Two western delphiniums

John Lonsdale
Sat, 12 Nov 2005 05:06:23 PST
Hi Mary Sue,

Many thanks for your advice.  Can I assume the best time to repot these
delphiniums is going to be at the end of this summer, before they wake up
again?  I'll definitely keep them in pots a year or two before putting them

Your comments about timing of seed sowing are interesting.  Until fairly
recently I've been a member of the sow as soon as cleaned or received
school. I still tend to do this with my own fresh seed but have started
holding back seed received at other times.  Seed from Goteborg always
arrives in February and I held this in the fridge over the summer and sowed
it this September, together with seed received over the summer from Jim
Archibald.  This has worked and the seeds that I would expect to germinate
in the fall are doing so now.  Nothing would have been gained by sowing them
as received, and they'd have had to come through the summer in pots.  Ron
Ratko's seed is harder to judge because in some cases I don't know the
natural germination times and his seed usually arrives just after Christmas.
I'm torn between getting germination and saving a year (but often getting
poor first year germination, a short time above ground and a smaller bulb to
nurse through the summer, followed by complete germination the following
year) and holding the seeds back.  In some cases sowing as soon as received
works very well, e.g. Lewisia, some erythroniums.  I think I need to be more

About 30 of 35 packets received from the Cyclamen Society and sown in
November 2004 have just germinated, along with virtually all of my freshly
sown 2005 cyclamen collections.  Seed of Iris atropurpurea collected in 1992
gave me one seedling last year and two more this year, and a bunch of Iris
koreana, odesaensis and attica, and some of my freshly sown Alliums are also
up.  This year I put my pots of Scilla lingulata vars outside in flower and
got good seed set for the first time ever, and that seed was ripe within
weeks, as is seed of Narcissus serotinus from this fall's flowering.  The
speed at which they ripen never ceases to amaze me!



John T Lonsdale PhD
407 Edgewood Drive,
Exton, Pennsylvania 19341, USA

Home: 610 594 9232
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USDA Zone 6b

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