I was Hoping some of you would share your own insight and opinion on this topic...
In 1996 My father saved watermelon seeds from my Great-Grandfather's watermelon. He use to grow the best. He has long passed...In 2006 I took the seeds and grew the watermelons myself.
When I give away or trade seeds "Freshness" always seems to be the concern or question. Therefore I always pick and send seeds of that year (because of the hype). Unless I inform the person from what year they are from.
But here's my point...I NEVER throw away seeds I plan on sowing at some point or another. All of the seedlings and flats I have now are from seeds over 6 years old. I have just about 100% germination rate. And next year I might sow seeds from 2004. There are some seeds that do not store well in my opinion and those are Marigolds. I have also noticed the very same seeds I have germinated this year, WOULD not germinate when they were received or the year after. But just about popped out in 2 days this year. Therefore I am deeply inclined that many many seed types need to be older to germinate.
I put away seeds Weezingreens sent me in 2004 dated and labeled "Pasithea Coerulea 2003". When I first tried these seeds they would not germinate. I tried them the following year..nothing! I revisited the pack and this year, 6 years later, I now have babies.
Can some of you list some seeds in Your opinion that are not viable over time...
1. My Opinion: Marigolds (somebody prove me wrong...LOL) because I'm holding on to one special kind knowing they may never sprout!
I think most seed keeps for a long time. There are exceptions of course. It is said that Agapanthus seed needs to be fresh to germinate. I do think that seed that has a soft piece to make it easier for the seed to float away from the mother plant are ones that do not keep well. Despite what is said about Aggie seed, I have grown some which is supposed to be past "its-sell-by-date". Very small seed - dust - is best planted fresh from the plant, like Streptocarpus. I have bought Strep seed and no results, planted some of mine and good germination when it is virtually off the plant. I have some now that I must get into the soil. Plants that rely on very good rain for a short while, also have a long life. Sometimes they must wait for a couple of years before a good wetting. I think planting by the moon is very helpful.
My description of seeds with a soft piece -- Jacaranda have thousands of seeds that float away (hence they become a weed, but of course are beautiful). Agapanthus have a small amount of soft area area around the seed proper. I think many tree seeds have little extra pieces that make them fly away like Ash for example. I have to think of trees and plants more northern hemisphere than southern. Most of the seeds from Africa are hard and have a very hard shell like acacia trees - excellent Giraffe food - LOL
It is usual to store seed in paper until properly dry. I tend to start off with seed in a bottle with the lid off then into plastic of some sort.
I was reading in some of the older contributions that one experienced grower started seed in damp kitchen paper. I have some seed of a creeper than are very difficult to germinate and wonder if this is the answer. These seed are really round balls and nearly as big as sweet pea seed which of course germinate easily. One clivia seed grower I met had a refrigerator set at a very special temperature so as to germinate clivia seed before planting.
Some people store seed in their refrigerator. This does help to preserve viability.
I don't germinate anything in soil (except veggies). I use vermiculite or I place them in Bounty Paper Towel (moistened) and in a ziplock bag.This is because if I start seeds of any plant. It is because I really really want it. Therefore I never play the wishing and hoping game. I've been germinating things like this for years. When the seedlings are big enough I move them to a soil. I make my seeds do what I want them to! ha ha haa! That's probably why I never throw any I plan to grow away.
I have found that most seeds will germinate for me if they are kept refrigerated or in the dark. However, the ones I have had the most trouble with are morning glory seeds. Some don't ever want to germinate.
I spread the seeds on separate paper plates and just stack them up off-centered so air can get to them, and put them up high in my computer cabinet and forget about them. I write right on the plate what they are.
Ronnie, The vermiculite is very loose and doesn't mold. Great for those itty bitty seeds. I have found that some soils mold if the seed requires a lot of moisture for germination. The vermiculite is so loose that the seedlings roots grow twice as fast, and you can virtually pull them out. Therefore no root damage and extremely easy transplanting from the vermiculite to soil. I use little cups and fill them with vermiculite and water. Sprinkle the seeds on top. Place the cup in a ziplock bag. Usually within a few days they sprout. I also get lazy and they can live in there for quite some time. With the baggie I always fill like I have to get the newly germinated seed potted up or in the ground. Vermiculite It's just a really nice medium...
Aquilegia seeds tend to take longer to germinate the older they are in my experience, but I'm not sure how much less viable the seeds become.
I've often heard Larkspur and Delphinium seeds need to be fresh to germinate well, but I've never experimented with this.
Last year I had excellent germination from 7 year old Hyacinth Bean seeds. I store most of my seeds in the freezer, except tropicals. Some find this risky, but I've never had any problems. I even forgot and put Canna seeds in the freezer with the rest last year, but they still germinated well.
Maybe I should experiment with the Delphinium seeds. I have some rare ones I've been holding on to for YEARS. They look the same as when I stored them. And I kept them because I plan on sowing them. I have Boatloads of Aquilegia seeds, I wanted to sow them. So I've been holding on. I wonder if I'll have any luck?
What about Penstemons? I have some Penstemon seeds I'm holding on to for dear life!
I will say this..
