Seed starting

Alberto Castillo
Thu, 17 Oct 2002 09:40:23 PDT
Jennifer et al
	Seed sowing is a most rewarding part of the hobby. My advice is sow in very well drained soil, maintain a slight constant moisture WHEN the seeds are supposed to germinate, top your mixes with really coarse sand or minutely crushed rock and DO NOT COVER your seed at first (at least two whole weeks). Germination takes LOTS of oxygen and on countless occasion the seeds fail to breathe and die.  Seed must be alive and many times a beginner think he has bad luck when the answer is that seed is old and dead. This you will notice when you will begin harvesting your own seed which will germinate like grass.
	Sow thinly. Find a place with good light (not necessarily full sun) and with very good ventilation (strong winds are very harmful to seedlings). Do not disturb seedlings or domant seedling bulbs or corms until their second season of growth  is over.Allium damping off. Indicates a fungus attacking the seedlings, of course. Either the compost was very organic, or the sowing was made with dirty hands, or the water was stale.

* Bomarea caldasii, must be sown as soon as possible and kept under frost free conditions. Seeds will germinate in spring but it is better not to let them dessicate. Very slight moisture will keep the seed fresh. 
* Winter dormant Bulbinella elegans, easy as all other S African Bulbinellas. Sow in Fall, give them sun and frost free conditions. Dry summer dormant.

* Calochortus venustus, there are experts that could add a lot more but basically very well drained soil, full sun. Sow in Fall. Summer dormant.

* Gelasine azurea (now the proper name is Gelasine elongata). Sow in Fall in full sun and in a well drained soil. In the wild  it receives year round rains but is dormant in summer. Flowers in early Spring and give it rather frost free conditions.

* Gynandriris setifolia. Easy. Sow in Fall. Well drained soil, sun, frost free conditions. Dry summer dormant.

* Herbertia lahue. Is this the Chilean one? The Texan one? Full sun, good soil rather on the drained side. Sow in Fall. Can take slight frosts. Summer dormant.

* Iris giganticaerulea. Rare, one of the Louisiana marsh irises. Sow in fall, will germinate in spring, evergreen from then on. Likes lots of water. Full sun or dappled, rather warm conditions. A winter rest is normal.

* Melasphaerula ramosa, same as G setifolia above.

* Neomarica caerulea, candida and northiana. Very hot conditions, say like in Honolulu! Deep shade to dappled sun. Sow now and always keep warm. Evergreen foliage. Water less in winter Flowers in Spring.

* Sandersonia you already have info on. Very easy (weeds?)in New Zealand pumice soils.

* Smilacina stellata is not a bulb , does not behave like one and I wonder what is it doing here?

* Zigadenus fremontii. Sow in fall, frost tolerant, full sun. Will germinate easily. Dry summer dormant.


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