Beginner Question: Tulip Seeds and Daffodil Seeds--What'snext?

Mary Sue Ittner
Thu, 11 Jun 2009 07:54:48 PDT
Dear Anita,

You've already had some good  tips on this. I saved suggestions from people 
over the years about seeds. A number of people have wished we had more 
about growing from seed on the wiki. I thought I had a volunteer working on 
this, but I guess he hasn't found the time to do it. But here's suggestions 
from another list long ago:

>We harvest our narcissus seed  when the seeds are black  and becoming 
>hard. Sowing  end of August-September in the ground  1-2cm deep covered 
>with  wood chippings and sawdust etc. ( 1-2 cm thick) Seeds will germinate 
>January-February From Lauw de Jager
>(most) Narcissus seeds are low-temperature germinators after having spent 
>a short period of time in a warm/moist environment.  These narcissi are 
>plants from the western Mediterranean area, where the rainy season is 
>primarily autumn/winter/early spring, so this mechanism stops them from 
>germination at the wrong time of year. You can either sow the seeds as 
>soon as they are ripe, or store them cool and dry over summer, (e.g. in a 
>fridge) and sow them in late summer. But, if you sow them too late, and 
>they don't get the warm end of the season, they will not germinate till 
>the right time next year.  Don't throw them out - the seeds are reasonably 
>long-lived. Thinly cover the seed to about its own depth, then cover the 
>top of the pot with some more grit...Once they start to germinate, move 
>them to somewhere bright and cool, but out of direct sun. From Ian Black
>Timing for sowing, Narcissus before they would naturally emerge form the 
>ground, ie Narcissus in Autumn. I sow into a commercially available seed 
>raising mix which conforms to an Australian Standard for potting mixes, it 
>is mainly milled pine bark.  Cover the seed with crushed quartz (washed 
>river sand etc. this is so that rainfall doesn't dislodge the seed) and 
>put outside for the elements.  Keep moist and they should germinate within 
>6 weeks, some Narcissus have taken a year for me.  From Will Ashburner

In looking at my records I've haven't had great success with Narcissus 
seed, so am glad for this review. I think I needed to start them earlier. I 
forget that the Mediterranean rainfall is earlier in the Mediterranean 
basin than in California. I have grown a few species from seed to flowering 
and I don't really have the right garden for Narcissus since I don't have 
enough sun to plant them in the ground. I sowed Narcissus from Nargs seed 
once in February. I think someone suggested planting it and just leaving it 
to your conditions rather than storing it, but I can't find that post so I 
don't know exactly why I did it. It came up in March with the first bloom 
this year four years later. Seed from BX 55 and Ernie O'Byrne donated  late 
January 2004 and planted in February came up in October that year and also 
bloomed this year.

I've had worse luck with Tulipa seed, but then I generally chill my tulips 
every year in my climate and haven't done that with seedlings although I 
don't know if it would make a difference. The only Tulipa I have yet to 
grow from seed to flowering was Tulipa clusiana. I've gotten some other 
species to germinate, but they dwindle away. I probably live in the wrong 
place for success.

Mary Sue

Mary Sue Ittner
California's North Coast
Wet mild winters with occasional frost
Dry mild summers 

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