I have about 25 Ipomopsis Rubra babies. I sowed the seeds that were 6 years old. And I sowed the seeds that were fresh from 2008 (at the same time). They both germinated, but here was the difference... The newer seeds germinated FAST within days (sown in vermiculite) The Ipomopsis which was 6 years old sown in soil. Took 3 weeks to germinate. I don't know what to conclude but that was the deal...LOL
I think with Aquilegia they require more freezing and thawing and/or more time to germinate when they're older. I imagine this is nature's way of ensuring that seeds that fall to the earth later in the season don't germinate only to be killed by winter as tiny seedlings. Wintersowing would probably be a good way to start the older ones.
I've had good luck with 2 and 3 year old Penstemon seeds.
Ok Neal...we'll I guess I'm going to have a Aquilegia garden next year! ha I am going to winter sow for the first time. I have the BIGGEST bag of Aquilegia seeds with every species I've ever gotten my hands on. They are all mixed up in a bag. I'm going to dump them all and see what I get. This is going to be fun! Except the Hinkley's Golden Columbine. I will keep them separate.
Ummmm I didn't get that far! ha ha. I don't know what to do. Should I put them in the ground? I was thinking about a large container of some sort. So I can see what is coming up and remember what it was I was planting. It's thousands of columbine seeds...LOL. But maybe I should try the ground in a semi-shady spot? Ohhh darn I don't know. I just want to see what I get..I remember when I started dumping seeds in this bag because I had so many different species and never sowed any of them. And the last columbine I grew from seed was in 2004 (White McKana's Giant) Then been collecting ever since and never sowed 1 seed. I've never sown any flowers in the ground but I have so many seeds I have to start trying.
Hmmm...I think a big container may be just the trick. Something big enough to stay moist, that could just sit in place through the winter, maybe a half whiskey barrel or something concrete. I've had wintersown Columbine wait till June to germinate, so it would be good to have them confined so that you don't disturb them.
I'm so excited to see my Columbines bloom next year! I started lots of them last year, and while they did survive their first winter, they hadn't gotten very big due to the drought that year. This year they beefed up amazingly, but didn't bloom, so I'm sure they'll bloom like mad in '10. Some of them are Nora Barlowe, that I believe came from you originally.
Well take pictures we want to see... I have long forgotten what species are in this bag. Time will tell..everybody thinks I'm nuts around my neck of the woods. Like I need a 12 step program for seed aholics. Yesterday I picked about 300 Pink Dogwood seeds..Now what to do with them? I've never grown a Dogwood from seed. But many other trees...
I've been playing around with a few trees from seed too. Last year I started several Golden Chain trees (Laburnum anagyroides) and only kept a couple, thinking they're likely not to like our hot, humid summers. And from my quick check of Plantfiles, I see you've started them from seed too! I have one seedling that has survived, and it looks good- time will tell. I started Chaste tree this year, and was shocked to see blooms already.
Ohhhhh wow! I have about 2,000 of those seeds (chaste tree). Was gonna throw them out. Do they germinate well? They look the same as when they were picked. You think they are any good? couple years old...
Kim_M, On your question about the dogwood tree, plant it 1/4" deep I Winter Sowed mine a few years ago and got several but the next two years tried to grow them and no luck go figure :) I did notice a seed that germinated on it's own under leaves by my other dogwood so that might be a way to go too just make sure it stays moist with mulched leaves on top of it.
I've heard that there isn't much of a chance of getting a pink dog wood out of your seeds probably white they revert back sorry. It's better to take cuttings not sure after or before they bloom seems like it's after they bloom I had notes on it and lost a word document a while back :(
They sure are slow gowers from seed I have one I planted about three years ago and it's still about five inches high lol It doesn't get a lot of sun though, I'll see how long it takes that one to grow that came up under the leaves it gets more sun. I have a white dogwood and it's about on it's last leg so I'm wanting to replace it.
Oh My! Years and 5 inches. Hmmmm wellon't know if I have that much patience...lol. This tree is about 15 years old and 15 feet wide and high. Very large..So pink ones are a type of hybrid or the seed just produce the pink flower?
Kim, the pink ones do occur from time to time in the wild, a mutation I think, but not something you see very often. Those extra pink ones that have been selected (and probably hybridized too) have been vegetatively propagated. A friend of mine had a pink one show up in her woods growing up, and her Dad let his brother dig it up and take it- she was so mad!
I keep watching the woods next to us for a pink dogwood or heck even a smaller white one I could dig up but haven't seen anything yet. It must be a miracle when the dogwoods grow in the woods like that lol Then again as long as it takes them to grow they may be in that woods just not big enough to see yet I just wonder how old the trees are that we see in bloom on the highways that have reseeded lol
I have no idea how old this dogwood is here I know it was here when I was growing up and I'm 60 now so it couldn't last much longer that's why I'm trying to get another one to grow because it's so beautiful when it blooms and in the fall with the red leaves. I read somewhere that they live about 25 yrs. but this one has got to be older than that, another ice storm like we had last year may just wipe it out, that's so sad.
LeBug , are you talking about the ones that grow wild and are very tall with big white flowers in the spring? Those are just beautiful. They grow wild in the mountains in Washington State. You see a lot of them when driving thru Snoqualmi pass on I 90.
