Daylilies forum: Why oh why does this happen ?

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(Zone 6a)
signet
Feb 27, 2018 10:54 AM CST
Went to my mini fridge to get out some daylily seeds to plant only to discover that many had already sprouted in their bags and had begun to decay. I keep my seeds in little plastic baggies so when this happens it is confined to the individual bags and then those bags are collected and put in a plastic lunch bag , but for the life of me I cant figure out why it happens to some seeds and not others.

I treat them all the same way at harvest. Each pod is kept separate and seeds removed are allowed to dry for a week before being bagged up . It has happened before so now I tried putting little pieces of paper towel in each baggie hoping to avoid this but actually seems the ones with the paper towel are the worst offenders .

How do others avoid this? Please help , I end up tossing so many baggies of seeds due to this . What a waste!
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
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touchofsky
Feb 27, 2018 11:02 AM CST
That is too bad, signet. How disappointing. Crying

This year I started checking my stratifying seeds weekly. If some of the bags had the majority of the seeds sprouting, I took them out of the fridge early. Some were sprouting after only a few weeks. They grew green shoots in a few days after being taken out of the fridge and I then potted them up. The ones that were not germinating stayed in the fridge for the full thirty days.

Some crosses just seemed raring to go and didn't need thirty day stratification.

I still had a few bags that had the seeds rot, but only a few.

I hope others have some more help and suggestions.
Name: Ken
East S.F. Bay Area (Zone 9a)
Region: California
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CaliFlowers
Feb 27, 2018 12:55 PM CST
I've never trusted plastic bags for seeds. I get seeds packed like that from Lily Auction sellers, but because of experiences like yours, I don't leave them there.

Plastic is impervious, and contact with plant tissue promotes decomposition. I noticed this when storing swiss chard in the refrigerator. In a loose plastic produce bag it would start to noticeably degrade after one day, but if I wrapped the leaf bundles in paper towel, then put it in the plastic, it stored well for several days.

I started shipping daylilies that way —wrap the roots in paper towel, put them in a plastic bag, dampen the paper lightly, then loosely tie it at the crown—and they always arrive with fresh, moist roots.

It's an added expense, but I've had the best results putting my seeds in Brown Kraft coin envelopes, and grouping those in ZipLoc baggies. I refrigerate them dry or *slightly* damp around October. Two months before I want to plant, I put about an inch of water in the ZipLoc, let it soak the bottoms of the envelopes for about 5-10 minutes, drain off the excess water, then store them *vertically* in the fridge to stratify.

The paper envelopes will eventually get a little moldy, but the seeds and seedlings inside are healthy. There will be a rotter here and there, but I figure those probably weren't viable anyway. There's a lot of air in the ZipLoc, and the environment is so nice that even the rotting squishers don't affect the good seed. Once I used a weak Physan 20 solution for the soak, and the envelopes stayed very clean throughout storage.

Many of the seed will germinate in the envelopes, (which is how I like to plant them) but because of the cold, they develop so slowly that the window for planting is generous. It's actually nice to have a little emerging root to push into the soil, or even a short leaf "handle" to hold them by.

The envelopes I use are Columbian No. 3 Coin Envelopes #CO545
(Zone 6a)
signet
Feb 27, 2018 1:43 PM CST
Hi Val, yes disappointing for sure but more aggravating because I cant seem to find any rhyme or reason why one bag does it and another right beside it doesn't . Maybe some seeds need a longer drying period? maybe some seeds are encouraged to germinate with the cold?
Val , when you say you check your stratifying seeds weekly, does that mean you only put your seeds in the fridge when you want to germinate some. If the answer to that is yes, what do you do with the seeds when not putting them in the fridge to stratify.
I just don't understand . Would hope someone here more knowledgeable than me can offer some help.
[Last edited by signet - Feb 27, 2018 1:49 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Feb 27, 2018 3:49 PM CST
There's a difference between storage in the fridge and stratifying. The purpose of stratification is to break seed dormancy, and it requires that the seeds have some internal moisture. Yours must be hydrated enough that the fridge chilling is breaking dormancy (and not all daylily seeds have seed dormancy in any case). Once seed dormancy has been broken by damp chilling then the seeds may germinate at quite low temperatures.

If you just want to store them you can do that in the fridge but in your case you probably need to dry them for longer. I store mine in paper lunch bags in a cool room instead. When I stratify them I put them in containers of damp vermiculite in the fridge about a month to six weeks before starting them at room temperature.

The temperature for stratification is 0C to 10C (32-50F). The lower the temperature the less time to stratify but fewer should germinate in the fridge also at lower temps, they should wait until they're at room temp. Have you checked the temperature in the fridge where you put them?
(Zone 6a)
signet
Feb 27, 2018 4:12 PM CST
Hi Sooby , thanks for your input . I am aware of the difference between storage in the fridge and stratification which is why I don't understand why these seeds germinated . There is no moisture involved.
Where I am (extreme S.W . Ontario), come seed harvest time it is very dry and hot . Seeds when harvested are dried for a week (7 days) So you are saying I need to dry for longer ?

