Last year’s mandrake seed experiment was a bit of a flop. I suspect it had something to do with light and soil temp. Mandrake is a tough germinator. I shouldn’t have put them in such a big pot. I should have put them in 3 inch pots (1 seed per pot) and put them directly beneath a grow light. This year I bought some free-standing grow lamps specifically for this reason.
My friend K sent me a bare root mandrake (I think it’s a white mandrake) which I received on the 20th of January. I immediately unwrapped him and put him in a pot with already damp soil. Then I mixed a little 15-30-15 plant food with water and injected it into the soil around the root using an eye dropper (to give the root some stimulation – that was the hope). I set him in the indirect light a grow lamp. Within 15 days the mandrake (which only had two tiny leaves when I planted it) now has four leaves and is 2.25″ tall. I removed the first big leaf (which had a chunk out of it and it was yellowing) just in case that leaf had the potential to kill the entire plant. I also think the plant needs more direct light since it seems to be getting a bit leggy, suggesting a struggle for light. One of the new grow lamps will be exclusively used for this plant.
So whenever I check on my mandrake my husband does the Hermes voice from Futurama and cries out, “My Mandrake!” like Hermes does when he cries out “My Manwich!” For Futurama fans you’ll find this particularly amusing. So we were going to name my mandrake Hermes. The only problem being my friend Wheezy has a “sock monster” we call Hermes. So my husband pointed out that Hermes son, on Futurama, is Dwight. As a result I decided to name the mandrake Dwight. Yes, my husband participated in naming the mandrake over dinner. So there you are. That’s how he got his name.
I think next time I fertilize I will use fish emulsion (based on the advice of several seasoned mandrake growers). I am hoping to get a big enough root for propagation. Growing from root cuttings seems a whole lot easier than growing from seed even though I still have a few seed experiments I want to try.
Dwight the Mandrake 15 days after the 1 year old root was transplanted from the nursery to a pot, below.