Irises forum: Starting Iris seeds....

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Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
Butterflies Morning Glories Annuals Irises Dahlias Zinnias
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ShawnSteve
Dec 26, 2018 11:36 AM CST
@Serjio If any of the species you sowed, are truly, from an area in habitat , where it stays below freezing, then it is called an Alpine. Usually, we consider that to be from high altitude, mountainous areas, such as the Alps, in Northern Italy, into Switzerland, etc.... But, even Iran has high mountains, too! I have not looked at Google Earth, images to study habitat locations of most Oncocyclus. But, mainly they are from upper elevations, not necessarily always covered by snow &ice ( or frozen, constantly, all winter long.) Some, may actually flower in winter. It may be, because in winter they get adequate moisture, in order to flower at this time, or within a month or two. Beside, they are dormant naturally, in high heat of summer. So, they are called "cool season" growers.
So, you can 't get growth, at all, if the seeds are frozen ( in ice or snow.) Possibly, a dry seeds is more easily chipped, or nicked, with a single edge ( safety razor blade.) If the seed coat is still very hard & does not allow absorption of water, into the seed embryo, it can not germinate.That is the reason , others may use the toilet water tank, to keep the seeds constantly wet & washed, to soften the seed coat & to remove any germination inhibitors, while keeping it clean, by rinsing (by flushing the toilet,; seeds in water tank, method.)...
Alpine seeds, need 90 days stratification & may start to begin germinating in the refrigerator. In some areas where the Oncocyclus grow wild & flower soon, then keep these seeds warmer ( above freezing= + 0C) Some people use a clear plastic baggy, write the name of the species on the baggy with a marker pen, then place a moist coffee filter, then add seeds inside & close it. Place all of the baggies into the refrigerator, it is stored, until germination begins to occur of most the seeds.. Later, if any seeds begin to swell, you can easily view that seed as it grows a root, then sow in your small seedling pots with the soil & label it. As each baggy is checked, daily, place each appropriate seed, with the other same species together in the seed pot,
Here, some use a heat mat, if it is too cold & want to try to germinate seeds, more quickly. Oh, are your lights close enough distance, too your seedlings? If not, lower the light, or raise up, the seed pots.
As for the Aril Society, we will have to see, but they must be working on a new upcoming seed list, & hopefully they will update it soon.
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
Butterflies Morning Glories Annuals Irises Dahlias Zinnias
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ShawnSteve
Dec 26, 2018 12:38 PM CST
I have read, of some book online though Google, that ants may carry the seeds of Oncocylus, Iris underground. I have seen on t.v where some ants do this, to actually grow a colony of certain fungi, in order to use it, as a source of food supply. But, I do not know, exactly which type of fungus it is, that is associated with this activity. Nor do I know, if it is beneficial to the germination of Oncocyclus, in particular. But, if it causes degradation of the seed coat, wheer the aril is located by decomposing, through bacteria or fungus growth, then in may begin the process to allow water to enter the seed coat & help with reproductive growth of these Iris seeds.
The reason for such an extended lengthy germination, is usually to protect the seeds from being produced, to all germinate at once. Thus, avoiding all being killed of, by a sudden deep, prolongation of freezing that woud kill all the seedlings. This helps protect them & saves some, for later germination, under more ideal conditions. The problem, is to solve the answer to what the best conditions are for germination. Or, try to use methods to improve germination, so that you get better results, than four species, out of 30, with your germination results..
When sown in pots outdoors, the daily temperature changes & some cold, & rain, with "diurnal?" changes of temperatures occur in a 24 hour period in one day. Usually it is warmer in daytime & cooler at night.
This natural daily temperature change, may help with some seeds, to help them, with when it is best to start growing, as long as your seed pots do not get frozen, severely & end up killing a seed that has just started to produce a radicle ( this is more easily observed, by using a baggy method), or in flushing water tank, in finely netted, home made water permeable, ladies stockings. They can easily be seen, if a root appears, in both methods & each removed to be planted in proper conditions, to develop. Then, planted with help of using a pair of clean tweezers, & use of a tooth pick to use as a 'dibble' for the process of making easier for planting the germinating seeds, very carefully, without breaking the fragile root after the seed either swells or placed in a pot, with the tiny rootlet, pointed downward.Once you know which area of the seed, the radicle (tiny root) appears, you then know which way to place your seeds, in the correct position, As in the future, it may help you to know, which way is "up" for the seed. Seeds are "geocentric" & know (most often) which is up & what is down... to earth. Rolling my eyes.
