Tropaeolum success

Mary Sue Ittner
Sun, 15 May 2005 08:35:43 PDT
Dear All,

We had a thread a number of years ago about geophytes that could be grown 
from seed to flower in a short time. I believe Diane Whitehead was keeping 
track. I have obtained seed of Tropaeolum a few times over the years as I 
am fascinated by it. Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to grow most of 
them very well even when I purchase them from someone else. The one 
exception is T. tricolor/tricolorum (there is no agreement about which 
spelling) which most years is a delight.

I have germinated seed of Tropaeolum on occasion, but even then lost it 
later. I had no luck with some T. azureum seed that a kind friend from the 
UK gave me last fall. I was so disappointed. Anyone with successful methods 
for growing this from seed please speak up.

So it was with low expectations that I sowed T. brachyceras that I was 
lucky enough to get from the NARGS seed exchange this year. I sowed it late 
January outside in a spot protected from the rain in a small, but deep 
plastic container. One seed came up a month later. The seedlings of these 
are so fragile looking. I moved it to my greenhouse for more protection and 
it started to grow well. I realize it was going to need something to grow 
on so I added an ornamental stake (the pot was so tiny it had to be 
something small). It grew up and around this and I had to rewind it when it 
reached the top. Eventually it discovered a Phaedranassa flowering stalk 
not too far away and while I was gone for a week wound around it. To my 
surprise it has been blooming now for a couple of weeks so that's 4 1/2 
months from seed. I find it a small miracle. I think the seed may have come 
from Jane so thank you.

I'm now wondering if I need to grow the ones I have in my greenhouse if I 
want to get them to bloom. Maybe I'd have better luck. Has anyone in our 
group figured out a successful way to grow Tropaeolums from seed? Does the 
time you start them matter? Clifton suggested day length may have some 
effect on T. azureum. Does the seed need to be soaked first? Obviously a 
bigger pot would be helpful.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Mary Sue 

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