Herbs forum: Rosemary germination?

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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Feb 6, 2016 9:16 AM CST
There has been no germination of my rosemary seeds.
They are in a warm spot and under lights?
After two months can I conclude the seeds are no good?
I have new seeds ordered from another supplier.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Feb 6, 2016 4:09 PM CST
Carolyn--with non-primed seeds you should see germination in ~21 days. With primed seed, it's 5-15 days. 2 months is time to give up.

I had a terrible time with rosemary this year. I sowed 1/2 flat of new primed seed (new to me source) and 1/2 flat of non-primed seed that was over a year old (I didn't expect much from that batch). Between the 2, I only got 2 (yes, 2) seedlings. Re-ordered some primed seed from Swallowtail as my usual source (Johnny's Select Seeds) was out. Less than a week and I already have 20 sprouted.

I have mine on a heat mat---not sure if it's required, but it's seemed to help in the past.

The downside to all of this is that I'm now a month behind where I should be with these darned things. Sigh......
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
Feb 6, 2016 8:02 PM CST
Oh, I guess that I am in good company then.
I have obtained more seeds locally, but I do not know if they are primed or not.
What do they do to prime them? Chill or is it a chemical priming?
I tried some with GA3, but that did not help.

I got some at grocery store thinking I would try cuttings----
but I left them leaning against the window, and it got very cold, and they turned grey! Hilarious! Hilarious! Hilarious!
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Feb 6, 2016 8:48 PM CST
Carolyn--not exactly sure what they are primed with, but it does appear to be a chemical/biological coating. I know the seeds must be used within 6 months (due to breakdown of whatever the priming material is?). My best sources have been Johnny's Select Seeds (although they were out of stock this year), and new to me this year, Swallowtail Seeds. Germination from the Swallotail sees has been good so far.

I've done cuttings, but they are pretty iffy. I only get about a 25% success rate with cuttings. I keep mine on a heat mat, and under a dome. Cuttings do best from new growth. I doubt grocery store cuttings would be "fresh" enough--I know what I purchase from the grocery store are pretty old...... If you are going to try it, I would recommend trying some rooting powder for a little extra boost.
Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
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Trish
Feb 6, 2016 8:55 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I have about the same success as Linda- both on the germination and on the cuttings.

Primed has given me the best success rate, even when the seeds are more expensive.

I would also be tempted to give up on the 2 month old seeds, although...knowing me, I'd probably throw them in a milk jug and try some winter sowing for the remainder of the season. Nothing to loose, right?!?! I've had some pleasant surprises that way!
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Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Feb 6, 2016 9:37 PM CST
Trish--that would only work in warmer zones, but that that is wonderful that you could try that. But thank you so much for that lovely suggestion. I wish we could do so, but Carolyn and I could never try winter sowing rosemary in our zone. Highs in the 20's and lows in the single digits next weekm and we already have snow on the ground with more predicted next week. Carolyn is probably much colder. sigh......I keep telling my DH that I want to retire in zone 8 so I can garden all year 'round.

I have to say, primed rosemary seed is definitely the way to go. I've always purchased from Johnny's Select seeds with great success, but they were out of stock. The seeds from Swallowtail have germinated very well. The downside is that I'm now month behind from my earlier failures. We will have very small rosemary plants for sale at our MG plant sale this year. Sad
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
Feb 7, 2016 8:56 AM CST
Thank you both.
I think it might be a potassium nitrate treatment that they prime rosemary seeds.
I'll see if I can come across some.
It is in Stump remover , but don't need that much.
The hydroponic shops might have some.

Trish's idea to just leave those cells as a WS is a good one.
Might do that too with these blank cells.
Name: David Laderoute
Zone 5B/6 - NW MO (Zone 5b)
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DavidLMO
Feb 10, 2016 11:18 PM CST
Rosemary is a pain in the .... nodding I love the plant, but it is a pain to get going. It detests being indoors - at least for me.

I had not heard of "priming" them with potassium nitrate. That is just stump remover whcih you can get a BB store.

Have you tried that?

Linda - know what you mean about the MG sale. Ours is April 29-30. When is yours?
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 14, 2016 10:52 PM CST
Germination is notoriously bad for rosemary -- I did have pretty good luck last year with starting them in vermiculite, though.
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Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Feb 15, 2016 8:14 AM CST
I did end up ordering a new batch of seeds from Swallowtail seeds after my earlier failure. I planted about 14 days ago and already have about 75% germination. I'm happy with that!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 15, 2016 8:50 AM CST
I think that's great germination, Linda! Hurray!
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
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Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Roses Herbs Vegetable Grower
Composter Canning and food preservation Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Organic Gardener Forum moderator Hummingbirder
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Trish
Feb 15, 2016 10:03 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Yes- I would be very happy with that!
I've been pleased with Swallowtail seeds as well!
NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
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mom2goldens
Feb 15, 2016 1:44 PM CST
I think rosemary seed has to be really fresh for good germination. I know the primed seed I've received before says it should be used within 6 months or something similar. Guessing that has to do with whatever it is primed with????
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
Feb 15, 2016 8:29 PM CST
I don't find any primed seed in Canada.
I think there may be a customs rule against treated seeds.

Burpee supposedly has primed Rosemary in USA,
but what I found here is not primed.

I like Swallowtail too, but the exchange rate and the shipping are not great right now.

Looking into priming my own.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
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mom2goldens
Feb 15, 2016 8:42 PM CST
I still don't really know what they use to "prime" seeds. I had some untreated seeds that did absolutely nothing in terms of germination.
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
Feb 15, 2016 8:45 PM CST
I think they use nitrates, but don't know for sure.
Trying calcium nitrate which i have for tomato BER prevention.
But have no idea on concentration etc.
Just trying since they are not germinating anyways.
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
Feb 20, 2016 11:41 PM CST
There are sprouts on the new batch of Rosemary !
These I treated with a solution of
half teaspoon of Calcium nitrate,
and half a teaspoon of 15-30-15 soluble fertilizer,
dissolved in 2 cups of warm water.
Soaked the seeds overnight in this solution.

I should have just treated half the seeds, as I don't know whether it was the treatment? or did I luck out and get really good seeds?

Sown on 7/2/16 and now sprouts at two weeks on 20/2/16. Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Roses Herbs Vegetable Grower
Composter Canning and food preservation Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Organic Gardener Forum moderator Hummingbirder
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Trish
Feb 21, 2016 8:02 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Great!!! Hurray! Hurray!
NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Feb 21, 2016 9:03 AM CST
Either way, you have seeds sprouting, Caroline! Thumbs up
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
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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
Feb 23, 2016 8:41 PM CST
Congratulations on all the germination!!! Hurray! Hurray!
Seeking Feng Shui with my plants since 1976

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