Seed Propagation methods

Mark Mazer
Thu, 05 Feb 2009 14:08:33 PST
 I plant the seed on surface, press in and cover 
>with a fine gravel-type mix (we use turface). Some will sprout on your 
>windowsill (for example, the Massonia seed I got via PBS 5wks ago are 
>sprouting today on my windowsill. ) but most need the cycling cool 
>nights to come out of dormancy.

I now sow South African winter growing geophytes with round seeds a minimum of 1 inch deep and find that second year seedlings are more robust and less "floppy" than those sown on the surface.  This method is very beneficial for bulbs that have contractile roots.

Fine seed is surface sown and then covered with a thin layer of fine gravel.  I tried turface but had problems with damping off.  Watering is done with a fogg-it nozzle. This procedure has proven very successful with Lapeirousia and Geissorhiza this season.

Freshly harvested round black seeds, promptly sown, pots stored dry, and then watered in mid September, is markedly superior to storing the seed and sowing later in the year.

Almost all of the SA winter geo's respond to diurnal temperature swings in the range of 15-25 F and seem to cluster in 3 or 4 flushes of germination over a 12 week period starting 7-10 days after the initial mid September hydration.

Mark Mazer
Hertford, North Carolina USA
Greenhouse awash with Lachenalia, Lapeirousia, Hesperantha, Babiana, Sparaxis, Veltheimia, Phaedranassia, and so much more

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