopedie.beneluxspoor.net/index.php/Zeeschuim_kweken

 

Quick update - unfortunately had a bit of a horticultural disaster. Everything was fine with the plants until we had a really hot day and they got scorched in the greenhouse. They have in the main turned brown but I am persevering with them as the root appears unaffected and they havenot gone brittle or flakey so who knows they may still bounce back.

 

I took the precaution of buying some fresh seed and have sown two more pots of them which germinated in a matter of days as opposed to the weeks it took the first batch on my windowsill. Further disasters aside I am more hopeful for these as they should get more consistent light and heat what with summer( ahem ) almost being here.

 

In case it helps anyone there is a web address at the top of the page which is somebody elses top tips on growing seafoam - unless you speak the lingo you can run it through Google Translate which will get it into 99.9% readable English. The chap in question has had success with his crops and shows the results he has had.

 

Happy modelling

 

Chris

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Hi Chris

 

thanks for the Dutch website link, I found it  very useful. I got  some great translations  'Not everryone in the fingers' + 'go weeding the weeds ' being my favs .

 

When you first posted this topic back in April my seed packet was still un opened on my desk.

 

Now mine have germinated in the cold frame and I will be potting them on soon.

 

Not proclaiming to be an expert gardener , but we have been growing veg for a number of years .

 

No two years are the same in the garden ,this year in Suffolk I would estimate that things are about 4 to 6 weeks behind the expected norm .

 

Growing things is in my experience  , very like modelling, in that you learn by your mistakes.

 

Better luck with your second sowing.

 

Martin

Edited by shinter

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How it's going? What size have they got to so far?

 

I've had a few on the go, largest about 3-4" high.

 

Planted out in the garden,

 

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In the conservatory

 

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Close  up

 

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Edited by Shadow

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Hi Martin, Shadow  - thanks for your posts and pics - hi anyone else who has stumbled across this gardeners world edition of Rmweb.

 

Things are looking up in the greenhouse - perhaps encouraged by the growth of cucumbers, tomatoes and various other bits and bobs my Seafoam has found a second wind.

The pots of very scorched looking plants have now started to fill with brand new seedlings that either had not germinated when originally sown in april or have come from the original plants that got a bit too hot set seed and promptly expired.

Some of these original seedlings have started to resemble the seafoam you can buy in boxes albeit in a more random fashion - perhaps these will do for bushes ?

 

The second sowing using exactly the same seed from the same supplier has produced two bulging pots of plants that look a lot stronger and healthier - Im umming and ahhing about thinning them out and repotting but then again no one goes around in the wild making sure they are all 4 inches apart.

 

Anyhow - here are a few pics - keep us posted on the other attempts that are going on to grow this challenging little wotsit.

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Hi all,

 

This is the third year I've tried growing sea foam and so far things are going better than in the past.  I've kept them in the greenhouse this time and been far more sparing with the watering this time.  They're still alive!  In the past they would be dead by now.  Assuming I can keep them alive for a while longer the next question is, what treatment do the plants need to ensure they last when used as part of the scenery.  Do they need to be 'felled' whilst still alive, wait until they are dead, stood in some liquid eg glycerine, or what?

 

Tony Comber

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Hi Tony

 

apologies for my tardiness in replying to your question. From what I have read we are meant to let them get to autumn and then if they havent expired already chop off the bits we want to use. Then to make them a bit stronger I understand they can be soaked in a dilute solution of glycerine then hung up to dry.

 

I think this thread may be one of those that you have to keep dipping back into to see how we are getting on.

 

Interested to know how the other guys plants are doing - I have had to rescue mine from an attack of wilting owing to the hot spell - quite weird as they are supposed to be desert dwellers.

 

regards

 

Chris

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How's the crops!

 

Two lots grown in the conservatory (small pots and square tub), third is outside! (large round tub)

 

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Latest update from the greenhouse - all seems well and I may have learnt a trick to help them grow.

 

I took the two larger pots outside as they kept collapsing from the heat and not getting enough water. Trying to water them from the top ended up with water logged foliage and plants that looked decidedly unhappy. I put the two tubs in upturned bin lids to act as a reservoir of water that they could stand in and suck up water as they normally would via the root. So far it seems to be working well. Pics follow.

 

Hope everyone else trying these this year is having success too !

 

Regards

 

Chris

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2nd year i've been trying to grow these. Planted some in Spring, like last year, in trays in green house. They grew to about 1 inch, went red and snuffed it; just like last year.

So gave them one last go in mid June. Got some seeds - suttons I think, and just scattered them on the garden soil. One watering to germinate and then I left them to their fate. Wow!!! They've grown to 3 inches already and look very healthy.

I think over watering and over-faffing is no good for them. Sow,(preferably outside, if the weather allows) water once and forget! That seems to be the way.

Think this heatwave is helping too. Amazing!

