Difficult Seeds--PBS TOW

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Fri, 29 Nov 2002 08:09:31 PST
Dear All,

First for Georgie,

Thanks for all your help so far and sorry I got that Calochortus weedii wrong. I probably shouldn't even be trying to grow it. I looked at my records last year and most all of the Calochortus that came up in late October through mid December went down. Some of the ones that came up later didn't die and some of them thrived so will have to wait to see if any of them reappear. I believe many of them I could grow if I could get beyond this first year. Some of the seedlings to succumb last year when we had two months of solid rain are ones as adults that do just fine for me every year. I had them sheltered from the rain, but outside where there was good air circulation but 100% humidity.

I lost all of C. albus (wet grower that does great for me), catalinae, clavatus (probably need to forget about this one since I have tried it from seed unsuccessfully a number of times), luteus (which is reliable for me), obispoensis (lost the seeds on this one enough I think I need to give it up), plummerae (ditto for this one), simulans, and weedii. I tried the Diana method of starting seeds in vermiculite in the refrigerator of some high altitude ones and did get them to come up, but didn't find it easy to transplant them. I still need to get this stratification thing down.

Before we leave this topic I'd like to offer up some more failures. After reading about Corydalis in Jack Elliott's Bulbs for the Rock Garden I thought I might be able to grow some of those that need dry summers so have ordered seed from NARGS. None have ever come up. Maybe John Lonsdale can help me with this. Does this seed need to be fresh or is there some other trick?

I have very poor luck with Laperiousa seed, at least many of the species. I had decided I lived in the wrong climate, but then fell in love with a few of the species when we saw them in South Africa so have ordered more seed. I would especially like to be able to grow L. oreogena and don't seem to be able to get it to come up. Bill Dijk keeps posting these tantalizing pictures.

Also I have tried a couple of times to get Romulea tortulosa to come up from seed without luck. Interestingly when Jim Robinett asked me to find a home for some of the bulbs he could no longer care for there was a pot labeled Lapeirousia jacquinii. I have never been able to keep this one growing and was going to give it to the BX but thought there were only a few of them and I'd try one last time. So when it was going to bloom, I was excited. It turned out to be all yellow and Robin Attrill helped me figure out that it was R. tortulosa. It has returned (and I keep it sheltered from the rain), but other seeds of this species with nice markings I have tried more than once have never come up.

How about the rest of you? Maybe this is just a busy week. There must be some seeds people are struggling with.

Mary Sue


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