I have bags and bags of daylily seeds in that mini fridge I will do as you suggest and check temps in the fridge . Perhaps that is the problem , however it doesn't speak to why so many do germinate and so many do not.That goes for bags of seeds from the same plant , different pods , harvested at the same time and treated the exact same way . As I said , each pod gets its own little baggie. One bag of seeds will start to germinate while another is wholly unaffected and does not germinate. Just does not seem to make any sense.
[Last edited by signet - Feb 27, 2018 4:15 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Feb 27, 2018 4:28 PM CST
I would try drying them longer. Doesn't it get rather humid there sometimes around seed harvest time? Daylily seeds naturally contain moisture and they're big, so maybe try giving some a longer drying time and mark those this year so you can see if it makes any difference compared to the others.

If the problem is specific baggies rather than random seeds within a baggie, I would check whether the offending baggies are somehow differently placed in relation to the others. Definitely check the temperature in the fridge. If it is close to 0C then they should stratify but not germinate. I'll have to reread the research on this but I think if you can keep them at 3C or below they should not germinate (but keep them from freezing).
Name: Valerie
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Irises Roses Peonies Butterflies Birds
Bee Lover Region: Canadian Ponds Garden Art Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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touchofsky
Feb 27, 2018 4:28 PM CST
When I harvest my seeds, I dry them for a few days in a paper envelope at room temp. After drying, I have stored them in both plastic and paper envelopes in the fridge, this is dry storage. I haven't had a problem with rotting. I guess the seeds were dry enough before storage in the fridge.

A month before I want to be planting the seeds, I put them in dampened perlite in a ziplock sandwich bag or the smaller snack sized ziplock bag. I then put all my baggies in a large plastic bag and put them in the fridge. After about 10 days, I start checking the baggies, and if I find that the majority of the seeds of a cross are germinating, I take that bag out and leave it at room temp until the root grows and a little green leaf appears. I then plant the little seedling in seed starting mix in a plastic drink cup with holes punched in the bottom. I put around four to six seedlings per cup. This process of damp chilling is stratification. I leave the seeds in the fridge stratifying for a month, unless they have been removed because they germinated early. As I mentioned earlier, I check about once a week and remove any bags where the majority have germinated.

I started stratifying my seeds in mid October and have some seedlings growing that were potted up on November 23rd. These have been growing under lights and are quite large now. I stratified groups of seeds every few weeks up until the end of January. I find it easier to do this way, then they don't all have to be potted at once. My light stand has three shelves, so I can adjust the height of the fluorescents to accommodate the different sized seedlings.

I do lose the odd group of seeds to rot, but I just think tbose seeds weren't viable.

This method seems to work for me. I am sure there are lots of different methods that people use effectively. It is a matter of trial and error to see what suits you best.
(Zone 6a)
signet
Feb 27, 2018 6:41 PM CST
Interesting , I dry my seeds in used yogurt cups marked with the crosses sitting on my counter for a week minimum ( sometimes I don't get to bag them up on time but I try to bag them within a week) . Then the tags and seeds get put in the little plastic baggies and stored dry like that in this mini fridge.They stay there over the winter till I am ready to germinate them . I do that again in the yogurt cups this time with water with a pinch of hydrogen peroxide added.

I am guessing going thru the bags and bags of seeds this past week I had to toss about 300 + seeds that sprouted sometime over the winter and then rotted as they obviously didn't get planted when they germinated in the bags

Oh Sooby , no it is not humid here in the fall . As a matter of fact , the last 2 years have been so dry it hasn't even been humid in July and August when we would normally experience horrendous humidity . I dont mind the lack of humidity but wish it could be like that but with some rain ....we went from May through to October this past year with only a couple of very weak rain events all season.
[Last edited by signet - Feb 27, 2018 6:44 PM (+)]
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Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Feb 28, 2018 10:59 AM CST
signet said:why so many do germinate and so many do not.That goes for bags of seeds from the same plant , different pods , harvested at the same time and treated the exact same way . As I said , each pod gets its own little baggie. One bag of seeds will start to germinate while another is wholly unaffected and does not germinate. Just does not seem to make any sense.


Although the behaviour of the seed is strongly determined by the pod parent and the environment while the seed is developing in the pod it can also be determined by the genetics of the pollen parent. Are there different bags of exactly the same cross harvested on the same day that behaved differently with some bags with germinating seeds and others with no germinating seeds?
Maurice
(Zone 6a)
signet
Mar 4, 2018 4:00 PM CST
Hello Maurice , in answer to your question , yes some different bags of the same cross but bagged separately (each bag contained seeds from one pod ) prepped in the identical conditions and stored exactly the same . One bag germinated and another did not . This happened with several different crosses but one cross that experienced this in particular was Red Volunteer as the pod parent .
Name: Maurice
Grey County, Ontario (Zone 4b)
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admmad
Mar 5, 2018 8:49 AM CST
signet said: This happened with several different crosses but one cross that experienced this in particular was Red Volunteer as the pod parent .

@signet
What was the pollen parent in those crosses?

Maurice
(Zone 6a)
signet
Mar 5, 2018 7:03 PM CST
Sorry Maurice , I tossed the bags and the tags inside which were rotting along with the seeds, so I am afraid I dont know now . I cleaned the remaining seeds (disinfected them ) that werent affected and planted them all in one pot . *Blush* D'Oh!

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