Jnette, yes that's the ones I'm talking about they are just beautiful! I wish I saw more wild ones around here I would be soo tempted to dig one up for my yard! These trees like mine and Kim's in height are like 15' not that tall really the flowers are close to 3". Here is the one I have:
When I was a little girl there was a white one like the pic above in the front yard. I admired that tree...should have known back then I was going to be plant crazy. Since then my mother lives in the same house and cut that tree down many years ago. For what I'll never know..
Here's my project for today:
I recently bought seeds from Garden's North. The description of the seeds "Aconitum lycoctonum subsp. moldavicum" stated will come moist packed. Well I had no idea what that meant and was curious to see. I received them and many others I bought and some were "moist packed". Well well well...These packages were little plastic baggies tightly packed with moist vermicullite and the seeds. Ahhhhhhh! Well I have tons of vermiculite.
Soooooo I figured today I will take all my aconitum seeds, astrantia, and Tree Peonies and moist pack them for experiment. Then place them in the fridge from now until Spring. This coming year I am going to have a BLAST! I can not wait to see what I get. Bought some seeds from JL Hudson many many years ago. Gonna moist pack some of those too. Resurrecting Long Lost Plants! ha ha Some of these seeds there aren't any pictures in the PF for them. So can't wait to get some pics up there.
Very good question! Vermiculite is weird..I have had seeds in moist vermiculite waiting on germination for months. And it still doesn't rot. So I figured if it's in the fridge does it last longer? Time will tell...I just don't know yet. I will check on them from time to time.
As of Yesterday I decided to Blog everything that has to do with What, When, and Where I'm growing. At this time I am propagating many seed types and species. And I'm about to list ALL the seeds which have been prepared for germinating in April. What comes up..which ones I'll donate to my garden friends at Dave's...Love this place! Hope you check out the Blog on this! http://uniqueseeds.blogspot.com/
Hi guys. Just for your info, I had some delphinium grandiflorum seeds left from what Jonna sent me last year, and they sprouted with heat under lights in about a week - same as last year, I think, and in the same amount of time as some other delph grandiflorum that I harvested this year. I also had close to 100% germination.
Couple of pointers, if you put moist packed seeds in the fridge, watch them closely, they may start to sprout. I do this with ones that require a moist cold period and then plant them in pots when they are beginning to germinate (though I have been too late a couple of times). Works well with monkshoods (Aconitum) as an example.
If seed is refrigerated, not frozen, even short lived seed like Agapanthus will live for years. I germinated A. coddii seed that was more than five years old, but it was refrigerated upon reciept.
Short lived seeds, at room temp, are pretty common in the following families (there are exceptions) Asteraceae, Poaceae (grasses), Ranunculaceae (monkshoods, buttercups, delphiniums, etc), and Amaryllaceae (fleshy seeds need planting even with refrigeration within a few weeks, black flattened seeds like Zephyanthes last longer but should be refrigerated if you plan on keeping more than 6 months).
Particularly long lived seeds often have hard impermeable seed coats, some examples would be Hibiscus and some scented leaved pelargoniums.
Of course, if you have old seeds, there's no harm in trying them out, pleasant surprises are one of the fun things about gardening!
Wow! That is very good and informative. Thanks for posting this. It is my first time doing this and I was told that the Tropaeolum Azureum I have in the fridge might do this..I was like..no way! Now I know it's the truth!
OHHH MY Goodness! I just ran to the fridge after this post. Wouldn't you know..I'm in trouble now. I have seeds I have had for 10 years and every last one is germinated in the bag. What to do now??? And the Aconitum seeds I paid big money are germinated. I wasn't ready for that..Now what?? I din't know seeds germinate in the cold. Ohhhh phooey.
Ok..got all the Aconitums potted up and out the fridge. Stuck the ones that didn't germinate back in with more vermiculite. Well if you want to call this potted up. It was the best I could do for now and stuck them in a windowsill..until I get set up.
Hope the aconitums are okay. When mine germinate in the fridge I take them out, put them into seed starting mix with added perlite, and place them under flourescent lights. They grow pretty well, though it takes a couple of days for them to straighten out if they have more than roots showing from the seed (better to get them before the cotyledons appear, but not always possible,and they will grow okay anyway if they aren't too stretched out. I have a couple of small pots now, one of one from seeds from a plant of mine I orginally got from the old Heronswood in Washington, the other is sp Rya from Gardens North. GN has an amazing selection of aconitum seeds.
You saved a whole bunch of babies! Thanks so much for posting here. I would have never opened that box up. Every last one is perfectly fine :-) And much much more had germinated. I've taken them out too.
Now that's a very good one to know! Thanks for Posting. Because I haven't had any tell me about the marigold seeds. I have always assume they might not be viable over time. So I know for SURE I'm going to plant mine in a few weeks. I have some marigolds that I kept (very well packaged) for a few years and want to start them.
That's always a good method! LOL. Someone told me to stick the brown part of the marigold seeds (straight down) into the medium just above the fan-like tan part. And they will always germinate...hmmmm Will try that too.
