Ask a Question forum: How long do "Seeds" last ???

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Name: Jerry Rode
Jenison, MIchigan a suburb or (Zone 5b)
Dahlia Addict
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epsilon113
Feb 7, 2016 4:56 PM CST
In 2014 I harvested "Tons" of Orange Marigold seeds. I planted all I could around my Dahlia garden to keep the bunnies out but I still have 2 Quart jar full. W/o thinking it thru I didn't harvest any in 2015. Should these still be good?

Maybe a silly question but aren't they all to some people.

Thanks --- Jerry

PS --- Anyone want an envelope full -- free --- send me your addy
No spam, check me out on Facebook --- Dahlia tubers west michigan

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[Last edited by epsilon113 - Feb 7, 2016 4:59 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 7, 2016 5:29 PM CST
No idea. But with that many to spare, you could just start up a small flat or pot of them, and see if they germinate or not. If they do, there you go. If not, go to the store, buy a new packet, and throw out the old ones.

I use plastic containers that we get our Chinese take-out in. Poke some holes in the bottom, fill with seed starting mix or Jiffy pellets, and throw some seeds in there. Snap on the lid and keep an eye on it. An even easier experiment would be just to put some seeds in between two damp paper towels. Keep them on the counter, keep moist and within a week you'll know.

Whereabouts do you live? It might not be too early to start up some marigolds for bedding plants now anyway.

Could you put in your location, (city and state or country) in your personal profile, please? It really helps others to help you, if we know where you are.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Feb 7, 2016 5:54 PM CST
Your seed will sprout. The germanation rate may be less but with that much seed, I don't think you will be lacking for little marigolds.

Most seed will stay viable for years. It remains more productive if stored in air tight containers in a cool place though.

Have you ever heard of the Anasazi Cave Bean? It was found in a cave in New Mexico sealed in a jar. It was 1500 years old and it germinated!

Daisy
Name: Jerry Rode
Jenison, MIchigan a suburb or (Zone 5b)
Dahlia Addict
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epsilon113
Feb 7, 2016 5:55 PM CST
Thanks, I forgot. I plead Alzheimer's. Forgetfulness use to bother me, now I forget to let it bother me !!!!
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Feb 7, 2016 5:59 PM CST
Smiling
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
Feb 8, 2016 4:03 PM CST
Hi Jerry

They will last longer, the drier you store them.

Around 40% to 50% relative humidity, I would guess "2-3 years" with vigor and germination % declining in the third year. My house gets up to 50% RH, or a little over, much of the year.

If you want that big jar to stay viable as long as possible (15-25 years?) , you might put a packet of desiccant in it. I use a paper coin envelope with a tablespoon or so of fresh silica gel (which you can buy in a craft store, in the flower-drying isle). If you're concerned about over-drying the seeds, use less silica gel and also get a humidity-indicating card.

https://secure.drierite.com/catalog3/page15b.cfm
http://www.uline.com/BL_1002/Humidity-Indicator
http://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-8028/Damage-Indicators...

Seeds stay viable longest if dried all the way down to 15%-30% equilibrium RH. The length of time that seeds stay viable approximately doubles for every 10% reduction in their equilibrium relative humidity.

Kew Royal Botanical Gardens Millennium Seed Bank Project :
"Seed life span approximately doubles for every 10% reduction in seed eRH. "
http://www.kew.org/sites/default/files/4_ppcont_014345_Post-...


http://garden.org/ideas/view/RickCorey/649/Silica-Gel-for-Dr...
http://garden.org/thread/view_post/517336/



Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Feb 9, 2016 9:06 AM CST

Plants Admin

That's true for many species of plants, and is probably true of marigolds. But, it's certainly not the case for all species. Some plants have seeds that must be stored at high humidity. Dry storage kills them. Acorns of many oaks are a good example. Some plants have seeds that can't be stored for more tha few days under any conditions. It pays to research the particular species, they aren't all the same.
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
Feb 9, 2016 1:12 PM CST
I agree completely. What I said only applies to "most" species' seeds.

"Must use fresh" and "never dry out" seeds are fairly rare, but I don't know whether that means 10%, 1% or 0.1% of species that are propagated by seed. I guess that tropical plants lean more that way?

I went looking for the right buzzwords to research this further. So far all I've found are "Recalcitrant" and "Unorthodox" seeds. And the sources that pop up tend to be about forestry.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/ad232e/ad232e07.htm (forest seeds)

"Today two major classes of seed are recognised (Roberts 1973):

Orthodox. Seeds which can be dried down to a low MC of around 5% (wet basis) and successfully stored at low or sub-freezing temperatures for long periods.

Recalcitrant. Seeds which cannot survive drying below a relatively high moisture content (often in the range 20–50% wet basis) and which cannot be successfully stored for long periods."

...
"Recalcitrant seeds include a number of large seeds that cannot withstand appreciable drying without injury; it is of interest that the overwhelming majority of recalcitrant species listed by King and Roberts (1979) are woody."
KING, M.W. and ROBERTS, E.H. (1979): The storage of recalcitrant seeds -achievements and possible approaches. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources. AGP:IBPGR/79/44 Rome.
...
"Most short-lived recalcitrant tropical species are constituents of the moist tropical forests, where conditions conducive to immediate germination (high humidity and high temperature) are prevalent throughout the year. Typical genera are Hevea, Swietenia, Terminalia and Triplochiton, as well as a number of Dipterocarp genera such as Dryabalanops, Dipterocarpus and Shorea and some species of Araucaria."


Wikipedia says:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recalcitrant_seed
"Generally speaking, most tropical pioneer species have orthodox seeds but many climax species have recalcitrant or intermediate seeds.[3]"
Flores, E.M.; J. A. Vozzo Editor. "Ch 1. Seed Biology" (PDF). Tropical Tree Seed Manual. USDA Forest Service. Retrieved 2011-12-24.

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