Ask a Question forum: Starting Oleander seeds

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Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Aug 6, 2015 3:51 PM CST
I need some advice on getting Oleander seeds started. I planted some on the 23rd of June in one of my seed trays. I used seed starter mix and put the seeds on top of the mix, misted and covered with the plastic top. I have these out in my greenhouse so it was plenty warm and there was quite a bit of moisture on the plastic top but I was still misting a couple of times daily if needed. Well, so far nothing has come up. Any ideas or helpful hints to get these or another batch started?
Chris
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Aug 6, 2015 5:36 PM CST
Here's what I see in one germination database (not from experience):

- 30-90 days to germinate. Slow and irregular germination.
- Needs light. Sow on surface.
- Germinate at 65-75F in peaty medium.

On the other hand, Tom Clothier says this:
Nerium oleander , Sow at 23ºC (73ºF), germination in about two wks

You may have to wait for a useful answer from someone with a clue.

>> "in my greenhouse so it was plenty warm and there was quite a bit of moisture on the plastic top but I was still misting a couple of times daily if needed"

My first thought was that it sounded wetter than ideal. With the kinds of seeds I'm used to starting inside my house, if the humidity dome gets drippy, the soil mix is too wet. I think the idea humidity level just fogs it a little, sometimes.

But I understand if "on the surface" needs more humidity than seeds sowed 1/16th inch deep.

Also, a hot environment like a greenhouse can make "steam" from damp potting mix and a plastic dome. Maybe the greenhouse PLUS the plastic humidity dome are making the soil hotter than is idea for the seeds?



Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Aug 6, 2015 6:26 PM CST
Thanks Rick, that may be my problem then. I'll give these a bit yet then if nothing I'll start over or maybe even just start another batch as I have plenty of spaces left in the trays. I'll leave the dome off this time and make sure I keep the mix misted as needed.
Chris
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Aug 6, 2015 7:46 PM CST
>> I'll give these a bit yet

Totally!

Someone with a clue is likely to chime in pretty soon, and they may contradict me.

What I do when I've over-watered a tray of seeds (which is "usually") is to prop the humidity dome up a little, on a pencil or a chopstick, to let humidity escape gradually. If the dome was beading up with water, a crack probably leaves the humidity near 100%.

Eventually I take the pencil away to see if water still condenses in big droplets.

I recently learned to "wick excess water away" using a pad of cotton flannel. That trick just delighted me so much that I wrote an article:

http://garden.org/ideas/view/RickCorey/646/Bottom-Watering-S...

Before that, the only seedling that survived my treatment were those very resistant to severe over-watering. Now, I can start seeds that are only moderately resistant to overwatering!

You've already got me beat: you only MIST your seedlings more often than necessary. Using the gadgets I love so much, I usually drenched them much more often than necessary, which I guess is "never".

I should probably ask Dave to create an "incessant over-waterer" micro badge. Something like a few damped-off seedlings rotting in a puddle.

I think I developed my over-watering addiction when I learned decades ago that when you plant a shrub or a tree outdoors, you need to "water it in" very heavily, to settle the soil I guess.

Usually I'm detail-oriented enough to make a distinction between a tree and a seedling, and between "outdoors in soil" vs. "indoors in a plug tray".

But not on this issue, it seems.

Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Aug 6, 2015 7:55 PM CST
Good article Rick, I've bookmarked it and will add to my plant bookmarks. That badge would be something to see Smiling Some of my plants such as my Angel Trumpets need to be watered daily here in Texas else they're all droopy and the leaves look like they want to just fall off. A little water and they're standing straight again. Same with my tomatoes.
Chris
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Aug 7, 2015 11:01 AM CST
Thank you!

>> Some of my plants such as my Angel Trumpets need to be watered daily here in Texas

I bet that's a really tricky balancing act: retain enough water to get them through the dry heat to the next watering, but open enough to let air in to the roots.

I was planning to try tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets with fast-draining bark-y mix, but figured that even in cool coastal PNW, I might need to put in drippers and a twice-a-day timer.
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Aug 7, 2015 2:40 PM CST
The first photo is of how we grow out tomatoes. We've been doing it this way for about 5 years or so. About every other year I replace all the soil in the tubs and it seems to work really well. Right now of course the heat is doing them in even though I water about every other day or maybe 1 1/2 days. I bought these at Walmart and drilled holes in the bottom and sides for drainage. The 2nd is of my Angel Trumpets, they're about as tall as the greenhouse now and the pots they're in also have quite a few drainage holes drilled in the bottom.
Thumb of 2015-08-07/chris1948/f1a7e0


Thumb of 2015-08-07/chris1948/7e8c0c

Chris
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Aug 7, 2015 4:52 PM CST
The Angel Trumpets are gorgeous, and the tomatoes look happy.

Is it normal for the Angel Trumpets' stems to be that long and have that few leaves? Or might they have been reaching for the sun?
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Aug 7, 2015 6:57 PM CST
Thanks Rick, that was earlier this Spring and they were still leafing out. These are about 3yrs old so they've got pretty good sized trunks on them. I've got them on the west side of the greenhouse so they don't get the direct sun except for a few hours in the afternoon but that's enough to make the things droop terribly. Usually about 3 or 4 in the afternoon I have to go out and water them unless it was a day to water the plants in the back. I water everything in the back every other day except for my Hydrangeas and Jade plants. Those I check to see how dry they are before watering.
Chris
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Aug 7, 2015 7:17 PM CST
>> These are about 3yrs old so they've got pretty good sized trunks on them

Ohhhhh! Perennials. Got it.

>> I've got them on the west side of the greenhouse so they don't get the direct sun except for a few hours in the afternoon but that's enough to make the things droop terribly.

Texas is SO unlike anywhere I've ever lived. My first clue that "Zone 8 Texas" is nothing like "Zone 8 Seattle" came when someone mentioned that all his early tomatoes were dying from the heat and about to expire. I read that at a time when I was carrying my only tomato seedlings in and out of the house each day so they didn't get so chilly at night they would start hibernating. I think I put mine IN the ground several weeks after the Texas Tomato guy pulled his OUT.

When I see "needs full sun", I usually think "Bummer. I don't have really FULL sun anywhere, even in my least shady spots!"

I guess you see that and think: "ONLY full sun?? I'd better give it some shade so it doesn't catch fire!"

Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Aug 7, 2015 8:43 PM CST
Of course Rick haven't you heard the saying 'Texas is a whole other country'? And just think about this. It could be a blizzard in the panhandle and 70 degrees at my house. I've seen it where the high is in the mid 80s during the day and in the 30s at night all in the same day so you go from the AC to the furnace in 12hrs. You're last line is absolutely correct. I have to place even my full sun plants so they'll get a little shade during the day else they'd all just burn up. And my tomatoes, yep, they're already starting to die off.
Chris
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Aug 10, 2015 6:38 PM CST
Thanks, I'll stick to the tepid, shady, drizzly PNW.

I used to live in different parts of the northeast and had humid summers that I thought were "hot".

Texas-hot? No thanks, not for me!

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