This is an exciting thread everyone, and thanks all for sharing your findings. I have just germinated some alyssum seeds from 1997, at least that was the date stamp, as I have discovered, not always accurate from commercial seed companies. I even received some seeds this year, with a new tag over the old one, with this years date. I have not yet had a chance to peek, but probably not important. Now, onto the details of my experiment. On Feb 1st, I sowed a packet of purple alyssum seeds onto Jiffy Mix seed starting formula, with a bit of additional perlite and vermiculite. This were started in formerly small fruit containers, like blueberries, from the market, since they had holes on the sides both top and bottom, as well as more on the bottom for drainage. These could not be recycled, so I thought I would try to reuse them, after washing them all in a bleach/water mix. After 2 wks, about 7 seedlings, then I thought to use bottom heat. The next night there were about 12 more. I took them off the heat, a regular heating pad, wrapped in 3 layers of small towels. Well, after taking them off the heat, only 2 remained, so I thought to put them back on to see what would happened next. The next morning, I have 5 seedlings now up, not a whole lot, so I have concluded, that if you put them on heat, at least wait until they get there true leaves out. I will be doing tomatoes doing a new experiment, only because I have so many old seeds, and it is still early enough to even start them a month from now. I will start some with heat, and some without, on a windowsill, which is considerably much cooler this time of year. If there is a freeze imminent, I will take them from the windowsill those nights. Do you usually start your tomato seeds with bottom heat? Dr. Carolyn says it will speed up germination. I have in the past, with fresh seed started tomato seeds without heat as I had so many and did not have the facility for heat for all of them, in fact it had not occured to me. I just wanted to get a head start so they were all started in February, a bit early for we generally had late frost and snow here.
You have all encouraged me for I have many ornamental seeds as well as the chaste tree and laburnum seeds which are more than 10 years old. I will report back my findings on these and others when I have some results. Thanks all for sharing!
Yes, this year I will make notes as well as share my findings in the propagation forum. Also, I will have some seeds to share, but wait until I post as I have not yet received them all, much less started them.
I have begun the experiment in earnest. And yes, I am making notes. I have a special small notebook I got at Big Lots for a dollar, just for germinating seeds, and I leave room for notes when they are planted, as well as the year, the source, if known, as some were gifts to me or in seed trades, and some of my mom's old seeds, as she is no longer with us. (She never could throw away her old seeds, either!)
Tomato 'Sub-Artic Plenty' 1990 Gurney Seeds (This was left over from my first huge experiment, where I grew 100 tomato plants, but more about that later...)
Tomato 'Homestead' 1987 Ferry Morse (Mom's)
Tomato 'Supersteak' 1991 Burpee
Tomato 'Aunt Ruby's German' 2003 Pinetree
Foxglove 'Foxy' 1992 Pinetree
I have some other flower seeds that did not have dates, but I knew they were there for a long time, Abutilon and Diascia. I still logged them as well.
I am growing fresh tomato seed along with the other tomatoes to compare germination side by side.
I do have a question about petunia seeds. They are so small. Do you first germinate them in a ziplock with either vermiculite or a paper towel, or do you just sow them and prick them out into cell packs? I have not yet sowed my petunias, and I have never grown them from seed. I used to buy them, but I love petunias and want lots of them. If I am successful this year I probably will buy more varieties, as I got only two from Swallowtail Seeds. A beautiful blue and a yellow. I won't be expecting a lot from the yellow one, but who knows, as they are not usually vigorous...we'll see.
I have a lot more seeds to go and I will probably W/S many of them as I have limited space by the windowsill on heating pads with CFL's instead of shoplites. So some will be early and some late.
Thanks everyone! You make it more fun as the starting of seeds can be tedious work at times. The joy is in sharing the experiences.
This is great Evelyn,
As far as the petunias. Just Sprinkle them on top of the vermiculite and you can transplant them when they get big enough. They always seem a little slow to get big to me..But eventually they will get big enough in the vermiculite to transfer somewhere else.
I guess it depends on how much time I have when I am planting them. If not much time then I plant the way Kim said. If I have time I will plant one seed in each hole. 6 packs. Yes, they are tiny but if you can see them you can still do it that way. Take a piece of paper about 6 inches square. Crease it in the middle and then on one end fold it in about 1 or 2 inches. Pour your seeds in the crease and holding it with the one hand just let the seeds roll out, one at a time. Use a sharp pencil or pen to control how they come out. Tip the paper up or down to control them. Once you do it a couple of times it will be very easy. Even with petunia seeds that are not pelleted.
I guess it depends on when you have the time to work with them. Either way it will take time. If you do it Kim's way then you will take more time re-potting them. Or, my way takes longer on the initial planting. Then when they have 4 leaves I use tweezers to take the 2 middle leaves out. That makes them bushy.
Thanks both of you! I appreciate your kind assistance with me, as I am already over my head with so many seeds! I will try and seed some into the cell packs, and maybe some others onto the vermiculite. That is right, it would save time to sow them individually, but is there generally 100 percent germination rates for fresh petunia seeds? If so, I will surely have a ton of petunias!
WOW! I am going to have petunias everywhere!! Hip, hip, hooray!! I will be rich in flowers...I hope I can grow my veggies as well. I don't think my hubby will like petunia salad! hehe. Well, lettuce is so easy, so i don't think it will be a problem. I won't plant every single lettuce seed, though. I can save some for a fall sowing and then next spring. Oh, but all those tomatoes! Well, if they go through the germination test, maybe I can trade some of them...do you mean you ever bought too many seeds??
