The Q&A Archives: Alstroemeria From Seed

Question: I recentley purchased some Alstroemeria seeds and would like to start them indoors. I believe they are not the easiest to start from seed, do you have any advice on how to start them successfully? Is it possible to sow them outdoors or do you have to start indoors?

Answer: The instructions for this seed do vary.

One gardener reports success and says to plant it
at 41 degrees (that would be refrigerator temperature) and that germination will be irregular. This would in some ways simulate a long cool and damp spring season.

The old Thompson and MOrgan instructions include the following:
"Sowing OCTOBER-FEBRUARY. Sow the seeds in John Innes seed compost, covering them with a thin layer of compost. After watering place the seed container outside against a North wall or in a cold frame, making sure they are protected against mice, and leave them there until the spring. The compost should be kept moist but not wet at all times, and if the seed containers are out in the open then some shelter has to be given against excessive rain. In the spring bring the seed containers into the greenhouse, or indoors on to a well lit but not sunny windowsill and keep the compost moist. This should trigger off germination. If the seeds do not germinate in the spring keep them in cool moist conditions throughout the summer. As each seed germinates we would recommend that you transplant it almost immediately into its own pot.

Sowing MARCH-SEPTEMBER. Sow in John Innes seed compost, or something similar, and place each container in a polythene bag and put into the refrigerator (not the freezer compartment) for 2-3 weeks. After this time place the containers outside in a cold frame or plunge them up to the rims in a shady part of the garden border and cover with glass or clear plastic. Some of the seeds may germinate during the spring and summer and these should be transplanted when large enough to handle. The remainder of the seeds may lay dormant until next spring.

Germination of some items, particularly Alstroemeria, Clematis, Hardy Cyclamen and Christmas Rose (Helleborus) may take take 18 months or more."

You might try dividing the seed and experimenting with the different methods. If you set the seed outside in a pan, you might try encasing it in an old nylon stocking to keep heavy rain and toads and other dangers from dislodging the seed over the months. Good luck with your seeds!

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