Romulea germination

Michael Mace
Fri, 05 Mar 2010 10:29:32 PST
James wrote:

>> for example did home produced seed typically germinate quicker or more
fully than commercial seed of unknown age, or did it all seem much of a
"muchness".  Did the commercial seed germinate more in the second year than
fresh home seed?

Mary Sue, I am in awe of your record-keeping.

I don't have that sort of records, but I do have a general feel based on the
20 or so species of Romulea I've tried over the years.  Some were from
Silverhill, some from seed exchanges.  In my conditions, they have been
generally easy, meaning I could pot the seeds in the fall, and they would
usually sprout during the first winter without any special pretreatment or
other attention.  I don't remember cases where the seeds failed to sprout
the first year and then came up the second.  My challenge has been more
about keeping them going in the second or third year.  Generally, the
prettier I think the flowers are, the harder they are to keep going.  (I am
talking to you, Romulea sabulosa!)

The one germination exception I remember was Romulea hantamensis.  Like Mary
Sue, I've never gotten that one to germinate.  Sigh.

Regarding fresh vs. stored seed, I've tried to make some hybrids over the
years, and fresh seed from them generally sprouted as easily as the
purchased seed.

One other data point for you -- as an experiment last fall I potted up all
of the surplus seeds I had saved since the mid-1990s (half-used packets that
I saved in case the first sowing failed).  There were about 100 species, a
number of them Romuleas.  They had been in poor storage conditions -- no
refrigeration, some in a cabinet in the house, some of them in a drawer in
the garage where summer temps get to 100F.  

Most did not germinate, of course.  But a few Romulea amoena have sprouted,
with no pretreatment.  So some Romulea seeds can be very long-lived.

My growing conditions are similar to Mary Sue's, but drier and hotter in
summer.  In the fall, seeds get water starting in mid to late October, and
experience cycles of warm during the day and cold at night.

San Jose, CA (min temp 20F)

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