Isn't this fun? I am sowing some lettuce today out in the raised beds, as it is a nice day, in between storms. I will probably sow a few in cell-packs as well so I can get a lot of variety. All those different and interesting leaf lettuces...Oh and the tomatoes! I did start some of the old ones last night, but I will do more, and not all of them will get bottom heat. I guess I will WS some of them too..."so many seeds and so little time"...well, I had better get out there!
(It used to be...when I was SO much younger..."so many men..." and now it is seeds!)
Well, I did no realize when you collect all these seeds you were suppose to plant them. LOL. I have thousands of seeds I have collected over the last 4 years. But they have not been in the refrigerator but tin cans in the garage. And the garage, even though insulated can get to be 95 degrees. I have a very large raised holding garden that I use when I receive plants shipped that are not large enough or strong enough to go directly into the garden. I think I am going to kludge up an incubator and sow some seeds and see what happens. I have seed starter kits but not enough for all these seeds., And I have an EZ Clone so I am also right now starting cuttings. I am a 67 little young lady and I think I have finally gone to far. But now you all have got me started. I hope my body stays stupid and does not realize that I am old. Thanks. This will be fun. Anyone here know how to germinate a Texas Laurel tree. I am doing cutting but I have several hundred seeds.
LOL, Sharon you will still see seeds that you want besides all of the ones in the cans. But, no, they don't do anything in the cans. You have to do something to help them produce whether it be vegetables or flowers, or trees, etc. They cannot do it in cans. Don't try to do all of those seeds. You will be overwhelmed. Just pick out a dozen or so, whatever you want, but don't try to grow them all. I you do, you will never try it again.
Ok, Jnette, when you start your petunia seeds in vermiculite, do you put them in a ziplock or sow on top of a container? I am not clear on this, as today, I am starting a lot of seeds and I will be doing the petunias as well. I think some petunias will go right in the cell packs...I should at least a few on heat, and maybe I can transfer others to the heat, once the first batch germinates.
I just have 2 heating pads, wrapped in towels. I did check the soil temp...as I was fearful that they would cook...tiny lobelia is coming up too. The old seeds, not yet, so I will report when they show their leaves. Oh, I take that back...someone sent me some tomatoes...very special ones.
Now normally I am opposed to GM foods...but this is a tomato with some blueberry genes and it is vigorous! I think I will prick them out today into cell-packs. I started them on 2/27, on heat. What I am opposed to is if the GM foods are not labeled as such, then people can make a choice. I am not sure how this one will taste, and it has been so long, I don't even remember who sent it to me. I think I will check on my old DG and GW mail, maybe there is something there about it. It is always best if I can figure out the dates. I should have put a separate label on the back of the envelope. Aw...shoulda', coulda'...no more...all with notes and labels!
Anyone else have trouble with this...it should be simple, but it does cut down the time one takes...I will try and figure out a way to do it, as well as quicker...
Have fun, and I 'll be back later, as it is a good sow day!
I don't put petunia seeds in a zip lock. Only if I plant them in a square cake pan first and put them in a gallon zip lock. They fit right in there nicely. I don't use vermiculite. I suppose I would/might if I had some. I just put them in a soiless seed starting mix. Pro-Mix.
Here is a tip by the way. If you are starting seeds in the house, always use a soiless planting mix or you will have a house full of gnats. Just as though you had ripe fruit lying on your kitchen counter.
That is what I do with both tomatoes and petunias. I try to start them on a heat mat and then move them so others can take their place when they germinate. Not a good idea to use heating pads. You should use the heat mats that are made specifically for plants. You could either cook the plants or start a fire.
Ok, I have been home all the time that the heating pads were on, and the soil thermometer say the soil temp is 70 degrees. Should I turn off the heat when I go out? Will this damage the seedlings-to-be? I tried taking the alyssum off the heat too soon, and it killed almost all of the seedlings, as well, I took off the plastic bags and I think the soil dried a bit as well. All the others are doing well. I transplanted some of the tomato seedlings, maybe toon soon, as they did not have there true leaves up yet, but I think I may have successfully done this before, as they look fine.
I was a bit concerned about the heating pads at first, but now I remember that I used them before, many years ago with success. I use towels to protect them from direct heat, I do not put them directly onto the mat. Also, they are in a thick plastic tray and the heating pads are underneath wrapped in towels.
I have been using Jiffy Mix, though I add a bit of vermiculite, as the mix does not wet easily by itself. I could not find Pro-Mix, and it is too costly to order by mail or internet, due to the shipping fees.
I might be a bit like Sharon, as I have a lot of seeds, and I am trying to at least get some of the oldest started first...no, I will not grow every single seed, but I do have a good start. My plan is to start the most important ones first, then WS many others as well as some samples of perennial seeds by the Deno method.
Sorry, I don't like to cry wolf, but maybe I am getting cautious in my old age. I just don't think a few seeds are worth taking a chance on burning your whole house down and possibly you included, and maybe pets?