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
Butterflies Morning Glories Annuals Irises Dahlias Zinnias
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ShawnSteve
Dec 26, 2018 11:20 PM CST
@Serjio I was determined to find out if what I was thinking, is correct, about how to force Oncocyclus germination. Because, I had grown Aquilegia jonesii from seeds before & was successful... I looked at the Scottish Rock Garden website & kept them in the refrigerator for 90 days & within that time, they started to germinate... Then, I typed ' forced germination of oncocyclus' & google results provide the answer in the Rock Garden Society
I just read, in srgc dot net, a method using the razor blade. You would have to carefully remove the tuft... without damaging the embryo, by slicing away, the fuzzy end, where the root will grow out from. The title on the pdf is "forced germination of aril iris seeds Bob Nold " There are instructions, with diagram & photos with directions to accomplish this, showing exactly how he did this method of his & then some days later, roots appear & planting in perlite! It does best, with keeping clean, using dilute sodium hypochlorite, just as I was thinking, also. Shawn
Russia (Zone 6b)
Irises
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Serjio
Dec 27, 2018 12:06 AM CST
[email protected] Thank you very much for the detailed and useful information! I tip my hat to you.
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin (Zone 8a)
Roses Dahlias
hampartsum
Dec 27, 2018 6:46 AM CST
I just successfully raised two maples by removing completely the outer hard husk of the seeds. These are two Acer tschonoski seeds that were soaked in warm water for seven days, then with a scalpel I very carefully removed the outer shell and left the embryo with its visible radicle bare. (I honestly felt that I had more or less doomed my seeds to impending death....). This I placed in a paper towel wetted in dilute hypochlorite solution and put it in the crisper section of the refrigerator for two months. In early spring I sowed the (initial) four seeds , of these to my great amazement three emerged. I treated the soil with fungicide captan. Two are now thriving plantlets.
My opinion is that seeds that have hard shells need some kind of scarification or even full removal. Since germination is more empirical than anything close to tried science, allowing oneself to try out beyond the conventional may open new effective ways. Most of the rarer irises are still at that stage of trial and error.
Arturo
Russia (Zone 6b)
Irises
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Serjio
Dec 27, 2018 7:28 AM CST
hampartsum said:I just successfully raised two maples by removing completely the outer hard husk of the seeds. These are two Acer tschonoski seeds that were soaked in warm water for seven days, then with a scalpel I very carefully removed the outer shell and left the embryo with its visible radicle bare. (I honestly felt that I had more or less doomed my seeds to impending death....). This I placed in a paper towel wetted in dilute hypochlorite solution and put it in the crisper section of the refrigerator for two months. In early spring I sowed the (initial) four seeds , of these to my great amazement three emerged. I treated the soil with fungicide captan. Two are now thriving plantlets.
My opinion is that seeds that have hard shells need some kind of scarification or even full removal. Since germination is more empirical than anything close to tried science, allowing oneself to try out beyond the conventional may open new effective ways. Most of the rarer irises are still at that stage of trial and error.
Arturo


I agree, the method of cutting the shell of iris seeds was described by Rodionenko in 1961. I came across an article on this topic on the website of the Russian iris society, with a photo http://ruiris.ru/page15.html#6... At that time, it seemed to me that this requires surgical precision using a microscope Rolling my eyes.
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
Butterflies Morning Glories Annuals Irises Dahlias Zinnias
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ShawnSteve
Dec 27, 2018 11:12 AM CST
Hi . I have grown Japanese lace leaf maples from seeds, sown in a large planter pot, on the front porch, with success previously, They simply germinated when spring time arrived. But may be they were easier seeds, to grow. I harvested them , as neighbors had various lace leaf cultivars.
You may wish to compare, the aril seeds of Strelitzia , (Bird of Paradise) using the old recommended common practice of simply removing the aril, from the seeds, after soaking in warm water & nicking, chipping or filing away at the very hard seed coat.
Mind you, it is a Tropical plant, but oddly enough, has an aril seed too. But with Onco Iris, it is already known, that the nearly surgical technique, is to remove that aril , by carefully using the razor blade to remove it & using a 0,1% solution of sodium hypochlorite, to avoid mold, or rot. But, dilute hydrogen peroxide may reduce the germination inhibitors & allow for water uptake & then the root appears not long after. Since the root emerges from the aril end of Onocyclus, then that end should be placed downwards. Exposure to sunlight also helps seeds, once the embryo has absorbed water.
