Difficult Seeds--PBS TOW

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Mon, 25 Nov 2002 07:37:35 PST
Dear All,

Thanks for all the wonderful responses from so many people to our first topic of the week. This week we will have an extension of last week's topic. Anyone still willing to share methods for starting seed with the rest of us please do so.

This week I invite everyone to ask about seeds that never germinated or seeds that germinated only to die quickly. As Tom said it is one thing to get them to come up and quite another to have them return the following year.

There was a request for help with Colchicum and Crocus seeds.

Diana Chapman who hopefully will be back with us in a couple of weeks wrote this in the past
"Seeds of Colchicums are reputed to be difficult to germinate, but if you have your own fresh seed, and sow it when Mother Nature would you will have better results.  It, apparently, needs a couple of months of warm temperatures, then the cool temperatures of Fall and Winter to germinate. So, sow your seeds as soon as ripe.  Cover with one to two centimeters of
grit or coarse sand, and keep slightly moist during the warm days of summer.  It is generally better to keep the pots outside to subject them to the temperature swings they need, rather than keep them indoors or in a greenhouse.  If your seeds don't germinate, don't give up.  It can take up to two years for some species to germinate, so keep your pots at least that

Does anyone have a secret for colchicum seed that is not fresh?

Can anyone give me clues about how to succeed with Gethyllis seed? I tried one of the southwestern Cape species from Silverhill seed two ways and eventually one of them started to come up, but I think I killed them. The leaves looked so vulnerable and I don't know if I over or under watered.

Anyone have a good method for starting Aristea seeds and then keeping them going? I have been trying smoke water after having no luck before and this must help because I have had a few species come up using it and have two species still alive, but have lost whole pots of others. I know this may seem like a strange question since the water loving one has a reputation for being weedy. The ones I have tried are from winter rainfall areas.

And finally this is for Georgie and Diana when she gets back. Calochortus comes up really well for me and if this happens when we have high humidity and a lot of rain even if they are under shelter, I lose a lot of them and sometimes a whole pot. If we are having a dry spell, I do much better. This has made me wonder if I'd do better starting them late winter in the hopes that the rain will be slowing down and they would find conditions more to their liking or inside. Is there any non chemical fungicide that people use? Does cinnamon or chamomile tea really work?

I'm sure I can think of many others I have found challenging. How about the rest of you?

Next week we will be talking about Ornithogalum so prepare your questions.

Mary Sue 

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