Propagation forum: Colchicum autumnale

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Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Phenolic
Nov 28, 2015 9:46 AM CST
Anybody have tips for how to start these from seeds? This is the first time I'll be starting any plants from the Colchicum genus from seeds, and I have no idea about how or where to start.
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 3:47 PM CST
You picked a genus that requires a lot of patience. Although, supposedly most of the species only need a warm treatment before the cold, and I think most germinate at around 40°F. But it seems in reality, not many people are successful without going through multiple warm/cold cycles. I've tried several times and have only gotten four seedlings that germinated 3-4 years after planting.
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Phenolic
Nov 28, 2015 5:51 PM CST
Four seedlings after four years! Blinking My goodness, that's a long wait. Thank you for sharing your experience, Rick.
I think I will try soaking the seeds for two days to get rid of any germination inhibitors, and then try the moist paper towel germination method. If that doesn't work, the seeds are going to go through cycles of 2 weeks at room temp. followed by 2 weeks in the fridge.
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
Image
Leftwood
Nov 28, 2015 9:35 PM CST
Those 4 week cycles will be too short to be effective. Just an educated guess, but I would recommend a minimum of 2 months per treatment (4 months for a cycle). There are a lot of people on the SRGC forum (Scottish Rock Garden Club) with experience. srgc.net/forum It is an easily searchable forum, but specific information might be lacking. However, if you ask a question, members will be happy to oblige. You have to register to post, but it is free. I could ask for you, but you may not get the answers you need because I might not ask the question(s) in the way you want. Smiling

P.S. If I initially soak seeds, I always use distilled water or rain water (or untreated well water). All the junk they put into municipal water supplies can't be good.
Ontario, Canada (Zone 6a)
Phenolic
Nov 28, 2015 10:26 PM CST
Thanks, Rick. I'll try asking around on the SRGC forum.

I haven't had much trouble with using tap water for soaking seeds before. Surprising, really, since it's both very hard water and sometimes has a pH above 8.30. Big Grin I do have access to a lab with a Milli-Q water purification machine, so I'll see if using deionized water increases the germination success rate.

A 2-month warm, 2-month cold cycle might mimic the natural seasonal cycle better, but I am impatient. Whistling Since I have a fairly large batch of seeds to work with (~300) I will try several methods just to see what works the best.
[Last edited by Phenolic - Dec 1, 2015 5:07 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
Image
Leftwood
Nov 29, 2015 9:41 PM CST
If you come up with any meaningful data, we would all love to see it. Keep us posted, please!
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
Ignoring Zones altogether
Seed Starter Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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DavidLMO
Jan 3, 2016 6:49 PM CST
Ran into this quite by accident. No experience growing safron crocus from seed, but I have grown things that make "bulbs". I am wondering if the post above mentioning 3 - 4 years for germination is correct. Once germination occurs, you have to wait for the bulb to form and that can take quite some time.

I started 3 things that make "bulbs" in February 2014 - Siberian Iris, Dietes and Dierama. Fortunately I did not have to jump thru stratification cycles hoops as mentioned above. All 3 germinated in ~ 3 months and I have been growing them out (bulb making) since. The 2 D plants are in a back bedroom for protection as they are not hardy here.

I will keep this in mind and if I run into any info, will let you know.
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976

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