Starting from seeds vs. from bulbs
Sat, 27 May 2006 11:04:33 PDT
On 26 May 06, at 10:15, diana chapman wrote:

> I must say that in the spectacularly unsuccessful category of seed
> germination I would put the tuberous rooted Tropaeolum species.  I
> have had seed from Watson & Flores that germinated fairly well, but
> even though I get good seed production from my plants, I get almost no
> germination. Last year I tried nicking the seeds, as well as
> stratifying in the refrigerator, but got the same results.  Does
> anyone have better luck?

I've managed to get several tuberous tropaeolum species to germinate, 
including T. polyphyllum from seed off my own plant. My standard 
method: soak the seed in water for a week or so before sowing, sow in 
a soil-based compost with 1/4" fine gravel over the seed, keep in a 
coldframe until it germinates or I give up and toss the pot out.

Temperatures hover about 5C (41F) during the winter here, barring 
occasional spells of exceptionally balmy or exceptionally cold 
weather. The way my frames work (or don't work?) keeps the seed pots 
in them pretty moist, if not downright wet, all winter long.

Pots of ungerminated seeds that are on the rare side and have largish 
seeds get dumped into a tray; I then examine the soil to see if the 
seeds are still there and looking viable, or have simply rotted away. 
If the seeds look good, they're re-sown.

It's a long way from germination to a mature flowering-size tuber, 
however! T. polyphyllum is the only one I've successfully carried 
over long enough to get close to that state.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate

on beautiful Vancouver Island

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