Seed Germination

Simon Conyers s.conyers at CSL.GOV.UK
Wed Feb 3 17:44:31 CET 1999

Jim McClements, Dover, DE z6 wrote:
> =
> I sent this to Judy McCann yesterday but thought there might be some ot=hers
> who'd be interested.  Jim
> =
> Judy
> =
> You've probably already gotten more information than you wanted about A=risaema
> seed germination, but here comes some more, "step by step", as requeste=d. You
> experts can delete now!
> =
> The Deno paper towel method works VERY well for arisaemas. Unlike trill=iums
> and many other seeds, the rootlet(or radicle) is smooth and does not ge=t
> tangled in or grow through the toweling, at least in my experience of d=oing at
> least a hundred batches of seed with this method. I check the towels on=ce or
> twice a week, and as soon as some of the seeds germinate, I plant them =all.
> =
> HOWEVER, there's probably not much point in doing this unless you're  t=rying
> to compress the growing periods. Utilizing my current method, I can usu=ally
> get 3 "growing seasons" into two years. Otherwise, I agree that using n=ature's
> weather patterns is much easier.
> =
> Here are my steps:
> =
> 1. Clean seeds are soaked in a glass of water containing a few drops of="Dawn"
> dishwashing detergent for several hours (occasionally overnight if I fo=rget
> them!) This was invented by Ray Stilwell, and works as well as a longer=soak
> in plain water. The purpose is to remove the germination inhibitor that=is
> present on the seed.
> =
> 2. They are then placed in the folded paper towel, damp but not wet, an=d then
> into a "Baggie". This is put in a warm closet and checked every few day=s.
> (write the name on the towel before you moisten it!)
> =
> 3. When one or more seeds germinates, all are transferred to a pot of p=ure
> turface which is then placed in a flat of shallow water, under lights.
> =
> 4. When the seedlings appear, a very small amount of fertilizer is adde=d to
> the water in the flat.
> =
> 5. The seedlings are grown on, as close to the lights as possible, unti=l the
> growth cycle is completed.
> =
> 6. It is then very easy to find the small tubers by dumping the pot int=o a
> plastic bowl. A small amount of water added allows even the tiniest tub=er to
> be seen in the turface.
> =
> 7. These tubers are then refrigerated for about 3 months, temperature k=ept
> above freezing. For this stage they are put in a "Baggie" in slightly d=amp
> turface or potting mix. I've been using the turface for this recently. =It
> works well and makes it very easy to find the tubers after the "artific=ial
> winter", by adding a bit of water as above.
> =
> 8. You can plant the tubers as soon as they come out of the refrigerato=r, or
> you can leave them in the damp turface until they start to sprout. The =latter
> approach saves some space, since it is usually 4 to 6 weeks after
> refrigeration that sprouting occurs. Then they're planted in a promix/t=urface
> potting mix and grown on under lights, but NOT in standing water. You c=an only
> get away with that with pure turface and only with seeds.
> =
> 9. After the second growth period, the tubers are harvested, bagged in =damp
> turface again, and refrigerated.
> =
> 10. From here on it depends on the size of the tubers and where you are=in the
> calendar year as to whether they are planted out or grown on under ligh=ts.
> =
> There are a few species which don't conform to the above pattern and pr=obably
> should just be planted out in pots. Both subspecies of A. thunbergii se=em to
> want a cold period before producing above ground growth, although their=close
> relative, A. kiushianum, just germinated readily with a leaflet without=a cold
> period. A. elephas is the most difficult for me, with very few results =from a
> lot of seeds that have been in and out of the refrigerator. However, mo=st
> arisaemas don't need a cold period to germinate, and fresh seed will ge=rminate
> immediately using the above protocol. Some of my seed from '98 is alrea=dy well
> into the first growth cycle, almost ready for its first "winter" in the=
> refrigerator.
> =
> One other generalization, learned the "hard way", is that when it comes=to
> storing dormant tubers in the refrigerator, the smaller the tuber, the =more
> moisture is needed. As Ellen indicated in her posting, mature tubers ca=n be
> thrown into a box and stored essentially dry. However, tiny tubers are =more
> easily lost to drying than rot. Turface dampened just enough to make it=dark,
> but not wet enough to clump, seems about right. And remember that when =tubers
> are replanted, they'll need more water once they leaf out. Too much wet=ness
> before they break dormancy can result in rotting.
> =
> Most of this information is spread around in the archives, but I though=t it
> might be helpful to have it updated, and in one place.
> =
> Jim McClements
Hello Group,

If there is anyone like me, over this side of the pond who was not quite
sure what turface was, they could have a look at

where they will find a brief description and more germination scenarios
reviewed by Jim McClements. Does anyone in UK know a source for this
miracle grow?

Thanks for your germination posting, Jim. Very helpful for us Arisaema
beginners and may I say thanks to all the donors and to the distribution
team for my seeds. I am reminded what A. sikokianum seeds should look
like and not the poor shrivelled offerings my plant attempted to produce
last year. I just hope it has survived our exceedingly wet winter.

Best wishes to all
-- =
Simon Conyers, Martindale Cottage, Church Lane,
Slingsby, York, N. Yorks YO6 7AD  U.K.

Min -5=B0C  AGS, Hardy Plant Soc, RHS, Cyclamen Soc. (U.K.)
Interests: Alpines (Scree bed & alpine house) esp bulbs (Arisaema,
Corydalis, Cyclamen, Calochortus),
Herbaceous perennials (Geranium, Lathyrus, Clematis, Trilliums,
Polygonatum, Disporum),
Carnivorous plants (Sarracenia and Utricularia)

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