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Can anyone offer some tips on starting Morning Glory from seed? Last year I direct sowed it and nothing grew. This year I'm trying to start in seed trays alongside my veggies, and so far nothing - from the Morning Glory, that is. :) I keep taking seed pods off my MIL's plant in the fall.
Nicking seems to be the key... even if you don't pre-soak or pre-sprout the seed, a nicked seed will be able to take in water from the potting mix to get started.
I'm not going to nick the big handful of mixed MG seeds that I plan to sow soon... but I do think I'll give them a 4 hour soak in the stronger solution of hydrogen peroxide that Ron suggested... I think that will weaken the seed coat in places to accomplish the same effect as nicking.
I didn't do anything to them - no nicking or soaking - just dropped them in the soil in the seed tray. Its been nearly two weeks and no signs of a sprout. I will try another handful, nicking/soaking them first and see how they do. I have a ton of seeds to work with until I get it right!
sorry, wildgirl... I don't do a good job of keeping track of which forums are open to whom...
Here's Ron's short & sweet answer:
"...Most MG's germinate in temperatues from 59 to 90 degrees, but there may be some unusual exceptions...the seeds may take longer to sprout if they are simply planted without any pre-soaking...I presoak seeds in a shallow container of 50/50 (or 25/75) hydrogen peroxide and warm water for several hours to a day or so until the seeds have visibly swollen and then proceed to placing the seed in a mini-greenhouse ...the seeds will often have unfurled embryonic leaves within a couple day.
The Hydrogen Peroxide helps to soften the seedcoat,functions as an antiseptic,helps to remove some germination inhibitors and adds extra oxygen to the soak helping to oxygenate the solution thereby lessening the 'drowning' effect of the seeds being submerged...using shallow containers for the soak helps to facillitate gaseous exchange..."
Some people also pre-sprout the seeds after soaking by putting them between damp layers of paper coffee filters or paper towel, then into a baggie... pot them up when they get little "tails."
Last night I started a few more, I roughed them up a little first, gently scraping them with sandpaper. I see that I may have some bad seeds, some crushed very easily with just slight pressure from my fingernail. Those that didn't crush got planted. I have some others set aside that I will try pre-soaking with the hyrdrogen peroxide solution and see where that gets me.
My direct seeded MG seeds were in great form 4 years ago. But they attracted pincher bugs like crazy. I had about 16 plants, spewing out seeds all over the pace, and only 1 returned the next year. Now, I'm down to zero, but there's also no pincher bugs either.
I've had good luck with taking toenail clippers and clipping a teeny, tiny bit off each end of the seed. Then I soak them in a cup of hot water for at least 24 hours. I put them in a soil plug in a tray on a heating pad; keep them damp. I usually have germination in about a week, but sometimes it's been as little as 2 days.
Good luck--I'm hoping to put some seedlings out this weekend.
I have never knicked an MG seed and they all sprout. Sometimes I soak overnight, a few times I forgot about them and they sprouted in the bowl, I threw them against the fence and walah! lol
I have had some sprout in water and I didn't have time to plant immediately so I put them in damp paper towels for two days and they were still fine.
Glories are illegal in AZ and a major weed problem in San Jauquin county in CA, ...these things are very hardy and will come up in just about any condition...maybe it is just too cold right now for you?
But my MIL was in CT and grew them for years...overnight soak and throw them against the fence.
I've gotten into the habit of soaking and abrading all tough-skinned and sizeable seeds that I plant. I carefully abrade part of the seed in question by rubbing it against an emery board; I've also used sandpaper--same deal. I'm right-handed, so I hold down an emery board or piece of sandpaper with my left hand on a flat, solid surface; with the right hand--depending on the size/type of seed--I'll either hold the seed between thumb and forefinger and sometimes middle finger, all at once--OR I'll hold the seed in an eyebrow-type tweezer and rub away against the em-board or sandpaper. I've abraded seeds before or after soaking. Many would advocate abrading pre-soaking as it encourages fluid absorption; on the other hand, scraping the seed skin post-soaking achieves the same objective as the seed will absorb H2O from the moist seeding mix.
I conduct this stage of the process INDOORS. There's no reason why you can't do the same and then transfer outdoors--which is what most folk do. I also supply some bottom heat, unless I've read that the seeds in question need low temps to germinate.
Wildgarden, I hope you took GiddyMoon up on her offer of seeds. One thing I learned from writing up EmmaGrace's notes on germinating MG seeds is that when nicking, be sure to nick the pointy end away from the end with the eye. I'm going to dmail her essay to you - I better not post it here until it passes final muster. But, if anyone else wants a copy, dmail me and I'll send it to you.
It's not too late to start MG seeds where you are for flowers, but if you want to save seeds, consider growing a vine or two or few in a pot so you can take it inside to ripen seed after autumn frost. For ripening seed, you don't need greenhouse conditions.
I've been soaking my mg seeds in just water for a long time. I decided to try the water/hydrogen peroxide solution to soak some Wedding Bells mg's because they are harder to get to germinate than any other variety. I soaked them in a 3:1 solution (3 parts water/1 part hydrogen peroxide) for 18 hours. 3 of them plumped up. I then put them in the damp coffee filter and inside a plastic bag for 18 hours and kept them in a warm place (sunny).They grew little tails and the leaves started to emerge! I was very impressed with this solution and will do this from now on with my mg's. It really does work!
I just had amazing success...24 hours after planting into germination area, I had green sprouts 1cm high. I may have gotten lucky, and it was only 2 out of 30 so far but surely the rest will do just fine.
Basically, I soaked the seeds in light chamomile water (since they were from outside) in a wet paper towel inside a ziplock bag above the fridge for about 8 days. Then when 2 or 3 were just about mushy (shedding the outer casing), I planted all, tap root down, in regular Miracle Gro Seed Starting Soil. I watered it, kept the temp at 85 deg and humidity at 90 for the first day, which I just lowered.
I usually soak Morning Glories inside then plant outside - they are usually slow. I did them in a tray once - they were still slow. One year I must have got bad seed, the germination rate was really poor - so that can happen, too. But once they start, they grow fast - that is the problem with starting them indoors.
geminisbro, That is what I do with all my seeds. I do only perennials. Those that require stratification (moist cold) I stick in the fridge for 3 weeks. That is how I got 156+ daylily seedlings growing.
The only difference I soak over night in hand hot water. If I was going to sow MG seeds I would nick them first.
[quote="ginkgo60"]Thanks for all of the advice - I'm starting morning glory seeds for the first time!!! Thanks again![/quote]
Good luck !! I just soaked my 'Heavenly Blue' morning glory seeds in warm water and left them for about 24 hrs until the seed case 'cracked' open. Popped them in individual cells with soil and covered them with the plastic 'roof'. Next day I had 2 or 3 up ... a week later and they are ALL up and about 4 inches tall! Kept them on the indoor window sill.
I have been growing red morning glories for a few years now and have done the same as above. I have even been saving the seeds and using them to great success. They are very pretty as the trumpets are very small and narrow - and the leaves are very finely cut and ferny looking!
I just dump the seed in a jar of very warm bottled spring water without any additives and if left for 2 days, they will split and begin sending out root initials! Another method I use is to plant them in newspaper "paper pots" (search Google for paper pot maker), 2 seeds per pp; I use bottom heat to warm the potting soil until they germinate. Plant the whole shebang out in the garden after they put on 2 sets of leaves (make sure the paper rim is buried under the soil or it acts just like a peat pot).
PS - I use bottled spring water or distilled water when soaking seeds - try it if you have water quality issues.