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
Butterflies Morning Glories Annuals Irises Dahlias Zinnias
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ShawnSteve
Dec 27, 2018 12:07 PM CST
@janwax. It may not be necessary to always dry seeds, prior to sowing. I used to grow Japanese tree peonies & when the seed pod opened up & exposed the seeds, I often planted them just as I collected them. I recall people mentioning something about "double dormancy" & couldn't figure out what exactly that was all about. I guess, dormant in the autumn when planted then the seed grew a root in spring a year later & finally sprouted much later than mine did. Because of drying out & waiting? & then stratified in winter & taking two years to germinate. I thought, "but why do my tree peony seeds, germinate the next spring?" Apparently, the radicle may have grown in its' first autumn, after laying dormant that summer & then, the next spring the leaf shoot appeared...
Also, I noticed a member that plants his Zinnia seeds, while still green, to get two plantings to make more seed crosses per summer, , by using his method......Some may be a common sense approach & some of it, is due to when the seeds are offered for purchase, as opposed to one's own plants seed production. I guess the "drying method", is a way of "storing seeds' as opposed to actually sowing them sooner, than later. It prevents mold, etc... when saved & stored properly, for sowing the next growing or planting season. It may be unnecessary!Like seed racks, offer last years seeds. I hope that answered your question.
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin (Zone 8a)
Roses Dahlias
hampartsum
Dec 27, 2018 3:39 PM CST
Thank you Serjio for the reference about Rodionenko. I had to use the traslator of course.... Whistling But still enjoyed it thoroughly!
Shawn, unfortunately ( Sighing! ) there are quite a few species of garden plants that actually do much better if sown right away (i.e Erianthis, Corydalis, Aconitum, Hepatica, Helleborus , Quercus (oaks) and the list could go on. For us living in the other side of the equator it is a nightmare to get fresh seeds in time. So most try to start seeds with dry stored seeds. Sometimes a few manage to germinate eventually... Sighing!
Arturo
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
Butterflies Morning Glories Annuals Irises Dahlias Zinnias
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ShawnSteve
Dec 28, 2018 9:05 AM CST
@hampartsun I understand, the seasons are reversed. But, during your summer, can be when you use the refrigerator, for stratification. It is mainly a matter of collecting seeds & the actual problem is in getting them sent, shortly after they are ripe. Someone from South America asked me once, for seeds, but there wasn't a very good crop of the seeds, available, to even try to send! It may have been due to weather conditions, possibly drought, or when the cross pollination, didn't go very well, between the trees.
Yes,some seeds are best, when sown' fresh' & that may be called 'ephemerals'. Once dried, they are more difficult to start. In nature, they usually spread or drop, by themselves, to the ground, Other require help, from birds, wind, & other methods to disperse. Some seed vendors do keep the seeds they offer, stored under cooled temperatures & humidity controlled, also.
This past summer, I was able to buy seeds, (mostly common sorts, & sow in trays in preparation to plant out, later. Now, the seeds catalogs arrive in the mail, but for some specialty seeds, such as Oncyclus, it is rather late & the demand is usually greater, for these species.
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin (Zone 8a)
Roses Dahlias
hampartsum
Dec 28, 2018 9:17 AM CST
Thank you Shawn, I have a few fresh oak seeds right now waiting moist stratified in the refrigerator. They ought to be sowed by february 13. However my worry will start afterwards: will the seedling emerge and cue in correctly?. Right now days start getting shorter. Eventually the seedlings will emerge in shortened daylight. Perhaps my only option then will be to rig up an artificial light fixture to deceive the plantlets onto imagining themselves in springtime and keep on growing. Then perhaps I may postpone their natural dormancy season for much later. Quite a challenge!
Arturo
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
Butterflies Morning Glories Annuals Irises Dahlias Zinnias
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ShawnSteve
Dec 28, 2018 1:47 PM CST
@hampartsum Yes Arturo. This seems to be a problem, with growing Oncocyclus, as they flower in winter, with the seed list usually available in late autumn. Then, if they sprout during winter, you need to at least provide 12 or 13 hours of light, depending on how long your day length is, in winter. I you have natural sunlight & keep them cool, then you only need to turn on the lights , shortly before sunset ( unless your sunlight level is very low.) An automatic timer, for lights can be used, set to turn on, for a number of hours, ,that you need, to make up for the hours you either lack naturally, or if there isn't enough natural light for good growth. But, with Oncocyclus, the grower wants to allow the seedlings to grow cool, in airconditioning, during the first summer, instead of putting outside in heat & not growing, at all.
