Pokeweed/pokeberry question

Annette & Scott Ranger ranger at america.net
Tue Aug 20 16:58:00 EST 1996


gregory scot robins wrote:
> 
>  We are trying to grow Phytolacca americana L. (Pokeweed or
> Pokeberry) in the greenhouse.  However, we are not having much luck
> getting the plant past the flowering stage.  The leaves are dying off in
> mass and the whole plant looks bad. The soil mix is peat: top soil:
> vermiculite (2:2:1) with a little perlite added as well.  We have
> fertilized lightly with 20, 20, 20 Peters Salt solution.
> 
>         Any advice regarding the cultivation of this plant would be
> appreciated.
> 
>                                         Thank you
>                                         Greg Robins
>                                         Wake Forest University
This plant is nearly a noxious weed in my yard and vegetable garden. 
Birds deposit seeds constantly, and as a result I'm constantly pulling
up poke shoots, but MANY make it to flowering and some to fruiting stage
with NO HELP from me or anything else. 

SOOO, my first GUESS is that your soil mix is too good!  Poke grows very
well in nearly 100% clay, so I'd back way off on the soil lighteners and
go with an overwhelmling proportion of top soil.

My second guess is that it's not getting enough light.  Poke thrives in
direct sunlight and when I find it in various degrees of shade, the
plants are definitely more spindly.  Many greenhouses don't have
anything near the equivalent of direct sunlight.

My final guess is that it's getting too much water.  Soil mixes like you
mention and greenhouses usually equal LOTS of water spray.  So maybe put
it outside and let rains do their thing.

BTW, for what reason are you growing it?

Scott Ranger



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