I just don't know anymore...about heat mats. I have a whole garden that germinated in the fridge!! Right now I have over 200 seeds that germinated in the fridge and just got them all outside in a cold frame. I know some seeds need heat to germinate..But geez. After this fridge fiasco..I wonder. I have plants that "The Book" says are annuals and they are all coming up from the roots..Plants that are not suppose to take cold..All alive! I just don't know anymore. I say DO WHAT WORKS..But don't burn the house down..LOL
Oh, sorry..."How long does it usually take for petunias to germinate?"
These were old tomato seeds, and they germinated about 3/5, from a 2/27 sowing. I don't usually wait for the true leaves on tomatoes. Especially if they are stretching. They look good and are getting bigger already, as I buried them almost up to their leaves. They are dark green and look strong. I transferred them from those plastic boxes (mini-seedbeds) which were wrapped in plastic bags on heat, then transferred to cell packs, no wrap, no heat.
The petunias are on heat and light...the light about 12 hrs. I have only sowed blue and yellow so far. next come the mixed. I put them directly in cell packs this time, since the seeds are so small, was that right? I will do some more tomorrow, as I have been in the city all day today.
Here's one for you. Verbenas need dark to germinate. They say to put a black plastic over them. I put an unfolded black plastic trash bag over mine. Under the dome. I am going to see if I can't put it on top of, around the dome. First time I have ever done this.
Jnette wrote:Here's one for you. Verbenas need dark to germinate. They say to put a black plastic over them. I put an unfolded black plastic trash bag over mine. Under the dome. I am going to see if I can't put it on top of, around the dome. First time I have ever done this.
What verbena was it, and was it on heat, and how many days until germination?
They are not perennials. Summer Hill Seed. No heat, 20 to 25 days to germinate according to the pack. I put it on th top shelf of my unit and forgot about it. So, I finally thought about 'cause I had forgotten how long to germinate and when I had even put it up there. So, took it down in one week and they were coming up. Looked like white hair. I had planted them in 6 pack ponies. One seed per and 6 seeds in each pack. They are coming up now, a few each day. The first ones I did this with are getting little green leaves when they get the seed head off of their 2 'new' leaves. Not sure if they are true leaves or not.
Very strange little plants. Now, not knowing anything about verbenas I got some pink perennial seed in a swap and winter sowed them. I guess maybe I should bring them inside and maybe stick them in a closet or something.
Hi all, interesting thread. I would like to hear a report on the seed germiating success.
I WS Rainmaster petunias, an heirloom, and I had excellent germination. I re-potted them in little cell packs. Since then, I have planted some in my window boxes and some in a garden. They are slow to grow. Growing annuals are a lesson in patience! It takes them so long to actually bloom and then we have a freeze and poof it's all over. I still have many petunias to either plant in containers or other gardens.
I WS allysum in the containers you get berries in that was mentioned above. I put wet paper towels on the bottoms and then Pro-Mix. I had great germination. I have planted many of them in containers with my amjyrillis and others. They have started to bloom.
I had very old marigold seeds: 80's they did not germinated. I had some from the 90's and I had weak germination. I had year old marigold seed, Crackerjack, and I had great germination.
I purchased a garden heat mat, (I assume that is what the above discussion is about) and had very poor luck with germination. I guess I don't know how to use it yet. I could not find any information as to how to actually use this mat. The soil became very dried out and I wasn't sure how to keep them moist since it is electricity.
I have had seed for years and years-going back to the 80's. I experimented with a lot of the seed this year: the Deno method, to see if the seed was still viable. If it was, then, I planted a bunch of it. My dad always did this with his wheat seed to get a percentage of seed germination.
To the person that could not get Pro MIx--Fertilome puts out a nice soil for starting seeds or potting plants. I have used both.
I took a bunch of the very old seed and put it all together and still plan to plant it out in one of my gardens just to see what will grow. Probably nothing~!
I planted Aquilea, 'McKenna Giants, mix and wonderful germination. I plan to plant them in their permanent place this fall. I have really good luck WS perennials and planting them in the fall.
I also had very good luck with perennial snapdragons, annual snapdragons, candytuft, shasta daisy, and foxglove. I do foxglove every year and plant it in the fall for flower the next spring/summer. It germinates very easily. I have tons of MG that come up from seed every year.
I am still wanting to grow Thunbergia 'Blushing Susie', (clockvine or blackeye susan vine). I had great WS germination last year, but failed to get it sown this past winter. Do you think it's too late? Any suggestions to speed things up? I really like this plant.
LOL, yeah buy one like I did. Just kidding. Won't hurt to try.
I discovered that the verbena did better for me under the lights and on heat. BTW Birdie, did you get a thermostat with your heat mat? You need both or you will burn your plants. Yes, it will also dry them out. I normally use a dome when I use a heat mat. Once the seeds have pretty much germinated I take them off the mat and the dome off and just have them under lights.
Sounds like you are doing everything right with your wintersowing. Much better than I did. I found that all of the warming during the day and freezing every night that went on for 2 months or more sure didn't help them much. Anyway, it was a fun experiment, but I lost a lot of good seeds by trying it.
Yes, I did verbena last year from seed in doors. I put it in a container like a cool whip container with no light. I had poor germination, but did get some plants to grow. And you know, I don't need 50! I thought the Verbena seeds were rather tricky to get from seed to bloom.
