Planting Tube-stock

# 12

Local North Queensland information for Local North Queenslanders.

Have you purchased plants in tubes? Then you need to read this sheet, because tubes need special care…

picture-15The standard 140 mm diameter pot size (which is much bigger than a tube) is the preferred size for selling to the public, for good reason. Young plants are just like young people – they need to be big enough before they can be sent out into the world to fend for themselves. Just as a two-year old child is not big enough for school, young plants in tubes are not usually well-enough developed for planting out until they reach the 140 mm pot size.

However, some particularly hardy plants can be sent out into the world in tubes with good success, provided you are prepared to give them extra nurturing if needed.

While a plant in a tube may appear to be as big as one in a 140 mm pots, the root system is much smaller, and it’s the roots which are the important thing when it comes to getting the plant established.

With less root volume, the plant needs more attention until its roots have grown out into the surrounding soil and can fend for themselves.

Planting Tips:

Unless the weather is very wet, you will probably find that you have to water your tubes more frequently until they are established. For this reason, people who plant large numbers of tubes, eg. in the thousands, usually do so during the wet.

Because tubes are only small, you need to prepare the soil extra-well, and you will need to make-extra sure that they do not become overgrown with grass or weeds. Small plants have little ability to compete, and readily become swamped.

Can’t Plant Straight Away?

If you cannot plants your tubes straight away, then you need to pay extra attention to watering them.

They must be watered every day without fail while they are still in the pot. Otherwise they will dry out and die.

However, the shape of the tube makes this tricky. Tubes are long and narrow, so it is quite hard to get enough water into the pot to thoroughly wet the soil right to the bottom.

Don’t wave the hose over the top – chances are most of the water will simply run off the leaves onto the ground and not into the pot.

You need to lower the hose below the leaf line so that the water actually goes into the pot. Then you need to be patient – because there is only a small catchment area, it takes a while to wet the soil right through.

Don’t skimp – if the plant runs out of water while still in the pot, it will die!

The moral of this story is this:
Tubes are cheaper to buy than normal nursery plants because they are smaller. What you save in money, you must be prepared to invest in additional care and nurturing – otherwise your plants will not grow and you will have wasted your money altogether.

To Summarise

If you cannot plant your tubes straight away…

  • Pay extra attention to watering them.
  • Tubes must be watered every day without fail while they are still in the pot – otherwise they will dry out and die.
  • Don’t skimp on water – if the plant runs out of water it will die!

Tips on Planting Tubes:

  • water the plants more frequently
  • prepare the soil extra-well
  • make sure the plants don’t become overgrown with grass or weeds

When planting, tap the plant out carefully to remove it from the pot. DO NOT PULL IT OUT, as this can cause irreversible root damage which can kill the plant. It can sometimes be tricky to get the plant out of the pot but be patient!

The information provided here on this Information Sheet is of a general nature only, and is not intended to provide specific advice about any individual’s specific situation.