Do you want to know what stolons are? How about their benefits and how you can use them in your garden? If so, then you’re in luck, because this blog post is going to cover everything you need to know about these versatile plants! Keep reading for more information.
What is Stolon?
A stolon is an above-ground horizontal stem, or runner, that produces new plantlets at its tips or nodes. It is typically found in plants and spread by vegetative (or asexual) reproduction. Also known as rhizomes or creeping roots, stolons grow from parental plant crowns or stems and often take root where they touch the ground. Many plant species form stolons naturally as part of their growth habit, while others only do so when environmental conditions become unfavorable.
Some well-known plants with this growth habit include strawberry plants, sedges, turf grasses, and some lily family members. When a stolon comes into contact with soil, it sends roots and forms a new plant. It can also grow on top of the ground and produce new plantlets at their nodes, as with strawberry plants.
While stolons are mostly found in herbaceous (non-woody) plants, some woody plants, such as raspberries and blackberries, produce them. Woody stolons are typically shorter than those of herbaceous plants and do not produce new plantlets. Instead, they help the plant spread laterally by producing adventitious roots (roots that develop from non-root tissue) at their nodes.
The word “stolon” comes from the Latin stolo, meaning “branch” or “shoot.” It also refers to the horizontal stems of some fungi, such as oyster mushrooms.
Stolons are typically several inches to several feet in length, depending on the plant species. They may be subterranean, as in the case of rhizomes, or they may grow on top of the ground. It often have nodes where new growth occurs, and these nodes are typically spaced a few inches apart. The internodes (the spaces between nodes) of stolons may be shorter or longer than those of the plant’s regular above-ground stem.
The stem tissue of stolons is generally thinner and more fragile than the plant’s regular stem. This is because stolons are typically not as strongly supported by the plant’s vascular system (the system of xylem and phloem tissue that transport water and nutrients throughout the plant).
While most stolons grow directly from the crown or main stem of the plant, some also arise from lateral buds. In strawberry plants, for example, stolons grow from axillary buds (buds found in the leaf axils or the angle formed between the upper side of a leaf stalk and the stem).
Function of Stolons:
The primary function of stolons is to help plants spread vegetatively (asexually) by producing new plantlets at their nodes. This allows the parent plant to colonize new areas and can be an effective strategy for survival in some habitats.
For example, many ground-covering plants produce stolons spreading over the soil surface. This allows them to quickly fill in any gaps that may open up in their coverage due to disturbance or other factors. Strawberry plants are another good example of how stolons can help a plant spread. The plantlets that form at the tips of strawberry stolons eventually develop into new plants, producing their stolons and continuing the process.
Some plants use stolons to “escape” unfavorable environmental conditions. When a plant is stressed by drought, heat, or other factors, it may produce stolons to reach more favorable conditions. For example, sedges (plants in the family Cyperaceae) are known to produce stolons when they are water-stressed.
It can be a nuisance in gardens and lawns, as they can spread rapidly and become difficult to control. Some plants commonly produce stolons, such as Bermuda grass and creeping charlie, weeds in many areas. Sometimes, the only way to get rid of these plants is to dig them up completely, including their stolons.
On the other hand, It can also be used for practical purposes. Many nurseries sell “stolonizing” plant species, such as strawberries, specifically grown for their ability to spread via stolons. This can help create a ground cover or fill bare spots in a garden.
Strawberry farmers often use stolons to propagate new plants. To do this, they dig up the stolons of an existing strawberry plant and replant them in a new location. This is typically done in late summer or early fall when the weather is warm enough for the stolons to take root and produce new plantlets.
Some ornamental plant species are grown for their stolons. Japanese sedge (Carex morrowii) is a popular garden choice due to its attractive leaves and ability to spread rapidly via stolons. Purple love grass (Eragrostis spectabilis) is another ornamental grass often grown for its stolons, reaching several feet in length.
Benefits of Using Stolons:
There are many benefits of using it in your garden or farm. One of the biggest advantages is that they can help you propagate plants quickly and easily.
In many cases, you must dig up the stolons of an existing plant and replant them in a new location. This is much easier than starting from seed, and it can help you create clones of your favorite plants.
Another benefit of stolons is that they can help you control the shape of a plant. For example, if you’re trying to grow strawberries in a straight line, they will cause them to spread out in all directions.
Finally, It can also be used to create living fences or barriers. They can act as an effective barrier against animals or humans when planted in a row. They can also be used to create privacy screens or windbreaks.
No matter what your gardening or farming goals are, it can be a helpful tool. With a little planning and care, you can use them to create the landscape of your dreams.
How can you Create a Stolon Garden at Home?
If you’re interested in creating a stolon garden at home, there are a few things you need to know. First, choosing the right plant species for your needs is important. As mentioned above, some plants are better suited for this purpose than others.
In general, ground-covering plants and grasses are good choices for stolon gardens. Strawberry plants are also popular, as they produce edible fruit that many people enjoy.
Once you’ve chosen the right plant species, you need to prepare the area where you want to grow your stolon garden. This involves clearing away any existing vegetation and tilling the soil to a depth of about 6 inches (15 cm).
After the area is prepared, you can plant your stolonizing plants. It’s best to space them about 12 inches (30 cm) apart to give them enough room to spread. Once they’re in the ground, water them well and keep the soil moist until they’re established.
Once your stolon garden is up and running, you can sit back and enjoy watching it spread! With a little care and patience, you’ll soon have a lush, green ground cover that will add beauty and functionality to your landscape.
Drawbacks Of Stolons:
While stolons can be helpful for gardeners and farmers, they also have some potential drawbacks. One of the biggest concerns is that it can spread invasive plant species.
In many cases, plants that produce these are considered weeds, and this is because they can spread rapidly and crowd out other plants, including native species. Sometimes, the only way to get rid of these plants is to dig them up completely, including their stolons.
Another potential drawback of it is that they can make it difficult to control the shape of a plant. For example, if you’re trying to grow a row of strawberries in a straight line, their stolons may cause them to spread out in all directions.
Finally, It can also be a food source for animals, such as rabbits and deer. If you’re trying to grow a crop susceptible to these animals, it’s important to take steps to protect your plants from being eaten.
Despite these potential drawbacks, It can still be a helpful tool for gardeners and farmers. When used correctly, they can help you create a lush, green landscape that is both beautiful and functional.
Stolons are a plant growth type that can benefit gardeners and farmers. When used correctly, they can help you create a clone of your favorite plants, control the shape of a plant, or create living fences or barriers. However, It can also spread invasive plant species and be a food source for animals. Despite these potential drawbacks, stolons can still be useful when used correctly.