Putting Plants to Sleep?

Today I attended the Outdoor Living Extravaganza in Minneapolis, one of six events sponsored by Proven Winners, a plant propagation and marketing firm. (It’s the company with the nice white pots at garden centers.) This is the first time Proven Winners has held its spring seminar in Minneapolis, and the day was filled with new information and enticing plants. (I’ll do another post on those tomorrow.)

One of the most intriguing items mentioned, however, wasn’t a plant, but an additive gardeners can use to essentially put their plants in stasis while the gardener goes on vacation. I know this sounds like an episode from Star Trek, but it is a great idea. The product, called Vacation, was developed by a Krieger Greenhouses in Boone, Iowa, a large wholesaler of plants.

Shipping plants is tricky — if it’s too cold they die; hold them too long, they flop over or get too big to sell. Because they needed to sometimes hold plants before they could ship them, the Krieger people developed an additive you mix with water and put on your plants that stops the plant from transpiring — giving off vapor. It closes up the cells so they cannot lose water.  The soil will dry out, but the plant will be just fine. The effect lasts for 10 days to two weeks — or until the plant is watered again.

There are a couple of caveats about using Vacation, however. First, while the plant won’t die, essentially holding your breath for two weeks is stressful, so gardeners should not use Vacation on a regular basis, such as each weekend while you go to a cabin. Also the effect stops once the plants are watered — so put your containers under a roof while you are gone.

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