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Can I split 2 week Lobelia seedling?

Posted by Jerry71 6a (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 10, 11 at 11:53

My seedlings are now 2 weeks old and resemble a patch of moss. Since they are too small to selectively thin out by clipping can I cut into the patch with sharp Exacto knife all the way down and insert stiff plastic (old credit card cut to size) in between? I do not want to wait until all the roots are grown together.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Can I split 2 week Lobelia seedling?

They are not ready for root disturbance. Wait until you have another set of leaves. Let the soil dry a little and you will be able to separate the roots by loosening the whole root ball which has been removed from the container. Handle the seedling ONLY by the leaf, not the stem or the root. It looks like you will have at least a thousand Lobelias if you save them all. Al

RE: Can I split 2 week Lobelia seedling?

That is a tricky question, here is what I am thinking. You can plant hos (hunk of seedling) method. Which I seriously do not like this method unless I have no other choice. Though you may try it and have great success and I know others have tried it and they swear by it. They pretty much cut into the seedlings like you have above and plant out like you have a hunk of brownies, they don't separate the seedlings from one another. The reason I do not care for this method is because it seems as it takes forever for the plants to grow using this method in my soil.

With that said I would be scared to separate those seedlings now at the cotyledon stage, though they may do just fine.

This is me and only me, I would wait to see what happens. See if the plants will get their first set of true leaves, as they are now, I wouldn't wait to see the second set. If it seems to be taking awhile for the plants to develop then I would throw caution in the wind and separate them out. If they start to grow and thrive just as they are I would let them continue to grow at least till they got their first set of true leaves. Then I would separate them and replant. At the first set of true leaves the roots aren't to awfully bad for some plants. You didn't mention which type of lobelia, but looking at the pictures and comparing it to my cardinal flower you must be growing the annual lobelia. If you are growing the annual lobelia I would almost just divide that one hunk in several hunks. From my guesstimate (yes I know that isn't a real word but I still use it guess + estimate = guesstimate) I would say you could maybe get 10 hunks out of the one on the bottom left.

Sorry I am not much help on that one!! I will say very nice job at posting pictures, though!! lol

RE: Can I split 2 week Lobelia seedling?

From my experience.... They will double in size and get some good sized leaves in the next 10 days. They stall at that size for about 12 days and then really take off. I would follow Al's advice as well once they get larger. You could also cut them as you detail, you may just lose a few more, but with how many you have, you may be ok


RE: Can I split 2 week Lobelia seedling?

Thank you all for your advice. My wife asked for some lobelias: one or 2 baskets and maybe 4 more plants for mixed planters. I have never realized how many seeds dropped into each cell. I am glad that I missed one. Like you all said, I will wait a week and then take curved small scissors, cut a very narrow path in half and then split with sharp knife and insert plastic divider. It will be fun experiment.
Keriann, I can�t wait to see their interesting cycle of growth, rest and ten sprint.
I will keep posting plants and garden progress on the garden portion of my blog.
Carolyn, "guesstimate" is used very widely up here in Canada and is passed by spell checker. It is a great, descriptive word.

Here is a link that might be useful: My garden blog

RE: Can I split 2 week Lobelia seedling?

You can separate lobelia by gently pulling the clumps apart. If you turn the clumps carefully out of the cells and put your thumbs into the centre of the clump and ease them apart they will come to no harm and you will not be cutting any roots. It's a bit like opening an egg after you have tapped it on a sharp edge. They transplant easily and thrive on the hunk method. If you go and look at plants for sale at the garden centre they are almost always multiple clumps, not single plants. And like Al said, I'd wait a bit longer before separating them.

RE: Can I split 2 week Lobelia seedling?

Like I said, I will wait. There is no rush. We just got blasted with another 2 inches of snow. Yesterday my lawn was green! At least we never have an earthquake, hurricanes, brush fires or tsunamis! Snow will melt and flowers and veggies will grow and everybody happy. Well, almost everybody.
BTW, since I have a lot more Lobelias then I will need I might experiment with one cell.

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