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GYO - Growing leaves and botanicals . . .

Wookii

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I fancy having a go at growing some of my own botanicals and feed leaves for use in my tanks.

I would need to grow them in large pots, I don't have space to plant directly into the soil - so I was thinking initially of having one small Alder tree in one pot, and a dwarf Mulberry bush in another.

What I hadn't really appreciated is that there are numerous different types of both plant/tree available, so I'm not sure which type to go for.

Alder:

Can anyone recommend which alder produce the best cones - I've noticed when picking some wild ones, that some trees produce cones that are very thin, small and light weight, whereas the ones I have purchased are much more dense and fuller. If I'm going to grow some, I'd obviously like to get a species that produces the latter? I have read that Italian alder produces slightly larger cones, so this is one option.

Mulberry leaves:

I'd like a bush that produces small leaves (I have seen some Mulberry leaves that are as big as a dinner plate), so I assume a dwarf species would be ideal. That said, I add Mulberry leaves to give my shrimp a good source of calcium in their diet so I'd like one that has a higher calcium content in the leaves (though I appreciate such information is probably not commonly available - I did see a scientific white paper measuring this, but couldn't access it).

In addition to specific species recommendations, if anyone has kept either of these plants/trees, and has any pointers on care requirements, that would be appreciated - if indeed it is possible to keep them in pots at all. I know for example Alders need lots of water, but beyond that I know very little.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I'd obviously like to get a species that produces the latter? I have read that Italian alder produces slightly larger cones, so this is one option.
Alnus cordata is the one you want. It also doesn't need to grow as wet as Alnus glutinosa. If you want to pyo own then you get Alder seedlings pretty freely wherever you get damp mud near the trees.
I'd like a bush that produces small leaves (I have seen some Mulberry leaves that are as big as a dinner plate),
Black Mulberry (Morus nigra) is your best bet. They are quite expensive to buy, but if you had a source tree they are <"easy as a cutting">.
if indeed it is possible to keep them in pots at all.
Should be.
so I'd like one that has a higher calcium content in the leaves
Stinging Nettle is probably better than any of the various trees.

cheers Darrel
 

Tim Harrison

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Everyone should have a nettle patch; they are great for butterflies and other wildlife in the garden as well as for shrimps and fish in our tanks.
That's kind of true, but it needs to be grown as part of a habitat mosaic to provide shelter and food for both adult and larval stages. I once advised a farmer who wanted to make improvements for wildlife. He was very proud of his very large nettle patch. Problem was it was totally isolated in the middle of a field quite some distance from any other habitat. Sorry slightly off topic.
 

Wookii

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Hi all,

Alnus cordata is the one you want. It also doesn't need to grow as wet as Alnus glutinosa. If you want to pyo own then you get Alder seedlings pretty freely wherever you get damp mud near the trees.

Black Mulberry (Morus nigra) is your best bet. They are quite expensive to buy, but if you had a source tree they are <"easy as a cutting">.

Should be.

Stinging Nettle is probably better than any of the various trees.

cheers Darrel
Everyone should have a nettle patch; they are great for butterflies and other wildlife in the garden as well as for shrimps and fish in our tanks.

Thanks for those suggestions @dw1305, much appreciated as always.

Thanks guys also for the nettles suggestion.

Like most people, I do have easy access to lots of nettles, and I may add a 'pot' of them in the future when the kids are older and less likely to fall into them. What is the best way to deal with the stingers though? Is a 30 second boiling water dip or drying enough?
 

mort

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For the mulberry, I think there is a new variety called Charlotte russe, which is a dwarf, only getting to 1.5 meters or so and fruits in the first year unlike normal slower mulberries. As it's an in demand plant I think it's expensive though.

You can get thornless patio blackberries now with black cascade being happy in a pot. I've never tried it but shrimp supposedly like blackberry leaves and you get fruit as well.

There are small patio raspberries as well and again shrimp are supposed to like the leaves (I think any fruit leaves are eaten but I don't know if mulberry are preffered).

So there might be other options for leaves if mulberry is hard to find which will have the benefit of filling your families bellies to.
 

Wookii

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For the mulberry, I think there is a new variety called Charlotte russe, which is a dwarf, only getting to 1.5 meters or so and fruits in the first year unlike normal slower mulberries. As it's an in demand plant I think it's expensive though.

You can get thornless patio blackberries now with black cascade being happy in a pot. I've never tried it but shrimp supposedly like blackberry leaves and you get fruit as well.

There are small patio raspberries as well and again shrimp are supposed to like the leaves (I think any fruit leaves are eaten but I don't know if mulberry are preffered).

So there might be other options for leaves if mulberry is hard to find which will have the benefit of filling your families bellies to.

Thanks @mort - is this the one - though it refers to it as both Black Mulberry and Charlotte Russe:

 

mort

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That looks like the one yes. I think there is some confusion as to the origin of the cultivar but I think its probably not nigra because it was apparently bred from a dwarf tree. I remember now why I never tried to buy one a couple of years ago and it was because I found an article that said the fruit were less than tasty, which nigra are. It takes 7-8 years for a normal mulberry to fruit and the "mojo berry" fruits on old and new wood after the first year.
So its probably a better plant for your shrimp rather than for testy berries but it does stay small.
 

tam

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Not sure how long it takes alder to be old enough to produce cones - might need to be biggish so check before committing. Even standard raspberries grow fine in a pot (or bucket with holes) - I would definitely go thornless growing in confined spaces. I grow Joan J - for taste but plenty of leaf too.
 

SRP3006

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18 Feb 2019
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I too grow raspberries, mostly for the berries granted but the shrimp are partial to the leaves I throw in. Usually stripped pretty quickly. Plant stays small too and you'll have an abundance of leaves if you remove just before yearly trimming.
 
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