This Week's Podcast: Love Plants? Make More with Brie Gluvna Arthur
Click on the small black arrow on the bar to listen, or the MP3 to download the show:Brienne Gluvna Arthur is the propagator and grower at Camellia Forest Nursery in Chapel Hill, NC. After a stint for a commercial grower, Brie took an internship at Montrose, one of America’s greatest private gardens. There she realized that her ideas about becoming a garden designer might have to take a back seat to working with plants. It’s the plants she loves.
Further experience came from working at Plant Delights Nursery. Then, she landed at Camellia Forest.
Brie is an enthusiastic vegetable gardener, but we talk about ornamental plants, and one of my special interests – making more of them. One of the secrets to propagating plants from cuttings on a small to large commercial scale is “mist.” Cuttings are made, stuck in medium and placed in brightly lit areas under fog-like sprays of water. The moisture keeps the cuttings hydrated and also cool on hot summer days. Reducing transpiration helps them to root, and root FAST.
Brie’s propagation schedule for taking cuttings is mid-spring until the beginning of fall, depending on the kind of plant. “The mist house is set up on timers,” she explained. “The cycles start an hour before dawn and continue until an hour after dusk.” In spring, the mist comes on for six seconds every six minutes. By late September, the duration stays the same, but the spray only comes on every 30 minutes. By the end of October, the mist is turned off completely. By that time, most of the cuttings have rooted.
Brie’s mist bench doesn’t have bottom heat (which many propagators in colder climates rely on for fast rooting). Some of the cuttings, including those from camellias taken in late July through August, may produce roots in as little as two weeks, and be saleable flowering plants in less than a year. The rooted cutting of variegated Camellia japonica ‘Yirgella’ (above) was taken on July 7, 2012 and photographed at Camellia Forest Nursery on October 1.