Seeds forum: Some seeds' germination depends on how stored.

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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Feb 12, 2010 5:35 PM CST
There are seeds e.g. aconitum (monkshood) which may not germinate if not stored
properly. Some send these seeds as a moist pack which is supposed to enhance the chance of germination.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
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Joannabanana
Feb 12, 2010 5:39 PM CST
So how should they be stored or is there a special preparation needed before sowing?
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Feb 13, 2010 8:59 AM CST
Some seeds can not take dry storage so they must be seeded directly from the original plant, or if stored,--- need a moist packaging such as damp vermiculite in a small plastic bag. Otherwise you need to expect low germination of these seeds.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Feb 13, 2010 9:33 AM CST
Caroline,

What other seeds fall under this procedure?
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
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CarolineScott
Feb 16, 2010 2:53 AM CST
There are only a few which I came across. Will have to go back in my journals to remember them.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Jan 30, 2018 12:45 PM CST
CarolineScott said:There are only a few which I came across. Will have to go back in my journals to remember them.


Well, we are waiting. Sighing! Blinking Glare
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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CarolineScott
Jan 31, 2018 9:39 AM CST
Forgot about this--will try to go back.....
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA Sierra foothills - (Zone 8a)
Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies Cat Lover
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evelyninthegarden
Feb 1, 2018 11:24 AM CST
Larkspur, monkshood and delphinium for sure.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
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Leftwood
Feb 1, 2018 4:49 PM CST
There are varying degrees of recalcitrance in this kind of seed. Some do not tolerate any drying, and a day or two of drying is fatal (many willows). Some survive for a few weeks, some for a few months. The bottom line is that they won't tolerate the drying that seeds you buy at a store endure. Most ephemeral plants produce seed in this category, like Corydalis, Hepatica and most Clatonia. Acorns and chestnuts are recalcitrant. There are many more, and it includes most tropical seeds.

Larkspur are delphiniums, and I didn't think any delphiniums produce recalcitrant seeds. Evelyn, where did you find this datum?
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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CarolineScott
Feb 2, 2018 9:45 AM CST
I have not taken time to address this.

Delphinium perennials are NOT in this category. Unless there are rare cultivars which might ?

Larkspur annuals are Not either. But Larkspur seeds are not viable as they are harvested. The seeds can be stored dry, but the seeds contain incomplete embryos which grow only if subjected to cooler moist conditions.

Jeffersonia is usually sent in moist packing.

I have received peony seeds in moist packing, but I do NOT think this is necessary.

Some seeds go the other direction. Poppy seeds germinate better after some dry storage.

Name: Mark McDonough
Massachusetts (Zone 5a)
Region: Massachusetts Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Procrastinator Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Foliage Fan
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AntMan01
Feb 3, 2018 12:24 PM CST
As Rick mentioned, many spring blooming "ephemerals" have seed that must be sown shortly after ripening. A common feature of ephemeral seed is the presence of an elaiosome, a fleshy structure that attracts ants to carry away seed to their nests, the ants eat the elaiosome portion leaving the seed to possibly germinate. Some ant-dissemated seed include Jeffersonia, woodland Iris species, Epimedium, Trillium, many others.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

All such seed is best to sow soon after harvest. Studies have shown that Jeffersonia seed needs to be sown promptly after ripening, then the seed flats go through a summer/fall phase of warmth, followed by a period of winter cold stratification, the seeds germinate freely the following spring. Epimedium seed is classic in this same requirement, so I sow all of my Epimedium hybrid seed in June after harvesting, they're planted in pressed fiber flats and left sitting in contact with the ground under the shade of trees; the fiber pots "breathe" and wick moisture, keeping moisture levels moderated. I lightly water the flats only in very hot dry periods, then they're left outside all winter, they germinate like beans in the spring. Note: all flats are covered with wire mesh to keep out chipmunks and squirrel digging.

