Seeds forum: Sweet Shrub Experiment (Calycanthus floridus)

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Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Jan 28, 2014 9:18 AM CST
Some of the common names are: Carolina allspice, Strawberry-bush,
Sweet bubby, Spicebush and Sweet Betsy.

This Experiment became a reality just a few days ago. We are all excited to see how it progresses and what the final results will be.

It all began, when I was taking a walk around the farm and I was checking the three different varieties of Calycanthus floridus aka Sweet Shrub and how they are handling the bitter cold.

This was the first year they really produced full blooms. I realized all three of them had produced seed pods so I pulled them and not being a "seed" person, I went to Cubits and ATP members for help. As always they graciously began to tell me what to do next. After several conversations, several members and friends all agreed to take some seeds and we could all do this together. As the time goes by, we will be discussing the next step and sharing the germination and hopefully growth of our seedlings.

We thought it would be a good idea to have this information documented and saved for future members and me of course, since this will be my first try at shrub seed germination. If I can do it anyone can. All the seeds are in the mail, some have already arrived at their destinations. This thread will be the "diary" for the project. Hopefully as things progress we can all see how the other is doing and share our thoughts and information.

For anyone interested in following our little experiment, you should know we have several reasons for this project.

1. We wanted to know if the seeds were viable. There are three different species and each person will be trying all three.
2. We wanted to know which method would be better to germinate these seeds, winter sowing vs regular stratifying and planting.
3. We wanted to hopefully have information in writing to share with others who may be interested in growing this wonderful shrub.

The seeds in this project are being tested in the following locations:
Arizona,Canada,Kentucky,South Carolina,Belguim,Alabama, Georgia,and New Jersey

All comments and suggestions are welcome but for the sake of our future use of this information, please stay on subject as much as possible. To the ladies who are taking part in this experiment may I say thank you so much, good luck and God Bless.


Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member
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saltmarsh
Jan 28, 2014 9:40 AM CST
Best of luck with the experiment. If anyone else wants to try them, J. L. Hudson Seedsman has seeds for a couple of varieties. 25 seeds per packet. (scroll down to Calycanthus) He recomends nicking the seed to speed germination. Claud

http://jlhudsonseeds.net/SeedlistCA.htm

CALYCANTHUS (ka-lee-KAN-thus)
CALYCANTHACEAE. Easily grown aromatic shrubs from North America and east Asia. Valued for their fragrant summer and fall flowers. Best in well-drained somewhat rich soil in sun or shade. Sow in spring.
—Calycanthus chinensis. (25) CALY-1. Packet: $2.50
Oz: $10.00
'CHINESE SWEETSHRUB'. Nodding white to cream Camellia-like 2 1/2 - 3" wide flowers with pink-tinted yellow centers, sometimes with maroon markings, in spring and summer. Hardy deciduous shrub to 6 - 12 feet, with 6" glossy, dark green, oval leaves with a spicy aroma. E. China. Zone 5 - 9. Best in part shade in hot climates. Nick seed to germinate in 4 - 8 weeks or so. (=Sinocalycanthus chinensis)
—Calycanthus floridus. (25) CALY-4. Packet: $2.50
Oz: $7.50
'CAROLINA ALLSPICE'. Fragrant, many-petaled dark reddish brown 2" flowers. Deciduous shrub to 3 - 10 feet with 5" leaves. Virginia to Florida. The hardiest, to Zone 5. Much valued for the fragrant flowers. Bark was used as a cinnamon substitute. Nick seed to germinate in 3 - 6 weeks warm.

Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Jan 28, 2014 12:56 PM CST
@Saltmarsh, have you joined in our little experiment?

I understood that 8 of us were trying to grow seeds of our 3 types of our native shrub, the C. floridus and not the Chinese type. Am I mistaken? Here is a link to show the difference.

http://arnoldia.arboretum.harvard.edu/pdf/articles/673.pdf
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Jan 28, 2014 2:58 PM CST
Here are the seedpods I found on our sweet shrubs here on the farm. Michael Lindsey, Venus and Spicebush are the names of our shrubs. Those are the seeds that were distributed among the 8 who are doing our little experiment. They are all Native seeds....no Chinese.

