Water germination

Rimmer deVries rdevries@comcast.net
Fri, 08 Nov 2019 05:21:54 PST

I have asked about starting rain lily seeds in water. This has been covered on this list in the past. It works for most flat papery seeds. Like lilies and amarylids with flat papery seeds. 


i use deli containers with lods from deli. You can also use the small ketchup cups at fast food places for small lots. Punch a small hole in lid with an awl pr nail. Use cool tap water and dump in the seeds and cover with lid. Fish out any non seed pieces- these typically rot. 

Put containers in light but not direct sun. I have found Temp is not an issue for rain lilies other than not too hot or too cold. I start mine on the shaded porch in summer, garage or in house in winter. If the water turns color or if you see mold, flush and replace the water and remove the mold. 

Rain lily Germination takes a few days to 2 weeks, some longer. Fresh seed is faster than old seed.  When you see a radical or even later when true leaf you can plant in your medium. I water in with a mist bottle on med flow stream and keep up the humidity (mist or place a plastic baggie over the pot) until they seem to have taken root. Then take off baggie and grow on. In a year or two the rain lilies will outgrow the 4” pot and bloom. Some will bloom faster like Habranthus tubispathus and show up when you don't expect it 

I have tested thIs water method side by side with the same seed lot using clean pre-moistened seed starting mix in a clean small pot and a clean plastic baggie over top. The water method is far superior with very little rot, Except for old dead seed will rot. 

 Many flat papery seed just rot on the seed mix. (Unless you don't want the seed in that pot, than they germinate fine). I have also tried side by side with papery seed set on edge with the pointy side individually inserted slightly into medium, this is a lot of fine work and not as easy as the water method.  

Some flat paper seed like tulips fritilaries and some lilies (Martagons, Caucasians, Japanese, Korean, Chinese mountain lilies, and  American native and hybrids need cool to cold or fluctuating temps to germinate so these should be started in water in the fall and left in a place that gets colder at night and warms up in the day, but not in direct sun. Some don't even need or want light to germinate.  You can use the refrigerator for 3-4 months for a cold period any time of the year but don't put seed near fruit, the fruit gas will kill the seed.  

Moist paper towels in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator also works but you need to monitor them so they don't grow through the paper or start leaves without light. 

I am sure many readers will have alternative germination methods. I love to hear about these methods. 

Rimmer de Vries
SCent Kentucky
Zone 6b

>> On Nov 8, 2019, at 6:20 AM, BarkingDogWoods <barkingdogwoods@gmail.com> wrote:
> I also meant to ask you – in your post you said you start them in water – do you just float the seeds in water till the radical emerges? Does this work with other seeds, like Formosa lily?
> TIA!
> Lin
pbs mailing list

More information about the pbs mailing list