Lilies forum: Starting lilies from seeds

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Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Mar 20, 2012 9:49 PM CST

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I'm starting this thread to open a discussion on seed starting. Feel free to share your how- to's, photos and experiences (what worked and what didn't).

This year I started my seeds in late January. I am using the oversized sandwich bags (7" x 8"). About the only mix I could find in January was a peaty Black Gold with some fertilizer already mixed in (0.13-0.04-0.13). I added sand to make the mix about 3:1 (~25% sand). Then an extra dollop of pumice and everything well mixed. My aim was to ensure the mix would drain fast when watered. I used bamboo skewers cut to the appropriate length to add support around the inside of the bags to keep them open.


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I started a total of 35 lots of seeds; in all but two I have at least one seedling. There are diploid and tetraploid Asiatics, tetraploid trumpets, OT x 4n trumpets and OT x OT. My plan is to keep these growing in the sandwich bags until fall, then transfer each as a large plug into a one or two gallon container to grow on.
Name: Anthony Gloriosoides[ sure!]
Rosetta,Tasmania,Australia (Zone 7b)
idont havemuch-but ihave everything
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Australia Lilies Seed Starter Bulbs
Plant and/or Seed Trader Hellebores Birds Seller of Garden Stuff Garden Art Cat Lover
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gwhizz
Mar 20, 2012 10:49 PM CST
I've put seeds in poly boxes, right up to the 1st week in autumn[here]..i dont really have room for the bagging technique, although the last 5 boxes sewn will have to be taken into the garage bench, 'in front of the window' as winter approaches..I have really drawn out seed planting this year[gluttony] Blinking I do hope to reveal some new liliums this year,that i have grown from seed, sent to me by great people, or ones i purchased Thumbs up
lily freaks are not geeks!
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Mar 22, 2012 8:47 AM CST
When Connie entered this thread I was just beginning to plant some seeds--pastuerizing my mixes at the time,etc. So out came the camera; the pictures aren't the best. There are many different ways and techniques one can use and (I've used quite a few) depending what works for your intention. I always like to say that planting lily seeds is just as easy as planting tomato seeds--with just the added step of sterilizing/pastuerizing the mix which you can do ahead of time and store in large freezer bags.

I like to use retangular pots at least 5 inches deep with lots of drain holes I put in them. Retangular pots fit nicely together. I cover the bottom washed and sterilized pea gravel. Then I place barrier clothe inside the pot as a liner between the gravel and dirt mix. I usually precut these ahead of time. This keeps the villians from entering the drain holes. I use 'Plain Jane' potting soil without anything added so I can add 'what I want'.

I start by mixing potting soil and COARSE sand--not patio block sand or play sand--about 25 to 30% sand in fairly large batches (can be stored in large freezer bags ahead of time). I bake or pastuerize the mix in large pans--large turkey roasting pans work great--I can get two at a time in the oven. I bake this out for three hours at about 150 degrees F. It would be shorter time for smaller amounts. This can be stored in large freezer bags too. This mix will be very dry so when ready to use water must be added back in. I boil this water.

Next I add about 20 to 25% seed starter of either a couple of good named brands because I'm assuming them to be sterile. I fill the pots about 1 and 1/2 inches from the top, either spread the seeds or if spacing the seeds I use the head of a large roofing nail (sterilized in glass of alcohol) to make indentations 1 inch apart. I cover by hand sifting 1/4 inch of my final mix.

Next, I'll place a paper towel over the pot and water down (with some of the boiled water). Then finally placed in a warm room kept close to 75 degrees F. I keep the containers covered until the 'the seeds are up' and until then, when I moisten, I water thru a wet paper towel. Once up I keep them in a well lit area. Little plants will be moved outside in early june in a shady location to harden out. I may add a little very dilute firtilizer along the way.

So here's a few pics from yesterday. Wlhile I was doing this yesterday a little bird was facinated by the seed starter bags. I see he left me a tip!


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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Mar 22, 2012 9:53 AM CST
I should have noted that I don't transplant at least until seedlings have gone thru at least a summer-winter-summer growth. Possible transplant on these would be in the fall of 2013 or 2014 depending. So, its a little more permanant than just sprouting them. A couple more pictures I missed too. The large freezer bags I use to store mixes are the same the fisherman use here to freeze whole salmon and lake trout and the same kind cable companies use for cable boxes. I also put an ID coded tag in the bottom of the pot in case-- just as a safety measure. You'll have to look behind the 2012 of the copyright to see the birds tip he left in the last pic above. One pic above shows pots made up without barrier cloth so you can see how nice and neat retangular pots fit together. Barrier clothe is optional but one I use extensively. Also, the seeds used in the photo above were 3 years old with unknown germination so they were soaked a couple hours and planted thick.

