Propagation at Howard Nurseries
We have built an enviable reputation for offering plants true to name. We propagate 99% of all our own production. Only 1% is bought in as weaned, tissue culture plugs, enabling us to have complete control over propagation material.
The Open-Ground Manager, Paul Howling operates a strict ‘rogueing’ programme in the fields and stock beds to re-enforce that only plants true to type are produced. The heart of the Propagation Unit is Pat Warnes and her dedicated team who are based in the 35m x 33m Cambridge glasshouse.
Automated mist bed temperature and settings along with a 50% shade / thermal screen ensures excellent germination / rooting rates. All rainwater from the glasshouse is recycled for use with the mist propagation system.
Splitting - 50% of production
Splits are usually taken from the previous years plantings. Exceptions to this are Iris, Hosta and Bergenia which are two year crops.
Tips & Other Soft Cuttings – 21% of production
Main production time is spring and summer with all cuttings rooted into modular trays under mist or bottom heat as required.
Seed – 12% of production
The majority of seed is bought in, however some seed is collected from the nursery such as Helleborus, Agapanthus and Oenothera. The main sowing period is April. Seeds are sown into modular trays and placed in the glasshouse or tunnels and then moved outside to harden off prior to planting or potting. Some varieties are sown fresh whilst others require stratification over the winter months.
Root Cuttings – 9% of production
These are taken from January to March. Cuttings are placed directly into modular trays or deep plastic trays depending on their size.
Heeled Cuttings - 7% of production
Inserted in modular trays during the Autumn, Winter and early Spring.
Tissue Culture – 1% of production
A limited quantity is bought in mainly for pot production or for cleaning up mother-stock.