Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Free blueberry cuttings!

I received in the mail today hardwood cuttings of five blueberry cultivars from the National Clonal Germplasm Repository:
  • Beckyblue
  • Bluegem
  • Aliceblue
  • Pearl River
  • Gulfcoast

All these are rabbiteye blueberries, well-adapted to Central FLA climes, with very low chill-hour requirements (under 200). At least the Pearl River and Aliceblue are fairly difficult to come by -- they aren't appropriate for large-scale farming (they ripen over a long period, for instance), and have therefore fallen out of cultivation.

I am supposed to get two cuttings of blackberries that are Central-FLA approved sometime soon: Oklawaha and Flordagrand.

From what I've read, getting hardwood Bb cuttings rooted is tough, but I invested in some high-tech new-fangled (and VERY expensive!) rooting hormone, and I'll give it a shot. For the moment, I've got them in straight-up vermiculite, but I've read in my propagation book that I should do a 50-50 vermiculite/peat mix. The cuttings look as though they were made yesterday. They arrived in an overnight package. All for zero bucks. A great service from our government!

An Update: Some quick answers to questions from the comments section:
  • Let's see... There's rumor that one can grow raspberries as an annual crop here in Central FLA: Just order the canes from up north, plant them in fall, and harvest in spring. The only other raspberry that does well in our zones (9a through 10a) is the Mysore raspberry (Rubus niveus), a tropical bramble. It's considered an invasive plant, but if you're living in a disturbed ecosystem (you are), then cultivating it in a home garden isn't a problem. What is a problem is finding it for sale.
  • Here's how to order blueberry cuttings:
    • Go to the list of available cultivars and decide which you'd like to order. In FLA, the main consideration is low chill requirements. (To find your chill hours here in FLA, see here.)
    • Then read their distribution protocols and make your request here. Bear in mind that you have to request cuttings (or seeds , etc.) at particular times of the year. For instance, for the hardwood cuttings above, I made my request back in August for cuttings delivered in January (when the plants are dormant).

13 comments:

Claire Splan said...

This sounds interesting. How does one hook up with the repository and participate in their generosity?

Miranda said...

I am also interested in revieving some blueberry cuttings.

Also, have you grown raspberries here and if so, which cultivars do you recommend?

Thanks,

Miranda Smith

Nichole said...

I'm also very interested in blieberry cuttings. My husband and I have been thinking about growing some. Do you mind sharing with me how you went about getting them? Thanks!

Nikki in Apollo Beach

Robert Brinkmann said...

Ache,
Saw your post on the storm, glad you are all okay!!
Street14

Central FLA Gardener said...

I've answered these questions in the main body of the original posting.

Hey, Robert!

Nichole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nichole said...

Thanks for your incredibly helpful info

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