Thumb of 2014-01-28/JB/835b48

My first lesson was about to begin. How do I get these seeds out of the pods? The instructions I got were very accurate which included the fact that you remove them carefully so they do not fly all over the place while doing it. The pods were so hard I had to use a small wooden hammer. With the help of @starlight1153 I removed the seeds from the pods and put some of them in soil in plastic containers in an old wooden planter, in full sun. They are protected from the animals in the wooden planter. They tell me this is called Winter Sow.

The others I placed in moist sphagnum moss in individual plastic containers and put in the back of the refrigerator to stratify until I am told by my 8 instructors when I can plant them outside. This is called Stratification.
.....
The balance of the seeds were divided and mailed to the participants.....................They are: Starlight1153,quietyard,greene,Gilli,poisondartfrog,Deebie,jonnasudenius,and a friend of Greene's named Phyllis. As I stated previously, these ladies have agreed to teach me as we go along how to germinate these seeds, as well as document their activities so we have it all together and eventually we can share it all with others.

That brings us up to today.


Name: Jonna
Belgium, Europe (Zone 6a)
Sedums Winter Sowing Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Belgium Region: Europe
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Seed Starter Plant and/or Seed Trader Salvias Herbs Cut Flowers
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JonnaSudenius
Jan 28, 2014 3:07 PM CST
Hello JB,

I received your seeds today. Thank you! I will try to germinate them in my own way. I will soak some, I will scarify some and I will just sow them without any threatmet. All of them will be winter sowed in vermiculite. My favourite way to germinate seeds.
Will keep you updated, but please be aware, that some seeds might only germinate after a year.
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Jan 28, 2014 3:44 PM CST
Thank you Jo, I am sure you will keep us posted when possible especially how each group you sow has done. A YEAR. GADS WOMAN I may not live long enough to see mine germinate. I am 85 now. Rolling on the floor laughing I guess I will just have to make sure I do. So there. Stay safe and keep in touch when you can. Group hug
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Jan 28, 2014 3:50 PM CST
[quote="JonnaSudenius"]Hello JB,

I received your seeds today. Thank you! I will try to germinate them in my own way. I will soak some, I will scarify some and I will just sow them without any threatmet. All of them will be winter sowed in vermiculite. My favourite way to germinate seeds.

Reading this again I have a question.

You said you will scarify, is that cutting them as some suggest.
Name: Linda
Tucson, Arizona
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Morning Glories Region: United States of America Amaryllis Hummingbirder
Region: Southwest Gardening Echinacea Roses Birds Seed Starter Plumerias
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quietyard
Jan 28, 2014 4:12 PM CST
A year !!!!! Blinking My patience will expire long before that ! Crying
" And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden" Genesis 2:8
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Jan 28, 2014 4:46 PM CST
I think lesson #2 is one on Patience............at least I hope someone comes up with something for us to do in the meantime. How about Zany's Puzzles? Just a thought.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Jan 28, 2014 4:46 PM CST
Only 85? My mother is 98 1/2 years old;
@JB, hang in there - we need you to cheer us on for this experiment!
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Alana H
(Zone 7a)
Frogs and Toads Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter I helped beta test the first seed swap Keeper of Poultry Garden Ideas: Level 1
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poisondartfrog
Jan 28, 2014 4:58 PM CST
I received mine a little while ago. Thank you JB! I've already scarified all of them and will soak them in hot water tonight. Half of each one will be wintersown outdoors. The other half will be stratified and then sown conventionally. I will update when I go through each step.
Alana
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Jan 28, 2014 5:19 PM CST
OK. Now should I be soaking mine that are in the refrig. I have them in that moist moss, but I did not soak them or scarified (is that cutting them?) ....I can do that tomorrow if you think that will help and then put them back in the refrig.
@poisondartfrog please tell me exactly what I should be doing to my seeds to prepare them before I put them in the moss and back in the frig. ....I am missing a few steps in there that you and Jonna do before you put them in the refrig. Maybe they told me to do that and I missed the post.
Do you cut each one?
How long do you soak them and in what?

