growing species tulips from seed

Jane McGary
Thu, 14 Nov 2013 11:18:47 PST
Ina asked,

>I have 4 lots of tulip seed in the fridge at the moment.  They have had
>about 4 weeks so far.  How long do they need to be chilled before sowing
>them?  Of course this is in a mild climate.

The chilling requirement should be conducted while the seeds are 
moist. That's why we often mention "moist chilling." In climates with 
some winter chill, this is taken care of by planting the seeds in 
fall and keeping them just slightly protected, such as in an alpine 
house or cold frame, through the winter. People in mild climates 
sometimes have to moisten the seeds by having a separate refrigerator 
for seed pots, or more efficiently by placing the seeds between 
sheets of moistened paper towels, sealing them in plastic bags or 
Petri dishes, and putting those in the refrigerator, checking them 
frequently after a couple of months and removing and planting the 
seeds in soil when a shoot can be seen emerging.

It is inadvisable, though not always fatal, to allow seed pots to 
freeze solid, but if they just get a little stiff on the surface it 
probably will not harm seeds from cool to cold regions. I believe 
some large seeds, such as nut-type seeds of trees, require periods of 
freezing, though.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

More information about the pbs mailing list