Breaking dormancy

Winter time plant dormancy is a form of phenotypic plasticity that minimizes exposure to seasonally stressful conditions. Which is a wonderfully impressive way of saying that when the days get shorter, the nights get longer and the temperature gets colder the plant world takes some time off.

But this is late winter, so what happens now in the plant world? Well, the growth regulator abscisic acid that restricts growth and that built up last fall due to the long nights and low temperatures is now starting to be broken down by the very same chilly temperatures that created it. 500 to 2000 hours of chilling out being needed before gibberellin and cytokinin growth regulators build up to the point at which the plant will start producing growth.

This means that plants like, this Witch Hazel and Camilia, have had their winters rest and are waking up, and with the longer days and warmer temperatures of spring, are getting back to work.

And it means for me that it’s time to sharpen up the trimming tools, put the seed and plant catalogs away, grab my shovel, and, if I cant find something to trim, plant something.

Roll on spring!


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