I'd love questions and comments and I'd really like to more posts/discussions on this thread.






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[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Mar 22, 2012 10:18 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #230918 (4)
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
Mar 22, 2012 6:49 PM CST
A most wonderful "How I do it" edition, Lorn. I use cement mixing tubs, too (the big black "trays" for those who don't know what they are). I always have three different ones filled: woodland soil for potting, alpine soil for potting and a mix of whatever that I use to pot up divisions and such from the garden for give away or donations to the local garden society. If I plant a lot of seed, I use plastic shoe boxes with holes drilled in the bottom. For pots, my preference is a 3.5 x 3.5 x 5" deep.

So Lorn, sometimes you don't cover your seed with soil, as we see seeds through the paper towel. Don't the seeds stick to the paper towel when you peel it up?

I am a pretty lazy man in comparison. I start with a bought mix that is pasteurized, but add things (perlite, sand, grit, vermiculite, etc.) that are not. Tough love, I guess you might call it.

FINALLY, after 4 or 5 tries, I have Nomocharis seed sprouting! When Peter Korn from Sweden was here giving lectures, he, another friend and I went out for dinner where all we talked was plants. I mentioned my nomocharis failures, and he thinks that I was probably planting dead seed. He says he often finds nomocharis seed germinating while still in the pod. Anyway, in this new batch, I think every seed came up. Thumbs up The seed came directly from an internet friend I met through the Scottish Rock Garden Club forum. He was the one who also sent me the Lilium chalcedonicum seedling bulbs that I have pictured in the Species Bulbs thread.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Mar 22, 2012 8:18 PM CST
Hi Rick: I always cover my seed with about 1/4 inch of of hand shifted topping, usually my final mix as is or maybe a little extra seed starter added in if I have left over. The seeds you see thru the wet paper towel are older seeds of unknown germination being presoaked--between two paper towel sheets on a dinner plate ( also sterilized). And, yes, they do stick to the towel--which is a good thing to me because they make transfering to the pot easier. Just a gentle tap on the back side of the towel with a snap of the middle finger and thumb and they drop. Those that don't I gently remove with a small baby spoon, neoprene coated, also. sterilized. I use a new paper towel for watering down after covering the seeds and I'll leave it there until until the seedlings appear. When the soil need a little water, I'll water using a laboratory type polyethylene squirt bottle--the towel allows for really even watering.

Those big plastic cement mixing tubs are great, aren't they! What I like is being able to premix large batches, not just for convenience but also for soil consistency throughout many pots. And gosh, for what--7 bucks a Lowes!! Oh, buy the way, I sterilize those also, just prior to my final mixing of seed starter. I make up a dilute solution of chlorinated bleach in a 5 gallon pail and swish it around a couple times, then transfer from one to the other, then returned to the pail where I sterilize my hand mixing tools prior to the final mixing.

Thanks for commenting Rick--I like this stuff! Sounds like you've got something to be happy about too!!



Name: Corey
Chicago (Zone 6a)
Daylilies Hybridizer Hummingbirder Salvias Bee Lover Bulbs
Pollen collector Hellebores Organic Gardener Seed Starter Composter Clematis
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Ispahan
Apr 23, 2012 7:18 PM CST
I know this is nothing exciting for many of you, but I have my first lilies from seeds sprouting right now: Lilium regale and Lilium pumilum. I started them about a week and a half ago with seeds from The Lily Garden and now the first grassy cotyledons are emerging. It is thrilling to watch their progress every day! Big Grin
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
Apr 24, 2012 7:07 AM CST
Congratulations, Corey! Hurray!

I remember my first time,and I was similarly elated. Big Grin

Even now, germination can still captivate me. Keep good records. You'll never regret it. Thumbs up
Name: Tracey
Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Tomato Heads Pollen collector Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Cat Lover
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Seed Starter Region: Wisconsin
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magnolialover
Apr 24, 2012 7:57 AM CST

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Ahhh Corey, and it never gets old. Always good to see (and hear about) new sproutlings. Each part of the process is rewarding really. You will learn so much along the way and have such an adventure in the meantime. Have fun with it.
Tracey
Name: Anthony Gloriosoides[ sure!]
Rosetta,Tasmania,Australia (Zone 7b)
idont havemuch-but ihave everything
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Australia Lilies Seed Starter Bulbs
Plant and/or Seed Trader Hellebores Birds Seller of Garden Stuff Garden Art Cat Lover
Image
gwhizz
May 28, 2012 10:26 PM CST
Is anybody considering buying any seeds from Rainbow Francombes lilyseed site.,., Confused
lily freaks are not geeks!

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