Mary Sue Ittner
Tue, 21 Oct 2008 13:55:22 PDT
Dear Leo,

I think my success in germinating Aristea has to do more with multiple 
attempts than really figuring it out. On one visit to South Africa I asked 
for help. There was a suggestion that smoke water might help since some of 
them seem stimulated to flower with fires. That seemed to be a bust for me. 
Rachel gave me extra seeds to experiment with and I don't think any that I 
treated with smoke water germinated when some of the same seed with no 
treatment did. Smoke water does seem to be a big help with Erica seeds (and 
I understand restio seeds too), but I digress. Someone on our list said you 
needed to start them in spring which didn't make much sense in my winter 
rainfall climate unless it was a summer rainfall species, but I did get 
some to germinate starting at that time. I also wondered if some of the 
seed I obtained from South Africa was too old by the time I sowed it. If 
that was the problem, this seed is very fresh and I had better luck with 
sowing my own seed when one of the ones I grew from South African seed 
bloomed. Also some pots germinated in the second year from sowing after 
being allowed to dry out in summer.

Eventually I got a few seeds to start of many different species, 
transplanted them to individual pots when they were big enough to divide 
and planted them out in the fall before it started to rain when the plants 
looked big enough to do so. Most of the ones I transplanted have grown well 
in the garden with winter rain and limited water during the dry time of the 
year. I've gotten three of the species to bloom, but they don't bloom 
reliably which is a shame. The only reliable one is the weedy one from 
summer rainfall areas which seems odd.

The Aristea capitata syn. A. major was grown from NARGS seed. I 
refrigerated it in a jar after I received it and started it October 23, 
2002. It germinated December 5, 2002 and bloomed for the first time this 
summer. I can't remember if I did anything special to the seed or if I 
started it in the greenhouse or outside. I was really excited when they 
bloomed this summer and watched the spike developing. I believe I added a 
picture of that to the wiki. And I would say the flowers really are blue. 
Even without the blooms the form of those tall leaves is interesting.

Mary Sue

More information about the pbs mailing list