Indoor plant with huge leaves

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Indoor plant with huge leaves and long branches. The flowers are white, 1-5 cm long and 1 cm wide. Plant with yellow-green leaves, flowers and seedheads of different shades of green. Flowers are wind-pollinated, and produce honeydew. Flowers and seedheads are visited by honeydew wasps and hoverflies.

Maidenhair Sedge - Care instructions

Maidenhair Sedge

Sedge (Care Instructions)

The Sedge family of plants is known for its unusual leaves and flower shapes. The leaves are often lanceolate, and often have a strong tendency to droop. This is caused by the plant trying to reduce its surface area to minimize its rate of water loss by transpiration.

Leaf droop is quite normal for plants growing in a dry, shady position and will usually recover within a few days. When the weather is wet, the leaves may stay drooped for many days, even weeks.

Seedheads can be removed by hand, or cut when flowering and then separated from the seedbed (or seedheads may be left on the plants). The dry seedheads are an excellent forage food source for a wide variety of birds and insects.

Seedheads will usually flower over a period of 5 to 7 years. This depends on the size of the plant, the time of year in which the seeds are set and the overall condition of the plant.

It is not necessary to do anything to help the plants to flower, but do note that there may be a tendency for the plants to flower sooner when grown on moist medium, for example, rather than dry sand.

Growing Sedge from Seed

The best way to start Sedge from seed is to collect seeds from an established plant. The plants should have a good root system, and the soil should be of good quality. Sedge seeds will readily germinate in sand and soil, and although some may take longer than others, even the poorest quality seeds will germinate. Most seeds will need to be stored at low temperatures and will germinate best when kept at about 12°C in a cold frame. Once germinated, sown, and planted out, seedlings will be grown in the garden.

When Sedge is growing in the garden, it will grow fairly quickly, perhaps reaching a height of about 2 to 3 metres before it is harvested. Sedge grows fast and has a lot of potential for producing lots of shoots and new plants. So, when you are sowing seeds, don't be concerned if you lose a large number of plants. They will recover quickly, even in the middle of winter.

A good rule of thumb is that plants that were planted in October will be harvested and ready for winter use by March and April. Plants from May onwards will be ready to harvest by late June and July.

Sedge can be grown from seed in two main ways.

Seed can be sown into pots filled with a mixture of compost and gritty sand, or it can be sown into a bed of coarse sand.

#### Sowing Sedge in Compost

Use a mixture of 3 parts coarse sand to 1 part compost, and add plenty of grit. This will ensure that your seeds germinate and will help the seedlings to stand up to the wind. A mix of half compost and half sand will also work well.

If you sow your seeds directly in the sand, make sure you wet the sand slightly and roll it over to get the seed in the right place.

If you have difficulty growing your plants from seed in your garden, you can sow them in a cold frame to help them to germinate more quickly.

Use a mixture of 3 parts coarse sand to 1 part grit.

#### Sowing Sedge in a Bed

If you want to sow directly in the ground, use a half-and-half mixture of sand and coarse grit or coarse organic compost. The seeds should be sown 15cm apart and lightly covered with fine sand or compost.

When you have sown your seeds, water them in. This will ensure the soil becomes warm and moist.

If you do not sow your seeds directly in the ground, use a cold frame to help the seedlings to germinate more quickly.

#### Sowing Sedge from Seeds

Sedge is a heavy seed producer. If you want to sow in October, then you can expect to harvest sward by March and April. For this reason it is not a good idea to sow into pots, as you will be unable to harvest your plants and may even lose them. The best way to plant sedge is from seed.

Use a mixture of half compost and half grit or sand.

#### Caring for Sedge

Sedge requires a little more looking after than most plants. In winter it is good to water lightly once a week and in summer twice a week. Remove the leaves from the old growth, as they make the plant look unkempt. If you are using them in a dryer, this will help to prevent them drying out. You should be able to harvest the plants after 2 years in a cold frame.

### **Lavender** _Lavandula angustifolia_

Lavender is an easy-growing plant that produces a wealth of tiny flowers which are ideal for cutting. Not only is it easy to grow, but it also produces essential oils, known for their calming effect, which are used to make a range of herbal teas.

#### Growing Your Own Lavender

Lavender is an ideal garden plant as it likes a sheltered spot in a sunny location and can cope with a poor soil. Grow it in a large pot and place it where you are unlikely to accidentally walk over it. Lavender is one of the easiest herbs to grow as it will self-seed and spread at a moderate rate. If you do not want it to go wild and out of control, pin it into position or cover it with garden fleece.

Pots or planters are perfect for growing this plant, especially when you take the first flush of the flowers in spring. Be aware that lavender flowers, unlike most other flowers, do not self-seed.

Lavender can be grown in a range of climates, but it is also a plant that likes a sheltered spot, so it is best to grow it in a greenhouse or conservatory if your area receives very little sun.

Lavender makes a lovely cut flower and you can cut the whole plant when the time comes.

#### Laying Your Groundwork

If you have a large pot, you may want to plant lavender in a large clump in the centre of it, but if you are growing lavender in a seed tray, you may want to plant each seed individually. This ensures you get the best-looking plants and more of them as lavender is a self-seeder.

Choose a well-drained but moist, light soil – preferably a seed-raising mix – and allow to dry out completely before planting. Sprinkle with a slow-release fertiliser, which should be added in the autumn as this is when lavender tends to flower, and the seedlings can start to make a good growth.

If you want to start your own seeds, use one of the lavender teas to improve the fertility of the soil. Alternatively, you could use a lavender-infused liquid soap for this purpose. However, if you are buying lavender plants, it is worth giving them a good soak in a solution of Epsom salts (also called ground

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