Lilies forum: Martagons from seeds question

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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
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CarolineScott
Aug 20, 2015 8:09 AM CST
I have my first sprouts, but I note that the red has reduced germination, and I only got one sprout from the red.
Do the red have reduced viability or are they slower to sprout?
Or was this just a poor batch of seeds?
How long should I keep the moist baggies of unsprouted seeds?
I took out all the tiny bulbs with roots and some had a few mm of tiny leaves.
If the seeds did not germinate on the first cycle-they are not going to?
[Last edited by CarolineScott - Aug 20, 2015 4:53 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Aug 20, 2015 7:29 PM CST
Congratulations!
It's a natural phenomenon that some lilies will just be more prone to producing good seed, while with others it may be difficult to get any seed from them at all. Some lilies will be more vigorous, some less. Some tall, some short. Etc. Etc. This, of course, is natural variance within the species, and it's no different for seeds.

So, that you have variation in your seeding now is to be expected. I don't think the "red ones" are particularly less vigorous or more stubborn because they are red; more likely it just happened to be that that batch of stubborn seed just happened to be red, and the flower color has no bearing.

Other variations can occur from the quality of the pollination, or compatibility of egg and pollen. Lots of things can affect the quality of the seed, including post harvest storage.

Personally, I keep ungerminated seeds in the baggy for as long as they look good and are not rotted. It might take a martagon seed three seasonal cycles to get started, but I'd venture 99% will have germinated by the second cycle.

You'll need some good luck with the seedlings that have already produced leaves. It's really difficult to successfully transplant such delicate plants and keep the leaves intact. But, the bulbs will still be good.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Aug 20, 2015 9:53 PM CST
Thanks for the quick reply.
I managed to transplant them with the tiny leaves.
Red petunias tend to germinate more slowly than other colors,
so I wondered if it was same for lilies.

Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Aug 25, 2015 9:03 AM CST
The red ones have germinated in a few more days!
And each of the baggies have one or two more sprouts!
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Nov 26, 2015 6:06 AM CST
I have these in pots of soil now.
Some have ?died off? or gone dormant?
Some are still green.
They should experience a second cold spell now--?
They should be dry before they are exposed to the cold?
Name: Joe
Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Lilies Region: New York Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Joebass
Nov 26, 2015 7:56 AM CST
Yes they are ready for the next cold period. Especially if some already senesced for the winter. I would say slightly damp is ok but not wet. I would defer to Leftwood on this one though!
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Nov 26, 2015 9:46 AM CST
Even if your martagon seedlings are in pots outside, as long as they have been outside all fall (experiencing the downward trend of temps), they are ready to go through the cold winter period, regardless of what they look like, green or not. Throughout the plant kingdom (not just Lilium), there is often a phenomenon where seedlings (even up to around 5 years old in some cases) tend to be evergreen while mature plants of the same species are not. This is usually due to genetic juvenility factor(s) still being turned "on" in the young plant. Sometimes it is because of environmental reasons.

If your pots have been inside the whole time, then you'll need either refrigeratorlike temperatures for the duration of the winter, or begin with 2-3 weeks in the fridgelike temps before allowing to freeze in an insulated box in an unheated garage.

If your pots had been outside, but you brought them in when freezing weather was eminent, then they have already begun the transition to winter period. Put them in the fridge or in an insulated box in an unheated garage for the duration of the winter.

If the ground (or pot) will be frozen, than moisture content, as long as not overly wet, is inconsequential. But drier soil will help the green seedlings prepare for winter faster, even at 4°C. Optimally, it is best to stop watering and let them noticeably dry out, then enclose in a plastic bag so you won't have to worry about them getting too dry for the rest of the winter. Not that too dry soil will kill a lily (or even a seedling) in winter, it's just not optimal. I do this plastic bag scenario if I am holding anything in the fridge where water evaporates more quickly than if frozen.

Your seedlings that have "died off" are likely perfectly fine, and have gone dormant. It's another common phenomenon among geophytes that that the seedlings have a very abbreviated life above ground in their first season.

Edited for clarity.
[Last edited by Leftwood - Nov 26, 2015 10:08 PM (+)]
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Nov 26, 2015 8:20 PM CST
Thanks for all your comments.
These seedlings have been in the house all of their lives.
There is limited room in 'frig at this time of year, but I will try to fit at least some in.
Others will need to go to unheated garage.

I have another batch coming along in the 'frig for their first chill period.
I really need another 'frig for plants! and seeds!
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
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pardalinum
Nov 27, 2015 11:54 AM CST

Moderator

I hear you on the fridge space problem. Both of my crispers are jam packed with seed storage and seed stratification as well as storing some scales. I bought one of those small dorm refrigerators but had a real hard time adjusting the temperature as even at the lowest setting the fridge part would freeze. A thin sheet of styrofoam inserted under the upper freezer portion was helpful but it was still a lot of dinking around to get the temp. adjusted to where I wanted it.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Nov 27, 2015 6:13 PM CST
The kids had one of those when they lived in dorms.
Think we gave it away.
I shall watch garage sales etc for a cheap small all frig!
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Nov 27, 2015 9:10 PM CST
Caroline, if you have an extra styrofoam box or cooler that you could put your seedling pots into, you could use this alternative for the 2-3 week fridge temp: if your outside night temps are ranging, say, -10 to 0°C, put the closed cooler in the garage for 4 days, then 1 day inside the house, then 4 days in the garage, then 1 day inside the house, etc. If you have an extra thermometer to put inside the cooler, it would be interesting to check the temps through the duration, but it is not rocket science. You only need to be in the ballpark of diminishing temperatures to reach your aim.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Nov 28, 2015 8:46 AM CST
Ah, that I can do with the ones which won't fit into 'frig.
Thanks Rick!
I do have a remote thermometer, which I could place the remote sensor in with the Lily pots.
I was thinking that I would need to chill them for several months? Just 2 or 3 weeks?
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Nov 28, 2015 3:14 PM CST
CarolineScott said:Just 2 or 3 weeks?


Oh, no...
Leftwood said:begin with 2-3 weeks in the fridgelike temps before allowing to freeze in an insulated box in an unheated garage.


You'll still want the 3 months (or more) total, if possible.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Nov 29, 2015 11:57 AM CST
Okay----read it wrong!
Yes three months chilling!

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