A friend gave me a pod (seed/spore) from her Ladyslipper (I think its the pink one more common in this area. It was a gift to her, so she didn't know). I've heard that these are difficult to germinate. Does anyone have any advice on how to have success with this gorgeous plant?
Lady Slipper Seed... HELP!
Lady slipper seeds are VERY fine, a seed pod having as many as 10,000 to 20,000 seeds. The seeds have no endosperm (food) and cannot germinate unless infected by certain soil fungi that supply nutrients, so you cannot use sterile potting mix, and if you do succeed it will be several years before you see any blooms. There is a good reason that nursery grown slippers are so pricey. You are not embarking on an easy project!
You may as well sprinkle the seeds in an area that you would like the plants to grow. The soil probably has some necessary fungi and you may find you have small plants in a year or two. What do you have to lose?
I wonder if using compost would work to provide nutrients? Or a really watered-down compost tea mixture?
Its the infecting fungi that feed the germinating seed and young plant by its interaction with its host. That process is what gets nutrients in the environment into the seed's/plant's system. Its the fungi that are essential. Sowing seeds in a pot with a thriving orchid can sometimes do the trick, but its not quick.
So maybe my best bet is to give the pod back to my friend and ask her to scatter it around the established "parent"?
Just a thought...May be you could get a small quantity of soil from near your friends successful lady slipper and innoculate your seed starting mix with that.
I don't know how amenable these people would be to inquiries, but it can't hurt to email them and ask a specific question or two (I'd limit it, so you're not asking for much of their time).
I'm planning a trip up there this summer to see their nursery (although it's starting to sound like April/May is really the time to go). They have some amazing stuff - quite an inventory or hard-to-find plants.
Kathy, I think you'll love the place.
I'm jealous of your proximity to so many interesting nurseries!
I ordered from Fraser's Thimble Farms for the first time this year.
Plants came awfully early (2-3 wks ago), because they wanted to ship while still dormant.
The staff was very nice. In fact, it may have been the owner who called.
They called to warn me they were coming, rather than just show up on my doorstep.
The plants are coming up now, but it's too early for me to plant yet.
I hope they don't get too gangly in their pots waiting to get in the ground.
Got some very weird trilliums (you'd never know they were trilliums unless you read the label!)
Some other things I've never heard of.
Adventure Gardening. My specialty.
We'll see if any of them survive to see another spring...
What a treat to be able to see your new plants coming up. I got an email response to my inquiry about traveling up there right away. They sound like very helpful people. Now I'm thinking that I might need to take a little time to explore their environment at Salt Springs Island, as well. I'm seeing pictures online and it looks like a wonderful getaway.
I wish Washington and Missouri were closer. It sounds like you and I like the same kinds of plants. I am looking forward to pictures of your new Trilliums (Trillia?).
Ooooh. Ahhhh. These are nice. The Trillium rivale DOES look tiny. What a nice selection. The number of plants they have is so big - I'm having trouble making a list. :-)
Thanks for sharing.
Years agoa friend said that the red lady slipper Orchid grew best in a sandy loam under pines and in a layer of "duff" just under the top, I think he also meant where there was previous Microrhizia in the soil
Doug, it's just a nice collection in pots so far.
I'll be happier if they are still a nice collection next year.
You know I'll be showing off pix next year, if they survive in my yard.