Baby Plants

Subject: Baby Plants

> I would like to receive some suggestions on how to handle new ba
> that some of my Echinodorus have produced. These are new (nice) 
> that I am beginning to have since I started applying the PMDD co
> One case relates to a big E. horemanni (light green narrow leave
> peduncle, veins split in the middle of the leaf, leaf margin is 
> total height ~ 20 inches) which I had since last July. About a m
> new set of leaves (smaller than the parent plant) popped out fro
> and now there are new leaves produced both from the center of th
> plant, and from the side. I am not sure, but it seems that the p
> leaves are now growing a little bit smaller, and I am wondering 
> is a problem of competition between the two plants.
> If I have to separate the new baby plant, how should I proceed? 
> pull out the whole set of plants, I am a little concerned about 
> (presumably) extensive root system of the parent plant. If this 
> justified, is it possible to pull apart the new plant just using
> to separate the two plants "in situ"? I also have a similar situ
> (my best guess) E. bleheri.

When I separate my Echinodorus, I do it just as I would a 
perennial from the garden.  I lift the entire plant mass from the 
substrate.  If the root mass is loose enough, I pull the offset 
off with my fingers.  More typically, the offset is too strongly 
attached to the parent plant to easily pull apart.  In this case, 
I divide the root mass with a sharp knife, making sure that each 
rosette comes away with a good group of roots.

> The second baby plant issue relates to those sword plants that h
> stem with baby plants when you buy them. I currently have some (
> paniculatus in this situation. I used to cut and replant the bab
> the way, but then I realized that they do much better when I lea
> attached to the parent plant for a while. I guess they get more 
> also nutrients from the parent plant. What is the optimal time f
> them away and re-planting? 

I wait until each plantlet has at least a half dozen leaves and 
twice as many roots. 

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA