Seed propagation methods

Michael Mace
Fri, 06 Feb 2009 14:34:16 PST
Byron wrote:

>> Am I potentially throwing my money away on
seeds that I "go for it" with?  Is it really the best approach to hold off
sowing and watering (or at least watering applying Mark's suggestion) in
late winter as soon as I receive the seeds of those that are winter growers?

Yes, I think you are potentially throwing your money away.

As you point out, any Amaryllid seeds from the other hemisphere have to be
planted right away, and nursed carefully through the first year. The only
alternative is to store them in a plastic bag in slightly damp peat in the
fridge.  That sometimes works -- it seems to put them in sort of suspended
animation.  But they are weak by the fall, and sometimes don't survive. 

But for the other seeds, I know this from long-term personal experience: If
you plant now, the seeds will come up at the end of February or early March,
when the weather is already starting to warm up.  The bulblets may not get
big enough to survive the summer drought by the time temperatures rise.  If
you keep watering them, they'll be very vulnerable to rot (and they may try
to go dormant anyway).  But if you stop watering them they'll die anyway.
Not fun.

You don't need to store them damp, and in fact that would make me worry
about potential rot.  Just toss all the seed packets in a Ziploc bag and put
them in the fridge.  Or just put them in a drawer someplace.  Since you are
in California, relative humidity is quite low, and the seeds tolerate dry
storage in normal house temperatures for six months very well.

Then plant them in next October as soon as the nights cool down.  The cutoff
for planting in my experience is Christmas at the very latest, and even then
you're taking a risk.

My two cents...

San Jose, CA (min temp 20F)


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