Learning from each other, that's what this thread is all about. When you post your successes and failures (just as important), it would be great if you could include:
--- botanical name of seed
--- date planted
--- temperature(s) at which planted and germinated, if winter sowed, or any pre treatments
--- date germinated (or emerged)
--- approximate percentage of germination, if known. Age and number of seeds if relevant.
--- What zone you are sowing seed in.
--- other comments (sometimes more interesting then anything else!)
I thought of two more things to include in your germination report, if possible -
1) what zone you are sowing your seed in
2) # of seeds sown compared to # seeds germinated - This will be especially useful for comparing wintersown seeds to seeds sown at indoor and/or summer temps. If you only have a few seeds with which to start, it would be helpful to know which technique might make the most of your seeds.
Just a suggestion - I know this will make propagation more cumbersome.
I've never gotten lily seed to germinate...I've not heard of this soaking technique. Do you use hyrdogen peroxide like daylily or plain water? Do you change the water daily? (I do that with Arisaema seed).
All my seeds are in strat at the moment. I will start moving some to the heat next week. I did sow cyclamen and ariseama about 2 weeks ago but nary a sign yet.
I had never heard of soaking lily seed before this year. And I questioned the validity. See this thread: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/932088/
I respect Dennis as a very knowledgeable man, and if you have been around lilies at all, you'll recognize the name of Robert Griesbach.
So this is the first time I tried it with these, and I don't plan on soaking any of my other Lilium seeds.
Do change the water daily, just like with iris seed. I use distilled water, as my other option is city water with a high pH, chlorine, etc. My seed did not get a bleach treatment, though.
Todd, I can't believe you haven't gotten Lilium seed to germinate. Obviously not high on your priorty list, and I'll bet you haven't tried too many.
Gee, I woulda soaked my Arisaema seed before I winter sowed, if only I knew . . .
Using the soaking technique, in the past I had good success with some Arisaema while others were dismal. I soak them for a week, changing the water daily, then sow them and place them in 60-70 F. They generally don't need a strat period. I sowed 4 species this year..been planted 2 weeks now and no signs...hmmmm
Here what Dr. Norman Deno says about soaking seeds in his First Supplement to the Second Edition of SEed Germination Theory and Practice (page 11):
"A time-honored procedure in growing plants from seed is to soak the seeds in water before planting. There is no question that seeds must absorb water in order to germinate, but the following facts cast much doubt on the value of soaking. First of all in using my moist paper towel technique I have not found that a preliminary soaking gave significantly faster germination. This was true even for large seeds... More alarming is the fact that many seeds die at a (sic) significant rates under water even if the water is changed every day and even if the seeds are under only an inch of water. What happens is that many seeds and particularly large seeds commence a rapid metabolism on moistening which has a large demand for oxygen. If placed under water the delivery of oxygen to the seed is inhibited, and the seeds start to die of asphyxiation..." (examples)... "Presumably soaking for a day would have some minor value for large seeds if placed in certain media that transmitted water poorly. However, growers should be aware of the potential dangers of soaking. Possibly constant aeration of the water by bubbling air through it would make soaking less hazardous, but the minor benefits of soaking do not seem to warrant much effort in this direction."
Unless I find some equally well-researched evidence to the contrary, I won't bother, LOL! I'm not one for unnecessary steps!
With Arisaema, the benefit you see may actually be due to the removal of chemical inhibitors in the fleshy outer coating of the seed by the soaking process; the chemical inhibitors are usually water soluble, but are oily in the case of Arisaema. Deno's recommendation is to rinse the seeds daily for seven days, using a bit of detergent in this case, to remove the oily coating, and hence the chemical inhibitors to germination. (Re. Dr. Norm Deno: Seed Germination Theory and Practice, pages 5 and 100).
I knew the soaking was to remove inhibitors...I expect there are other seeds where that could help too. I suppose adding hydrogen peroxide to the water would help overcome the lack of oxygen...I do that with daylily seeds...they actually germinate in the water. Next year I'll try that with the Arisaema. Not an alpine, but Mimosa seeds also germinate in water. It can't cause asphyxiation in all seeds.
Must admit, I don't soak any other seeds except cyclamen...like Arisaema, they have oily residue as well.
I'd like to find some actual scientifically-tested evidence about the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide in seed starting (not as an anti-fungal or for any other use). Deno's only comment on H2O2 is in the second supplement re. data from commercial growers. It says that seeds of Bursera germinated only after treatment with H2O2 but that the concentrations and duration of treatment were critical.
Oxygen in H2O2 is not "free" but is bound up in the compound... unless plants can actually break the chemical bonds and separate the oxygen from the two hydrogens (which I doubt???), I'm skeptical that H2O2 in water would have a positive effect on germination by providing oxygen to counteract the potential harmful effects of soaking. Bubbling oxygen through the soak water could do that... but why would anyone bother with such complexity? (Just not soaking would remove the problem that the H2O2 is supposed to overcome.) H2O2 may have other positive effects on germination, other than supposedly providing oxygen... as I said, I'd like to find the scientific support (not anecdotal), if there is any, for what those might be.
