good grief...i posted this to the "propagation" forum by mistake so here it is again in "seed germination" where it should be :-0
greetings! i am wondering if anyone has had experience starting either or both of these two plants from seed? how did it go? what methods did you try? what was successful? how long until germination, plus or minus?
Odontonema c. and Justicia b. are both native to Mexico and so i'm thinking i will just put some seeds out on the soil, slightly covered and water them in. Also, i'd want to start some in small pots. I don't know what the seedlings look like so putting them out in the soil always seems to create identity problems.
it is warm here always and humid now...good conditions for seed starting. the night time temps are not going below 70 F, but heavy rains could cause some floating away problems. any ideas? :-D
I suggest that you consider using the Deno method to start the seed. You'll need a) coffee filters, b) baggies, and c) seed. Lay out your coffee filter and dampen it a bit. Drop about a dozen seeds on the filter, and then fold it up so that all of the seeds are sandwiched between paper. You don't want your seed to be in contact with the baggie. Wet the filter packet all the way, but not dripping, and put into the baggie. Squeeze out most of the air, and seal the baggie. Leave the whole thing on a windowsill or in a bright, sheltered spot. Check each day to make sure the filter doesn't dry out. It shouldn't, but sometimes the seal on the baggie doesn't close properly. Once the seeds sprout, transplant the seedlings into an intermediate pot to get them growing for a month or so before you transplant them into their permanent spot. I like this method because I know exactly what is sprouting, and I don't waste seed planting more than one per pot.
Thank you lanakila...yes, good idea. I've been thinking of using 3 different methods; the one you describe, peat pellets, and outside under a tree growing in a large tree container. These are the methods that have worked well for me in the past and you are right, "knowing what is sprouting" is a very BIG plus.
I do have a question though...possibly i've been doing the Deno method incorrectly because instead of squeezing all the air out of the baggie, i've been blowing air into the baggie. I read somewhere this prevents the seeds from becoming moldy. What do you think?
I don't squeeze the bag like to make it look like it was vacuum packed or anything. I just don't leave much air in there because I stack them in a container and I want to be able to get stuff in there. Some seeds actually need the mold to break dormancy but if you end up with mold on just a few of your seeds, maybe they aren't the kind that need it and you can always open the filter and pluck those out.
FYI, i tried about 10 seeds or so in damp coffee filters. After 3 days, 3 of the odontonema (mexican purple firespike) had germinated and 2 of the justicia (red shrimp plant) had germinated and i expect more will germinate over the next few days. I knew i had super fresh seeds of both (less than a month from harvest and drying) that had been handled in a careful way to assure maximum viability. With some wild seeds, this can make all the difference. Thank you for the suggestion lanakila and may the sun shine down with a bounty of blessings on the garden of the kind Louisiana person who sent me the seeds :-D