I'm passionate about this subject, so allow me to share some examples:

Our native Jeffersonia diphylla, pods turning yellowish, the pod "caps" starting to unhinge to release seed, notice the white elaiosomes attached to the seed.


Jeffersonia diphylla seed, not allowed to dry out, can keep in plastic bag for up to 2 weeks


Jeffersonia seed in back row, I add dry vermiculite to the bags to absorb some of the moisture from the seeds and elaiosomes), bag of Iris koreana seed in the front, more about that one below.
Thumb of 2018-02-03/AntMan01/40143a

Sowing seed of Jeffersonia (I think it's J. dubia seed), at its bagged storage limit where the seed has gotten very moist and sticky. I have always wondered what types of seed can be stored moist for long term, I noticed NARGS has moist-pack seed in the seedex; with Epimedium and Jeffersonia they rot if kept much more than 2 weeks.
Thumb of 2018-02-03/AntMan01/62eb80

In spring, seeds of Jeffersonia dubia and diphylla "come up like beans", Smiling
Top left is J. dubia, the other two flats are J. diphylla.
Thumb of 2018-02-03/AntMan01/c6f530

Seed of Iris gracilipes, among the most beautiful woodland Iris, the seeds are beautiful too. Seed matures early to mid July, need to watch closely because pods give no indication when they're ready, all pods shed in one day.


Seedlings of Iris gracilipes one year later, always get near 100% germination.


Seed harvest on our native Crested Iris, I. cristata 'Shenandoah Sky', seed ripens very late on this selection, at the end of August. Notice the familiar elaiosomes attached to seeds. Same seed sowing treatment.


Seed pod on woodland Iris from Korea, Iris koreana, split open to see if seed is mature enough, it's ready in this photo. These pods give no indication when they're ripe, when it approaches mid June I break open a pod here and there to check. If one waits too long, all the seed will shed in one day.


Seed harvest on Iris koreana in 2016, a good year. This species is very shy with seed, most pods are not fertile, something bores into the pods and eats the developing seed, so I take advantage of the bumper-crop years. I think the seeds are beautiful, the white elaiosomes prominent in this species.


Very interesting thing about Iris koreana (and a sibling Korean species Iris odeasanensis, see below) is that they are "warm germinators". I sow seed immediately when ripe (2nd-3rd week of June), get germination in 6 weeks at beginning of August. In another 6 weeks, mid September, seedlings are big enough to plant outside and overwinter just fine. Here's Iris koreana seedlings mid September 2016.


Pods of Iris odaesanensis (also from Korea) are triangular shaped affairs on coiling stems half-hidden amongst the mats of foliage.


Iris odaesanensis germination at beginning of August, just 6 weeks after sowing.


Iris odaesanensis seedlings in mid-September, just 6 weeks after germination, ready to plant out to settle in and overwinter. I've had no overwintering losses planting out these youngsters in autumn.

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[Last edited by AntMan01 - Feb 3, 2018 5:13 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Leftwood
Feb 3, 2018 3:45 PM CST
Thanks for those pearls of wisdom, Mark. I've been complaining to myself that I haven't figured out the way to tell when these iris seeds are ripe. I remember now that back on the NARGS forum you said you picked the pods green, but at that time, both species were too small in my garden to produce. And now (years later) when I get seed, I had forgotten your advice, and I usually end up losing most of the seed! Last year, on my own impetus, I did open a koreana pod that I though might be ripe enough, but not so. I have to say though, that trying to "crack the code" or learn the method is all part of the fun. Thumbs up

Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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CarolineScott
Feb 4, 2018 8:08 AM CST
Now I know why germinating either Jeffersonia did not work.
And I had no idea on the ants role !
I have been routinely adding cinnamon to wild flower seeds so the ants won't carry off the tiny seeds. (Need to think about that )

Thanks for a good explanation.