Based on my own observations, daylily seeds (tetraploid hybrids) direct sown vs soaking in plain water vs. H2O2, the best germination was with H2O2. Direct sown was quite poor. Plain water a bit better..H2O2 gave nearly 100% germination. In my books, that's proof enough! I will admit I have not used H2O2 on anything else. HOW H2O2 actually encourages germination in daylily I have no idea.
Todd, if your tests were conducted with the same batch of seed (same plant, collected at the same time, and stored the same), divided into 3 parts (direct sown, water soak, H2O2 soak), then that would really be a start towards actually proving the effectiveness of H2O2 (and if the same results were repeatable, too). Have you ever considered doing that and publishing the results? It would be very interesting and helpful research. (Of course, someone would still have to figure out what was actually happening that made it effective...) I believe you have a scientific background, so I'm sure you grasp what I'm saying about ensuring that conditions are the same, in order to isolate whether a treatment is actually effective, statistically, and then, why. So much about seed germination is tied to time of collection, conditions and length of storage, light, dark, etc., that those variables may have considerable effects on the result (viz. Deno). Deno didn't seem to spend a lot of effort on hemerocallis, but he did note that the batches of hybrid seed he studied germinated under all conditions, at varying rates (i.e. different sequences of warm and cold, dry stored, fresh), so one can imagine the variability that the relative willingness of hemerocallis to germinate might introduce into the experiment... as compared to the relative simplicity of only two variables, "no germination" versus "germination". (Also, the worst germination rate noted was 50%; the second worst was 88%; the remainder were generally above 90%.) Anyway, just some musings...
This discussion is quite timely for me, as this spring I will be germinating my first Hemerocallis seed: a cross of H. altissima x H. 'Siloam Ury Winnifred'. I am surprised that seed was even produced. It seems the tall night blooming species would be so far removed from the genes ofWinnie. But then, I know diddly about daylilies. From five Winnie buds I peeled open to pollinate (then protected with foil), three of them took. Unless . . . do Hemerocallis produce apomictic seed?
From a lehman's point of view regarding H2O2, it would seem not to be such a miraculously stable compound. As a disinfectant and an oxidzer, I would assume the molecules break into an ionic state. And, at least according Wiki, hydrogen peroxide decomposes to water, and liberates oxygen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_peroxide
2 H2O2 → 2 H2O + O2
I can be fairly sure they would not be winter hardy here. But if I can keep everything that has sprouted (wishful thinking), I would have plenty to test with. I sowed rather thickly since nothing came up last year. Last year when I ordered seed from NARGS, I seem to think I would always have time to store them inside somewhere for the winter. Don't know what I was thinking, LOL. I chose a few others under that assumption, too.
Well my motto has always been "I grow (plants) to learn." A beautiful garden has never been a goal for me, although it is all beautiful to me.
Wow, after 12 days away, I have seeds coming up all over. I'll post more details when I get more organized. However, I'm really pumped as I have great germination this year on Cremanthodium ellisii, C. helianthus, Primula firmipes, Meconopsis naupalensis and Gentiana wujaiensis...could never get these to sprout in the past. I sowed them in early Feb. and kept them in the root cellar at work (4 C) for 6 weeks then brought them into 15-20 C and up they came in 3 weeks. Now to keep them from damping off!
winter sowed 20 Feb
emerged 21 March, after three days of 50F and 1 day of 60F
100% germination estimate
Since then, temps have plummeted, and bobbed above and below freezing since, even in the garage. The tiny little seedlings, initially without even unfolding their cotyledons, are still just fine. Cotyledons now completely displayed, and they go outside whenever it is freezing or above, and in the garage at night.
OK, I'll add some... alphabetical order... sorry, I find it a little too mindnumbing to count the seeds, so my success measures are often just qualitative!
Legend: 70, 40 refer to the temperature in degrees F
L = light (seeds on top of soil), D= dark (seeds covered with thin soil layer)
GA-3 = seeds left overnight in a dish in a few drops of water with the amount of gibberellic acid that fits on the end of a toothpick dissolved in it (very little!), then sown.
Sown Feb. 22/09
First germinated March 1, lots by March 5
Well, I gave up on those two pots because, in retrospect, I wasn't even sure if I had planted any actual Arenaria tetraquetraseeds, and the soil surface in both it and the Arctuous rubra pots were very thickly covered with algae - I don't worry about a little, but I thought a thick mat might hamper germination(??)... and heck, I need the space under the lights! (I know I should have kept them over, LOL!) I'll try Arctuous rubra again if I have any more seeds left.
Okay, where was I?
Sown Feb. 22; 40L for 6 wks (coldroom)
Moved to 70 on April 5
Germ started April 15, and proceeded very slowly
Sown Feb. 22; 70L
Germ started April 1, very slow
Low germ rate; got only 2 plants! (I grew these a few years ago and ended up with 3 plants... obviously I don't have the trick!)
Sown Feb. 15; 70L
Start germ March 4
Slow, low germ: 4 plants in total
Sown Feb. 15; 70L
Germination started mid Feb
Sown Feb. 22; germ March 1
Have only ended up with 1!
