This will be an ongoing post of my experiences with Apios americana, also called groundnut, hopniss, and a few other names. First item is an attempt started yesterday to root a cutting of Dr. Steven Cannon's Orson-2155. I'll post more as time goes on-
"Instead of Pay It Forward I prefer Plant It Forward" ~Howard Story / "God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools." ~John Muir
Update- the apios cutting hasn't taken so far, although it's still growing just from water sucking up from the stem. I have recut the bottom, dipped in cinnamon, and potted it up – we'll see how it goes.
Included in the photos below are several varieties- two improved types from Dr. Steven Cannon at Iowa State, whose starting stock came from the experiments by Dr. Blackmon in the late 1980s ; one set of undifferentiated apios curated by Cheryl in NC, which were left over from an experiment by Dr. Morales in the late 2000's to develop forage greens for livestock out of apios; some seeds from that same stock which hopefully will show some different traits over the next few years; and some more undifferentiated apios from Tripple Brook Farms, who received their stock from Will Bonsall's Scatterseed project. By "undifferentiated" I mean that they can't be traced back to specific accession numbers begun with Dr. Blackmon's first experiment in the '80s.
I particularly hope that here in zone 8a, most or all of the apios will be able able to flower, using all of hthese improved varieties to hopefully produce something new and interesting in future years.
Photos- being disabled it is taking me a while to get just my regular plants out in the garden, and I hope to get all of the apios untangled and out onto proper trellises in the next couple of weeks. Note that the Tripple Brook/Scatterseed ones haven't sprouted yet.
Why did you recut the bottom? You may just need patience. Since you now have it in soil, it'll take 4-6 weeks before it roots. You can tell by tugging GENTLY on the stem. You don't want to break the newly formed roots. Have you put drainage holes in the bottom of your container? You don't want those roots to rot as soon as they form, and you can keep it consistlently moist. Do you have something to hold in humidity? That'll help it root, too.
Have you looked up using willow water to root cuttings? It really helps.
Of my first experiment, planting the cutting failed. Liz, I may try try some of your techniques next time. While planting out the tubers of Dr. Cannon's 2155, I noticed something interesting – one of the tubers, which I had planted in its nursery pot a little deeper than the others, had thrown up a shoot which had a white section coming up from the tuber, which was starting to develop roots of its own! I don't have enough tubers to risk snapping it off and planting it separate from the tuber, treating the tuber like a sprouting sweet potato. But, while doing the transplanting, I knocked off a healthy looking piece of root, so I've planted that in a nursery pot to see what happens. Oh, the excitement...
Same to you!
I have no experience with groundnut specifically, but have rooted many types of cuttings. Some root slower than others, some do better in water, some would rot in water. It can be discouraging, but it's exciting when they take!
Pushing the envelope can be fun, but a hard winter can make you lose all plants. Mix them in with zone hardy plants so you don't lose everything. I've "lost" plants that were not zone hardy.Don't be too quick to take them out. Sometimes the roots are still alive, and they'll come back, but it may take a few months. Wiggle the plant in the ground. If the roots are still alive, it won't feel loose. If tight, give it a drink of WATER to give it some help.
Neat, Michelle- perhaps this Fall we could trade a few tubers. I know Dr. Cannon is interested in finding a few of Dr. Blackmon's earliest accessions, so getting samples from as many lines as possible is a good thing!
Two months have gone by- here is an update, mostly in pictures. Well, straw bales may work extremely well in more northerly climes, but here in Texas zone 8a Dallas, with the incredible heat and direct rays of the sun, the straw bales dry out way too quickly, meaning I have to water them daily. Additionally, daily watering means the fertilizer for the plants gets washed out very quickly, and I'm sure affects the poor things' growth. A few tubers have died entirely, probably from erratic watering and intermittent flooding from the unusual springtime rainfall (the bales are in a low spot in our yard.) On to the photos-
Late summer update- Unfortunately, irregular watering, alternating high and low humidity, high winds especially with low humidity, and many days with a heat index over 105 degrees Fahrenheit, I lost the seedlings from Dr. Morales' stock (source Cheryl in NC) and two plants from the tubers of the same stock. Everything else survived, with varying levels of vigour. Following are a series of photos of the entire lot. I may post another set in a month or two, or may wait until the plants die back and I can pull tubers for measurement and recording. Enjoy!
p.s. for myself and future breeders- this year's seeds will be possible crosses between Dr. Morales' stock, Tripple Creek/Scatterseed, 1972-Simon, 2155-Orson, 2183-Roux, and possibly 2127 (unnamed) (haven't found any flowers yet in the tangle of sunchokes.) Note also one additional benefit of growing groundnuts up sunchokes – the flowers of the sunchokes are attracting an incredible number of different pollinators, including mason bees, butterflies, honeybees, and various flies. But, one drawback to using sunchokes as a living trellis – 2127 and 2183 were growing vigorously over the ground before the sunchokes even sprouted up through the strawbales. The sunchokes quickly outgrew the groundnuts and gave the groundnuts a good trellis, but the beginning didn't work real well.
Thanks for reading, everyone!
She'll be back. I'm just gonna wait here. With this tiny ad:
1st edition of Living Wood Magazine--Now free for a while