What's germinating this week - December 26

Michael Mace michaelcmace@gmail.com
Tue, 27 Dec 2011 09:39:22 PST
Andrew wrote:

>>Germination of autumn-sown bulbs is generally pretty straightforward. At
least, for seeds I have taken from bulbs I grow here, it is. For bulbs that
come from elsewhere the process is certainly not so predictable. 

Interesting observation, Andrew.  I would need to do some controlled tests
to say for sure, but I think for me, germination is slower and more erratic
on seeds that have been stored for one or more years, regardless of source.

For example, this year I had some fresh Calochortus seeds (weedii and
catalinae, two southern California species from Bob Werra) plus a lot of
fresh Gladiolus and Moraea and a few other things.  Virtually all of those
sprouted promptly and have been in growth for more than a month.  (The fresh
Glads, Watsonias, and Calochorti came up fastest.)

But I also planted older seeds that I had stored for a year or more, plus
some South Africans ordered from several places in the north and south (I do
not know how long they were stored), and some Calochortus from the Northwest
Native Seeds remnants from five-plus years ago that Nhu distributed (thanks
again, Nhu!).  Germination from the older seeds has been much more erratic,
with some of the Moraeas just coming up now, Lachenalias a couple of weeks
ago, and others not yet in growth at all yet (uh-oh).  Plus none of the NWNS
Calochortus have sprouted (please, please, please).

So maybe the older seeds have slipped into some sort of deeper dormancy that
takes longer to break?  Just a guess.

For folks who don't know the climate details of California, my place is
about 400+ miles north of Andrew's, and maybe about 5-10 degrees F colder at
night on average.  So we get frequent light frosts in winter, although hard
freezes are very rare.

San Jose, CA (zone 9, min temp 20F, -6C)

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