Sown Feb. 22; germ Feb 26
Despite the strong start, have ended up with only 3-4.
Well, I fear it's not one of the really choice Eritrichium... more of an upright plant, apparently (at least so far, under artificial light and indoor conditions), rather than a mat or bun. I need to do more research before I make out my NARGS list! Pretty blue flowers, though!
The soil mix I used for everything is roughly 1 part potting soil, 1 part sand, 0.5 of perlite... things seem to be happy.
Agastache pringlei also has buds under the lights .. don't recall it doing this the other time I started them (though perhaps that was outside?)
We just had Josef Halda come and speak at our meeting today. He says the whole Saussurea genus is very difficult to transplant as seedlings. Apparently they have a taproot that hates disturbance. As with many of these difficult plants, he thinks that once the root becomes woody, it is more transplantable. I asked him if he would suggest waiting a year before transplanting, or what, and he said what he would do is plant the seed in a relatively large pot (like 6 inches) and grow them undisturbed. Then take cuttings, which are easy, and don't have the aversion to transplanting.
He said the same thing about Eritrichium jankae, and I would assume the genus as a whole too.
Yes, he said the same at the meeting here in April re. saussurea. (It sounds like, when he grows from seed, he generally direct sows into the place where it will grow.) When I reflect on other tap-rooted plants that are said to be essentially non-transplantable, and on all the transplanting I've done on them, with no fatalities, I'm inclined to just give it a try, LOL! If it fails, I guess I'll know why!
Another interesting thing I didn't know about him:
His greenhouse is treated almost like a laboratory (his word).
He showers before he enters, to keep algae, liverworts and mosses out. As you say, he also says they are deadly to seed propagation. Josef throw them out if the pots become infected.
Very interesting! It must take a lot of discipline to either shower several times a day(!!), or limit greenhouse visits to once per day. (When I said the pots I'd given up on, above, were covered with "algae", I should actually have said moss.)
Edit: How does he do that... ensure that algae, moss and liverworts do not enter his greenhouse? Does he sterilize his own soil? (I'm assuming that would kill the "spores"... or whatever the correct term(s) is(are)?
He also says he use more clay based soils for his cosmophytes in the crevice gardens. And he is not at all averse to using fertilizer, but only fast acting (liquid form, I would assume).
I wish I could have stayed for his second presentation, "Trough Gardens Czech style", but I'm not feeling so good. Over the last month plus there's been a flu going around at work, and it finally got to me. Maybe you saw this one (the presentation, I mean)?
Fritillaria oxypetalum hybrid 1920
emerged 3 May 2009
Fritillaria pallidiflora 1335
planted 26 March 2008
emerged 3 May 2009
Fritillaria raddeana 1340
planted 26 March 2008
emerged 26 April 2009
Most of these 1+ year old seeds(from previous posts too) are in pots that had been taken over by algae (not moss or liverworts), although the algae is "dead" now. Hasn't seem to bother them.
For Fritillaria camschatcensis, once the seedlings do there thing for the spring and die down, moss and liverworts don't seem to hamper there emergence in future years (speaking from experience). They don't seem to be increasing much from year to year, though.
Here are some of my observations from this spring's sowings: All pots were placed in 15-20 C for germination. The following species were placed in stratification on Feb. 1 (4 C) then brought into heat on March 12 (6 weeks stratification time)
Allium wallichii - germ Apr 2
Androsace carnea - germ. Mar 28
Androsace hedreantha - germ Mar 29
Anemone crinita - germ. Apr. 1
Anemone magellanica - germ Apr 2
Aquilegia barnebyi - germ Mar 29
Aquilegia brevistyla - germ Mar 29
Aquilegia pyrenaica - germ Mar 29
Aquilegia skinneri - germ. Mar 29
Campanula collina - germ. Mar 12 (germinated during strat period!)
Campanula grossheimii - germ. Mar 18
Campanula kemulariae - germ Mar 18
Campanula moesiaca - germ. Mar 18
Campanula stevenii - germ Mar 30
Campanula tatrae - germ Mar 29
Cortusa mathioli - germ. Mar 18
Cotoneaster franchetii - germ April 1 (only one seed germinated)
Cremanthodium ellisi - germ. Mar 18
Cremanthodium helianthus - germ Mar 23
Gentiana bhutanica - germ. Apr 7
Gentiana dendrologii - germ Apr 9
Gentiana siphonantha - germ Apr 1
Gentiana tianshanica - germ Apr 7
Gentiana wutaiensis - germ. Mar 29
Geranium swatense - germ. Mar 18
Leontopodium ochroleucum - germ. Mar 29
Meconopsis napaulensis - germ Mar 30
Penstemon procerus - germ. Apr 10
Pulsatilla campanella - germ. Mar 31
Pulsatilla pratensis - germ. Apr 1
Silene uniflora 'Rosea' - germ Mar 30
Trifolium trichocephalum - germ. Mar 15
Trollius farreri - germ. Mar 30
Veronica schmitdiana - germ. Apr 1
Viola dissecta - germ. Apr. 1