Mahonia seedlings in selfwatering containers (Willem)

The mahogany shrub (Mahonia aquifolium) in my garden has been flowering and fruiting.  Its dark blue berries are normally eaten by the blackbirds, but this year I collected them in time, kept them drying for a couple of weeks and then planted the dry berries in a tray.  Other berries were opened and their little 2-3 kernel were taken out and washed.

Last week some of the berries in the tray germinated (the kernels did not yet).  I have planted some mahogany seedlings in a small coca-cola bottle, transformed into a self-watering container (see my photo below).  I expect that these seedlings will grow well, so that I can take the young trees to S.W. Algeria, where I want to introduce them as thorny shrubs to form a strong living hedge around the small family gardens in the refugee camps.

Mahonia seedlings in selfwatering container
(Click on the photo to enlarge it)

My self-watering containers with the mahogany seedlings :

(1) In front, a leaf of my mahogany shrub.

(2) Two yoghurt pots in which I can easily pour some water (serving as a mini water reservoir or tank).

(3) In each pot, an inverted coca-cola bottle of which I cut the bottom, filled with potting mix and TerraCottem soil conditioner, with a mahogany seedling planted on top.

(4) I left the lid (stop) on the bottles, but perforated the neck, close to the lid, at two opposite sites.

(5) The bottles are sucking up water from the yoghurt pots through the holes in the bottleneck.

(6) Water is stocked in the TerraCottem soil conditioner.

(7) Mahogany roots are growing towards the gel lumps of the swollen polymers.

(8) With a minimum of water and fertilizer the seedlings will be growing into nice young trees.

(9) The bottles will be cut vertically in two halves and buried in the plant hole at the moment of tree plantation (avoiding pollution of the environment with plastic).

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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