Thanks.
Name: Alana H
(Zone 7a)
Frogs and Toads Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter I helped beta test the first seed swap Keeper of Poultry Garden Ideas: Level 1
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poisondartfrog
Jan 28, 2014 6:12 PM CST
You can scarify in various ways. Because these seeds were large and easy to handle I just held them and used a small kitchen knife to scrape away a bit of the outer coating.
The hot water bath is a step I have used before for these seeds and is often used for seeds with a hard seed coat or that resist taking up water. Because they were scarified first, these should soak up water fairly easily.
After I scarified the seeds, I put them in cups and poured hot water over them. I will leave them that way overnight and maybe through the day tomorrow, depending on how busy I am, but I will have removed them from the water by tomorrow night and wintersown half. The other half I will put in a little sphagnum in a baggie and stick them in the fridge.
People who germinate a lot of seeds develop their own preferred methods. That's part of the fun, imho. Smiling
Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Charter ATP Member Amaryllis Region: United States of America Tropicals Seed Starter Plumerias
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Echinacea
Deebie
Jan 28, 2014 6:15 PM CST
JB, I received my seeds. Thanks for including me. I think I will WS mine after I scarify them. On second thought, I'd better stratifsfy half in the 'fridge. Here in SC we may not get enough cold for them this late in the season. Spring comes early here and is rather short.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Jan 28, 2014 8:14 PM CST
@JB

This is what I added to your original post: "They should be placed in damp sphagnum moss and kept in a plastic bag or plastic container in the refrigerator for 3 -4 months. Then plant in good quality soil (a plastic bag tent to keep the humidity up) and you should have good luck."

Storing the seeds in the refrigerator is to fool the seeds into thinking it is winter. If you were to harvest the seeds and keep them at room temperature, they would still be waiting for winter.

They need about 3 - 4 months of winter which is a dormancy period - that's nature's way of preventing the seeds from germinating too quickly. After that period of time, you can remove the seeds from the fridge, nick them or use a file or sandpaper (scarify), then soak them (optional), then plant them.

The people who live in the colder climates can skip the refrigerator part and just sew them (winter sow) outside in the cold.

How many threads are we using for this? I count 3 or 4.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member
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saltmarsh
Jan 28, 2014 11:49 PM CST
Double posted for some reason.
[Last edited by saltmarsh - Jan 28, 2014 11:55 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #546937 (16)
Name: Jonna
Belgium, Europe (Zone 6a)
Sedums Winter Sowing Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Belgium Region: Europe
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Seed Starter Plant and/or Seed Trader Salvias Herbs Cut Flowers
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JonnaSudenius
Jan 29, 2014 3:21 AM CST
JB, I think that Alana perfectly explained what scarifying is. Depending on the kind and/or size of seed, you can also use nail clippers, a file or sandpaper.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Jan 29, 2014 8:19 AM CST

Moderator

I like to use sandpaper or an emery board. I just sand a little spot, then soak.

Karen
Name: Jacquie (JB) Berger
Wrightstown, New Jersey (Zone 6b)

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Region: New Jersey Cactus and Succulents Tropicals
Container Gardener Hummingbirder Farmer Keeps Horses Dog Lover Birds
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JB
Jan 29, 2014 10:16 AM CST
greene said:@JB


How many threads are we using for this? I count 3 or 4.


That is why I started this thread. It was so difficult to follow posts. NOW WE USE THIS ONE ONLY FOR THE EXPERIMENT. Having said that, I am hoping that this Experiment thread is the only one this group of 8 is using for our discussion and methods.

If others post here there is no problem, but we need to keep in mind our mission for these particular seeds. I certainly would hate to ignore anyone who had a question or a comment. But, I do not want to have us posting our information in any other threads because that is the purpose of this one, to keep us all together with our posts regarding the seeds. It will make it easier for me to combine it when we finish.

I am planning on printing out the entire thread little at a time, and then combining the instructions to be used by whoever wants to use them. This will be a wealth of information. Already there are several posts I just want to save because it give me several ways of doing the same thing. It is wonderful and the end result should be great.

Name: Linda
Tucson, Arizona
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Morning Glories Region: United States of America Amaryllis Hummingbirder
Region: Southwest Gardening Echinacea Roses Birds Seed Starter Plumerias
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quietyard
Jan 29, 2014 1:57 PM CST
Thank You JB, I received the seeds today ! Hurray!

Is it necessary to chill these, and for how long ? I am totally new to this plant. Confused
" And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden" Genesis 2:8

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