growing Zephyranthes seed

Lee Poulsen
Tue, 01 Jan 2013 13:35:27 PST
Ina, I too, have switched to the vermiculite/perlite mix in a ziplock bag after reading about Diana of Telos Rare Bulbs use of it to germinate Californian and Chilean bulb seeds and trying it out last winter with great success on a number of different Californian and Chilean geophytes. So this past year I started trying it out instead of floating with seeds of some rare Hippeastrum species, and it worked like a charm. Since I sometimes have trouble with fungus growing on some seeds I've tried to float in the past, I hedged my bets by moistening the vermiculite/perlite mix with a fungicide solution rather than just water. I think I'm completely sold and have since had great germination results recently with Pamianthe, Paramongaia, and Worsleya seeds as well. Also, for someone with a busy schedule, I love the fact that unlike the float method, seedlings will continue to grow safely for an extended period in this medium (in a well-lighted window but with no direct sunlight on the baggie), especially in a sealed environment that doesn't dry out but isn't too wet either, and are easier to transplant into potting medium because their roots are already adjusted to growing in a soil-like substance. I have found that the vermiculite/perlite mix is so light and non-binding that the small seedlings roots easily separate without breaking when I finally get around to potting them up. And I was finally able to get a pot full of Zephyranthes longifolia seedlings growing using this method after several years' worth of failures using the flotation method because, while the germination occurred well and promptly, the seedlings very soon thereafter started dying until none were left to pot up. I surmise that this was due to their being a desert or dry area plant and after germinating resented growing in so much water.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m

On Dec 31, 2012, at 1:20 PM, Ina wrote:

> I used to grow the Zephyranthes seed on water as well as planting some 
> direct into soil.  I still do some planting direct into soil, but 
> instead of water I now use a mixture of Vermiculite and Perlite. This 
> method of course also suits quite a few other Amarylids.
> -- 
> Ina Crossley
> Auckland New Zealand  Zone 10

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