No, I didn't get a thermostat. Nice to know about a thermostat, and the dome and that you take the seeds off after germination.
Ohhhhhhhhh boy oh boy. That's a hard one..I germinate seeds differently depending on what I might think the seeds need to germinate may be. Somtimes even depending what mood I'm in..how fast I want the plant..lots of different factors.
Most seeds can be stored in the refrigerator, and can withstand cold treatment. Annual flowers and vine seeds usually germinate without any cold treatment. Although there are many Annual seeds that benefit from cold treatment (like Impatiens capensis and pallida) Very tiny seeds (like snapdragons) can be sown right on top of the growing medium surface for germination. Hard coated seeds can benefit from being nicked and soaked in water before sowing. For example, Morning Glory seeds germinate faster when soaked before sowing. Seeds that benefit from cold treatment are usually Cold Hardy Perennials. They can be winter sown in the ground or prepared indoors.
Keep in mind when sowing seeds indoors the key is: You are trying to duplicate how germination occurs in natural conditions for that particular plant. For preparing indoors, place seeds inside a small bag, or container with vermiculite, add water. Just enough to wet the vermiculite and squeeze any excess water out the baggie, then seal it shut. Then place the ziplock bag/container in the freezer (very cold hardy plants) or in the refrigerator (semi-cold hardy plants) for 6-12 weeks until ready to sow. Therefore they will already be cold stratified and ready for sowing indoors. Always use good seed starting medium (or vermiculite) when trying to start new seeds.
Note: Seeds can germinate in the Baggie in the refrigerator. So keep an eye on them after a few weeks.
Kim contacted me to tell her 2 year old daugter was seriously hurt in a major accident at home. She's in the hospital now and doesn't know when she can contact people or send out trades again.
Please give here time to be with her daughter and come back to you.
She's an excellent trader who always handles correct, so be sure she'll be back as soon as she can and will send out everything she promised and will answer mails you sent her.
Ohhh she is fine. She is healing like I never imagined. I didn't consider that babies heal fast and better then us grown folks... So I was all Crazy for nothing. But she still had 26 stitches inside out...sigh.
Aconitum seeds are moist packed to stop them drying out too much. They are best sown as soon as possible as they do not keep well.
If you want to learn more about them, go to my thread in the perennials section.
Yup...I have purchased aconitum seeds that have been shipped in moist vermiculite seed packs. There are a few species that will germinate without cold treatment. I can't think of the species off hand but i have both. I'll go look in the fridge and come back with the names :-)
Ooops I never came back with the names...One that germinates without the cold treatment is Aconitum hemsleyanum 'Red Wine' and the other one is Aconitum heterophyllum.
I can't think of the website off hand...who send their seeds packed in vermiculite. I have ordered from them several times and I can't believe I have forgotten the name. Other people from Dave's have purchased from them too. I remember reading a thread that someone had a hard time with an order from them. Which I have never had any problem with an order. They are in Canada I believe...It'll come back to me and then I'll post it. Sorry
Yes, Kim...I was wondering where you got such special aconitum. I have not heard of these at all. Do you have a place where you have a file of your orders? Or do you keep catalogs in a file box? OK, I can wait...LOL!!!
I always store seeds with some dessicant in the jar. Many 2x3 Ziplocs plus one paper envelopem of silica gel in a 3-pound plastic jar that held peanut butter or peanuts. And I dry them for weeks before I put them in plastic Zip0locs. But some humidity can migrate right through the plastic baggie, and more migrates through the zipper closure.
Good luck with starting Penstemon of any age! Most need cold stratification, and they still sprout and grow very slowly in my limited experience.
Maybe when some seeds get to be several years old, they will break their dormacy without stratification. I read someone speculating about that. I started some seeds that "need stratification" but got 40-50% germination without it.
Someone suggested that for Salvia (and probably most hard-shelled seeds), they germinate faster and tend less to rot if you pre-soak them overnight in dilute hydrogen peroxide (0.1% = One and a half teaspoons peroxide per cup of water, or
1 ounce peroxide per Quart of water).
>> You may not be able to get vermiculite in Belgium. A lot of stores are no longer carrying it because of the danger to your lungs if you breath the dust.
I've read that that was more a concern of the past, that now all vermiculite sold anywhere is asbestos-free.
>> Does everyone use the domes like Park Seeds have?
I use the two that I have, then put thin, clear plastic film over the tray. I have a roll of 18" wide film, but you could use a dry-cleaning bag cut lengthwise.
Corey ~ You might find that aconitum do better in your climate than penstemon...just saying...I have a hard time keeping mine alive during the summer. I am constructing a new shade garden, but it is not quite ready yet. They really do not like hot sun, even "morning sun"!
I concur. I have had several but they did poorly since I did not have a good shady spot for them. I look forward to completing my new shade garden. I have several plants that I grow on the north side of my house that really would like more shade as well.
Hydrangeas, ferns, lamium, primula are all there but need more moisture as well. The new spot will be much more accomodating to them. Actually there is varying degrees of shade so I can put some plants in a little more sun and some with less. It sure has been needed for a while.
