Checking the Rhodiola seedlings
Springtime at last! – Time to check the seedlings.
It’s springtime and the Rhodiola rosea is waking up. Time to take inventory in the nursery and see which plants are large enough to withstand transplanting into the field.
Some seedlings are planted in cells with potting soil for easier transplanting. These seedlings germinated 18 months ago in waist-high tables filled with dirt and aged organic matter from the barns. Overhead shade cloth and sprinklers ensure perfect growing conditions for their first 18 months.
You can see from the picture that some of the plants are sporting their first flower buds. As one of the survival traits, Rhodiola rosea grows and sets flowers quickly after the soil thaws. A plus for local bees and insects after a long winter. These plants need to move out quickly, though, so that they don’t cross with new select strains that also reside in the nursery.
Taking stock in the nursery, there are other seedlings that are slower to mature. What’s the difference? Water, sun and dirt are the same, but there are different strains of Rhodiola rosea. A strain is simply a group of the same species of plants that has been set apart and identified by differences in growth, plant/leaf shape or yield. Wild Rhodiola rosea from different parts of the world exhibit significant differences in many aspects.
In Alberta, the ARRGO growers are trying several different strains to see which will grow the best and yield the most root mass and beneficial compounds for people and animals. Even different parts of Alberta will require different strains for best results, and some parts of Alberta do not produce good results at all.
Below is a picture of another seedling from a different strain. This strain originates from a different part of the world. Germination is sporadic, and It may be slower to grow than the strain shown above, but it is high in beneficial compounds. Given the right environment both strains grow well in Alberta.