Calochortus seed

Jane McGary
Fri, 01 Dec 2017 09:22:57 PST
Uli asked about the viability of Calochortus seed. I agree with John 
Wickham that it remains viable for very long periods. Some years ago Ron 
Ratko kindly gave me a number of Calochortus species' seeds which he had 
stored (I'm not sure under what conditions) for as much as 8 years. All 
of them germinated well. Even older Calochortus seed kept by Gene Mirro 
under refrigeration also germinated well for me. I find that it's best 
to sow Calochortus seed in early autumn and expose it to outdoor ambient 
temperatures under cover (I have a glass-roofed shed dedicated to 
seedling raising and potting). Uli in Portugal should have excellent 
success growing Calochortus. Note that the seedling bulbs are usually 
very small the first year, brown and difficult to see in a peat-based 
mix, so it's best to keep them in the seed pots for a second year. Also, 
the bulbs usually form deep in the pot and by the second year they may 
be right at the bottom.

Just a note on Uli's question about growing lilies from seed: the seed 
pots of hypogeal germinators should be "refrigerated," not "frozen" -- 
that is, keep them between about 2 and 5 degrees C during their first 
winter, when the root has formed but no leaf has yet appeared. "Freeze" 
in English means 0 degrees C or lower.

Jane McGary

Portland, Oregon, USA, where the first freeze will probably be next week

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