I think Pulsatilla vulgare (prairie crocus) might act similarly.
I have received seeds moist packed for it too. But if I just scatter the fresh seeds----better results.
Name: Mark McDonough
Massachusetts (Zone 5a)
Region: Massachusetts Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Procrastinator Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Foliage Fan
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AntMan01
Feb 4, 2018 9:01 AM CST
Caroline, it's fun to be out in the garden to observe ants carrying off Epimedium seeds. When I clean & sow epimedium seed outside on a little folding table, ants will come up onto the table and try to steal some seed, lol. I've attempted snapping a photo of ants carrying away seed, but my point-&-shoot camera is not good for macro photography.

Chipmunks love the seed of Jeffersonia, Epimedium, woodland Iris and others. When I sow a flat, I must cover it with wire mesh right away; I remember one day after sowing a flat of Epimedium, leaving it on my folding table while I went inside the house for a few minutes, when I returned the flat was totally dug up.
Avatar: Jovibarba x nixonii 'Jowan'
Allium 'Millenium' - 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year:
http://www.perennialplant.org/...
https://www.waltersgardens.com...
Name: Mark McDonough
Massachusetts (Zone 5a)
Region: Massachusetts Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Procrastinator Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Foliage Fan
Birds Seed Starter Hybridizer Sempervivums
Image
AntMan01
Feb 4, 2018 9:13 AM CST
Leftwood said:Thanks for those pearls of wisdom, Mark. I've been complaining to myself that I haven't figured out the way to tell when these iris seeds are ripe. I remember now that back on the NARGS forum you said you picked the pods green, but at that time, both species were too small in my garden to produce. And now (years later) when I get seed, I had forgotten your advice, and I usually end up losing most of the seed! Last year, on my own impetus, I did open a koreana pod that I though might be ripe enough, but not so. I have to say though, that trying to "crack the code" or learn the method is all part of the fun. Thumbs up


With Iris gracilipes in particular, it's maddening how there's zero indication of seed ripeness. In 2017 I thought I had the bases covered, because I'm retired and therefore available to check the hard round green pods twice a day, each morning and late afternoon. I through I was going to have a bumper crop. Then suddenly one morning I checked, and found that most pods split open and shed the seed...OVERNIGHT! I managed to harvest a small amount of seed, but lost all seed on the dwarf white I. gracilipes "Buko Form". Maybe I need to tie little tea bags over the pods to catch the booty.

Iris gracilipes seed pods: hard, green, round
Thumb of 2018-02-04/AntMan01/5643fc

Following day, seed pods split wide open, turn tan color.
Thumb of 2018-02-04/AntMan01/79f525

Avatar: Jovibarba x nixonii 'Jowan'
Allium 'Millenium' - 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year:
http://www.perennialplant.org/...
https://www.waltersgardens.com...
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
Leftwood
Feb 4, 2018 4:48 PM CST
That's interesting that the pods dehisced overnight (rather than over the day). I guess it can't be because of the outer skin drying, like it is with most other seed pods. The relative humidity always increases at night, and the winds usually die down, too, so the air would be less drying at night. Maybe it's a trait that goes in hand with recalcitrant seeds from pods that dehisce....
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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CarolineScott
Feb 5, 2018 4:46 AM CST
There are small muslin bags at Dollar stores which are useful to catch seeds. They are usually among the wedding supplies.
At the end of summer I have them tied on plants all over the yard. Discourages some of the two footed looters too.
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Container Gardener Seed Starter
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Onewish1
Feb 6, 2018 4:09 AM CST

Moderator

I bought some of those bags cheap on amazon as well
Northern NJ (Zone 6b)
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LorettaNJ
Feb 10, 2018 4:14 PM CST
RpR said:

Well, we are waiting. Sighing! Blinking Glare

Says RpR 8 years later! Lol!
I would add hellebore and astrantia to the list of seeds that need moist storage.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Peonies Lilies Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing
Bulbs Region: Canadian Garden Ideas: Master Level Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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CarolineScott
Feb 11, 2018 10:06 AM CST
There are lots of Gem Threads back in the NGA forums !
Some of us have just forgotten about them.

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