delayed seed germination

Jane McGary
Fri, 14 Feb 2014 16:17:27 PST
John WIckham wrote
>I've also sown many different Calochortus seeds for the last five or 
>six years. Last year, germination was terrible. This year, 
>germination has been extraordinary. Was it the potting mix with more 
>coir to retain water longer that made the difference? Or the warm 
>dry winter weather we've had here in southern California? Something 
>else? By the way, the Triteleia germination has been terrible.

Most of the southern and coastal Californian species of Calochortus 
seem to do best when the seeds are sown fairly fresh. I sent a lot to 
the BX last fall and they would have germinated quickly and thickly. 
Unfortunately, our sudden December record freeze killed a lot of my 
Calochortus seedlings, which I had not thought necessary to remove 
from my shed to a heated area; I hope I'll get plenty more seed next 
summer. In contrast, species from colder, more inland regions seem to 
germinate less readily and sometimes in the second spring from 
sowing. I don't know why Triteleia seeds would not germinate for 
John, unless he was just depending on natural rainfall for moisture. 
Ordinarily these are very easy from seed.

It is unusual to see Fritillaria seeds germinating the second year 
from sowing but I see a few starting up now -- I think they are all 
high alpines or east Asian species.

It's striking how quickly after very cold temperatures seedlings can 
pop up. Yesterday Rhodophiala rhodolirion, sown a month ago, came up 
in a pot that was probably frozen a week ago, despite the presence of 
a heater. It is a high alpine species. I'm also seeing some Penstemon 
species from seed sown about a year ago, out of the NARGS leftover 

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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