Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Sun, 18 Apr 2004 07:48:02 PDT
Dear All,

We discussed Flotation on this list in great detail in November 2002. Lee 
Poulsen had a very complete response that I reposted from another list:

But anyone interested might want to read some of the other posts on this 
subject from the same time. The search on our archive page was working just 
now, but who knows for how long.

I'm with Cynthia however about losing seeds in transplanting. I've tried 
flotation with all kinds of winged seeds and it does work and is very 
gratifying to see results so quickly. When I did three or four experiments 
(when I had enough seeds to try it two ways) of flotation and direct 
planting I had a lot more survivors from direct planting as I lost a lot of 
seeds after I potted them on. John Harris wrote an article about growing 
Hippeastrum from seed in the Spring 2000 issue of BULBS. Since I edited 
that article I remember it well. I have modified his method a little for 
myself and have had wonderful success using it for Hippeastrum, 
Rhodophiala, Cyrtanthus, etc.

Very briefly for John's method: you add whatever soil you prefer to use to 
a pot and water it well. Add sand or grit to the top. Use a label or 
something like that to make a vertical slit and place the seeds on their 
sides in the slits with some of the seed out of the soil. Put the pot in a 
plastic bag and close it. He put his under lights and found seed sprouting 
in about 10 days. He left them in the bag without watering them until the 
green shoots were taller (7-15 cm., or 3-6 in.) and then  removed the bag 
and watered enough to keep the moisture wet adding dilute fertilizer. He 
reported that at about 6-8 weeks he had to transplant as at that point the 
leaves were 25cm (10 in) long and the bulbs 1 cm (1/2 in ) wide.

This method is really very easy and eliminates the worry about changing 
water and transplanting germinating seeds when they are tiny with brittle 
roots. For those people who want to try flotation I recommend reading Lee's 
post and some of the others in the archives for that month.

Mary Sue

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