Oca: 2013 seedling progress

The 62 new oca (Oxalis tuberosa) plants that grew from this year’s seeds continue to surprise me with their huge difference in growth rates.  Unfortunately, it seems that about 55 of them will be destined for the compost pile, as they are not putting on much growth and will certainly not reach the size necessary to produce tubers any time soon.  On the other hand, I have two that I feel pretty confident about and five in the maybe category.
All of the seedlings were sown in two batches and grown under the same conditions.  In each batch, there were about three weeks of difference in germination between the first and the last, but the size of the plants reflects much more than just a difference of three weeks.  Most of the plants remain under an inch in height, while the tallest has exceeded 7 inches.  It will be interesting to discover whether the growth rate of seedlings correlates to growth rate from tubers.
The biggest of the seedlings at 7.25 inches.  This was not the earliest to germinate, but it has consistently been the fastest growing of the seedlings.

It has an odd feature: many of the leaves unfurl with tip damage.  I wonder if this might be a consequence of the rate of growth.  Obviously, it is not a serious enough problem to impede growth.

I have high hopes for some tubers from this one, if nothing else.

Next largest seedling at 4 inches.  This one has dense branching and a dark red stem that promises a red tuber.

Third place comes in at 2.5 inches.

Fourth and fifth place are quite similar.  This one is 2.25 inches and densely branched.

Fifth place is 2 inches but even more densely branched.

Sixth place is just about an inch, which doesn’t give me great hope for tubers, but I’ll move it inside before frost and keep it alive as long as possible.  It has a lovely red color, although the plants tend to have a stronger red character when they are smaller.

Last place among the contenders.  3/4 inch.  The remaining 55 are all smaller.

Oca seeds and tubers are sometimes available in our seed shop.

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