I won't be starting any aconitum just yet. I want to get that new bed fully established and it will need lots of amending as I have hard clay soil.
Hmmmmm my aconitums get sun and they seem to grow well. I think they prefer rich soil. Which may make a difference in their growth... Mine are in very rich soil.
Just my opinion... But any seed is easy to germinate when given the proper conditions (and knowledge on how to germinate). I had a pack if seeds and sowed half and every seed germineted within days for me. I gave the same seed from the same pack to someone else.. He swore I gave him bad seed because not one would germinate.
Hello Kim. What a wonderfull thread. I started to wintersow a lot of seeds this weekend. The vermerculite method looks great to me. Just have to find some. I know Jonna in Belgium is able to buy it.What a nice seed site Gardensnorth! Will keep following this thread. Keep notes on all the seeds I sow.
Kim I did receive the bags of vermiculite. When I opened the package I thougt for a second that they were gras seeds lol. Thanks a lot. Did not know that vermiculite could come in such fine structure. I already used one back to cover the seeds with, which needed covering. I did find a company who sells it to the agriculture business not far from here, so I will give them a call to-morrow. I took a look at your site Unique Seeds. You have some nice seeds listed there. Are you going to add some more seeds there? I will keep following this tread. It provides me with a lot of information. I don't know how my DH will react when I start filling the fridge with seeds.
Evelyn I am not sure with the delphinum. I have never grown one from seed. Every one I've ever had was purchased. I will try some and put them to the test :-) I have seeds of a striking delphinium I collected in 2005. The seeds look the same as the day harvested. As far as aconitum... Most of the seeds I've germinated were not more then a year old. Columbine will germinate under extremely high moisture when old. I put them in a cup of soaking wet vermiculite and place plastic over it. So no moisture will escape and they usually germinate in about 7 days. I let them get a little bigger and transplant in a small pot.
I planted linaria seeds from 2005 harvest this summer. I got 100% germination...surprised me!
All of my seeds are stored at room temperature and dry. We have very little humidity here. Room temps range from about 60° to 70°. I keep them in an underbed storage container, and further separated by smaller plastic bins sorted according to type. I have yet to divest myself of all of them. If I don't sow them all by the end of fall and wintersow, maybe I will be able to sow them in spring.
I say that every year, but spring through summer and until it gets cold, I am outside working the soil, watering, weeding and so on. I hope to get my grandson-in-law to install a watering system to the gardens as that will save me so much time during the summer. I wanted to sow pansies this summer, but it was too hot. I suppose I could have sown them indoors, but did not seem to have the chance to do it. I ended up buying pansies...again!!! (GRR...!!!) They last all winter in color bowls under our windows.
Yes, Kim...I did that, too! I have 3 color bowls on shelves in front of 2 windows. They are out of the reach of deer, though they have been known to eat those too. I had better put repellant on those as well. Usually they do not bother to reach, but they can if they are hungry enough.
So far, I have a few planted in the ground unprotected by a fence and they have not been harmed. I doused them heavily with Liquid Fence. (stinky stuff!) It works until it wears off and then when it has been raining and then snowing, I forget about it and the snow melts and the plants get a fresh attack!
Here is a great site on germinating seeds. Hardy perennials usually need to be stratified (moist cold) to sprout. I store all my seeds in the crisper in the fridge. Perennials can be stratified in damp kitchen towels placed in a zip lock back and stored in the fridge for 3 weeks. Most will sprout when brought out to room temp.
By the way, the crisper drawer actually maintains HIGHER humidity than the rest of the fridge. Lettuce stays c risp becuase it is not dried out.
Maybe the crisper prevents room-humidty from condensing on seed pkts every time you open and close the fridge door. THAT is a good thing!
Those seeds might last even longer if they were in a SEALED container in the fridge or crisper drawer. I put little paper envelopes of silica gel in my screw-lid plastic seed tubs, to KEEP them dry no matter what. 1-2 tablespoons lasts me a few months or a year, depending on how often I open the jar.
Silica gel is cheap at craft stores (used for drying flowers). You can veen regenerate it by baking at 250 F for a few hours (no hotter or you'll "scortch: it and reduce it's capacity).
You can also bake rice extra-dry, until "not quite brown yet". That doesn't have as much c apac ity as silica gel, and won't reduce the humidity quite4 as low, but it does help.
I guess I forgot to mention that I keep seeds in small zip lock bags, THEN, in the crisper drawer in the fridge. when I need to take the seeds out to use, I allow the bag to lay in room temp before opening to prevent condensation.
putting plastic bags in a glass jar is a great idea for a few bags. I have too many ziplock bags with seed to do it that way. I also use the prescription plastic container. My daughter and daughter-in-law saves them for me whenever they get them. Theky are great for a large number os seeds.
Instead of vermiculite to use a mideum to sow seeds in, I use fine peat moss. For dust-like seeds that require stratification, it works great in the fridge. Just dampen the peat moss and sprinkle the seed on surface. When germinated, just transfer some of the peatmoss to potting soil. I have germinated Delosperma cooperi (red iceplant) dust-like seeds on peat-moss.
The photo is seedlings of red iceplant after planted in potting soil. They germinated in peat moss. The other 2 are the finished product. They come true from seed since not a hybrid.