 

Dave K

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I believe dipping them in glycerine is popular to ensure good modelling life. AFTER you have harvested ;p

 

No plants likes to be too hot, some plants have techniques to survive hot weather after it is established. Seedlings (frankly anything under 3ft) needs care.

 

Always use new pots etc with difficult plants to avoid diseases etc. transfer. If you have plants die, clean pots in very hot water and use at least washing up liquid to clean them before reusing.  Cleaning of pots and tools is very important if a seedling is likely to be susceptible. 

 

Too much sun and heat is not good. Many industrial greenhouses have opening windows and blinds, go to garden centres that use poly tunnels because they do not let in too much light. They rarely have doors.

 

Water from a tray is safer and more controllable. Spraying them in hot weather is likely to scorch them, consider shade in this really hot weather.

 

We have an arboretum and have imported seed from France and the USA (the UK adde taxes!!!!). Chiltern Seeds website and their sales used to be decent for instructions. We stopped buying seed once we filled the Arboretum.

 

If some thing keeps falling over try some on your window sill where you can watch them more easily, and water little and if necessary often. Greenhouses can get too hot for plants. Plants are little devils and we have found when putting out large quantities that ones in one area can do well and other which you would think were in a similar mini ecosystem just hate it.

 

Some plants like to dry out (I say this with extreme caution) a little before being re watered, but this is more because growers tend to err on the water and over watering can cause a lot of problems. Hence watering from the bottom in a tray where the plan takes what it wants is usually safer. If the pot floats you have definiately got too much water!!! Gravel in the tray protects the water from evaporating fast.

 

Hope this helps. Oh and usually methods for growing your normal easy to grow UK plants work with most everything including exotics, as long as you do refrigerate those seeds that need it for the correct time, or leave in the correct start, neither of these seem to be an issue here - a noticeable exception being real alpines which prefer green houses with a roof but no sides. If you are having issues with plain soil consider a half soil half small gravel mix (not roadside gravel!)  this has been known to have a helpful effect on some plants.If they are from the Gobi maybe they might prefer a half soil half sand mix.

 

Googling with growing and the name usually has helpful pointers.

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Hi Jaz, Dave and other sea foam fans

 

Just returned from a week at the seaside - sunny Devon close to Torquay. No herds of wildebeest to report and I failed to find any hanging gardens but other than that a thoroughly enjoyable few days away from the hustle and bustle.

 

I entrusted my plants to mum and dad as well as my wifes mum and they had strict instructions - even so I was a little bit anxious to see how they had faired whilst we were away.

I need not have worried as they seem to be doing very well still. Fingers crossed I will be able to get some good specimens from this years crop.

 

I had exactly the same experience as you Dave with my first sowing but perseverance plays dividends. Jaz many thanks for the hints and tips I will do my best to follow them.

 

Here are a few pics of how the plants are as of today and a gratuitous pic from my holiday - guess what I dragged the family along to.

 

Best wishes

 

Chris

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Very enlightening thread chaps - with a name like 'Sea Foam' I expected to see you all messing around with bowls of water and fish tanks!

 

Good luck with the growing and converting a plant to scenic material. 

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Harvest Time!!

 

The plants are getting so thick in the planter that I've removed a few to give the others same space.

 

Also, they're grown so close together that it's hard to separate them, so whilst they are

still subtle, I'm trying to split them apart.

 

They're probably about 12" tall now, the indoor ones anyway. The outside ones are a lot shorter, and less spread.

Obviously they like the hot conservatory!

 

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Hi Shadow and anyone else ambling into this topic.

 

Thanks for your recent pics - nice to see someone elses plants for comparison.

 

I have neglected mine a bit unfortunatley but they do not seem to badly off for this mistreatment. I have not harvested any yet but will probably have a go soon as a side shoot that got snapped off by an over enthusiastic footballer in my garden has been hanging from the greenhouse roof for about a week now and appears to be a prime candidate for careful painting and flocking.

 

Here are a few pics from the garden - as you can see some of the plants have started to turn the reddish coulour that you see on the seed packets whereas others havent. I think next time I will keep them all in the green house as the sole example left in there has flourished more than those exposed to the elements.

 

Enjoy

 

Chris

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HARVEST TIME

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Armed with a pair of secateurs I have pruned my precious plants and they now hang in the greenhouse drying out. This should take a few days and then we move on the business of painting and adding foliage - gulp.

 

I think I must have been able to gather a good few boxes worth of trees so in terms of expenditure I have spent £2 on seeds, some compost that I borrowed from the wife, my time to plant and water them and finally to harvest them. In these hard pressed economic times I am pretty pleased with potential savings.

 

If any of the other contributors to this thread have moved on to the painting , flocking stage I would love to see some pics for inspiration if possible.

 

Best Wishes

 

Chris

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An excellent crop there Chris. 

 

You've given me encouragement to try again. (Last lot was a miserable failure!)

 

With that success rate, perhaps you should consider marketing your own product. I'd buy some from you!

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