So, yes you will need to try to keep providing extra hours of light exposure, above 12. Because, at the spring ( & autumnal) equinox, there are 12 hours of day length & of night. as they are equal on those two days, each year.
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentin (Zone 8a)
Roses Dahlias
hampartsum
Dec 28, 2018 2:03 PM CST
Thankyou @ShawnSteve so much! Thank You! This is really very interesting even beyond Irises!. From what I've read somewhere in different sources, the need for extended extra daylength that keeps the plantlet in growing mode doesn't require the same light intensity as that for photosynthesis so even a low intensity device just providing beyond the remainder of 12 hours should suffice. I do have a small cool greenhouse and even a small section of it that can be kept warm ( ca. 60ºF/15ºC), so low temps wouldn't be a hindrance. Fortunately, we don't have a long season of overcast days or low light intensity conditions, with the exception of the very short days around winter solstice. Hopefully by then if my plantlets go dormant , they would have reached a sizeable measure and have stored enough energy to go thru a short dormancy period until days start getting longer again. I find the challenge particularly concerning with deciduos plants... Sighing!
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
Butterflies Morning Glories Annuals Irises Dahlias Zinnias
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ShawnSteve
Dec 28, 2018 2:32 PM CST
Some, or many seedlings, don't always require vernalization, to continue growing on, even to flower (some, just get by, with adequate cooling period) at least for the first year & some for even longer. The shortening day length, after the equinox, can simply be avoided by additional light & warmth. Once you have failed to provide adequate heat &/or sufficient light ( natural plus artificial) then it may cause dormancy. I have grown cacti seeds in winter before & if kept fertilized & watered, with enough direct sunlight exposure & warmth, they just may keep on growing... Once they have become adequately big enough, or once the cactus seedling has matured enough to have flowered, then, is when they usually don't like to grow year 'round anymore. So, be it an Iris seedling, or some other genus, the seedlings can be kept growing. It may seem odd, to be very close to the Tropic zone & see Roses bloom with no 'winter, or Azaleas flower during autumn months, but having lived in Hawaii, gives other ideas of how some plants can behave. Some trees here, did not lose their leaves, until last week & this latitude is almost 38 degrees North.
Russia (Zone 6b)
Irises
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Serjio
Dec 29, 2018 1:38 AM CST
ShawnSteve said:@Serjio Yes, I think it is possible, but they may have a website, meant just for Russia, too? But I went to what may have been the Home page of Aril International Society. The way to search may be, to use terms Aril Society International organization, they may be both the same & provides a link, to other member societies were shown such as for Chech, Italy, , Russia , etc..I have considered both the Aril Society but with the SIGNA, there are other plant seeds varieties, besides Aril Iris. I can't access the link provided, as my browser gives "Unsecure website" message & stops me. So maybe it is down, until seeds are offered to members, as when it is 'secure,'s & likely Paypal & Credit Cards info would get secured, when making purchases.


By this safe link http://www.arilsociety.org/ind... I can now see that the sale of aryl seeds is taking place in October..
Name: Shawn S.
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
Butterflies Morning Glories Annuals Irises Dahlias Zinnias
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ShawnSteve
Dec 29, 2018 9:37 AM CST
Yes, Serjio. That is when seeds are offered, for purchase, by some Seed Societies & another vendor; that collect seeds, such as Alplains, but maybe from theirs ,begins with a new list in November. Many from this vendor, are from North American species.
I was.very late, with starting to look for aril Iris seeds! Now, it is much too late... I hope you have success trying the method, shown by Bob Nold.
Name: Evelyn
Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies
Cat Lover Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter
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evelyninthegarden
Mar 2, 2019 3:50 PM CST
Dachsylady86 said: I agree That's a fabulous cross! @Daschylady86

With the chaos of moving I didn't get to do hardly any dwarf crosses and had some confused/ faded tags since I couldn't keep as good of an eye on everything while traveling back and forth between houses. Here's what I ended up with for crosses this year that took (I don't think I posted last year's crosses yet, oh well):

Rare Blend X Imperial Guard
Rare Blend X Let's Play Dress Up
Rare Blend X Shadowed Moon
Rare Blend X Mixed Signals
Puzzled X Shadowed Moon
Belle Fille X Hopen fer Rain
Aubigny Auld Alliance X Shadowed Moon
Peach Pearl X Georgette Silk
Dark Energy X Mixed Signals
Dark Energy X Rise Like a Phoenix
Restless Spirit X French Butterfly
Painted Love X Unknown
Painted Love X Unknown (Party Rock or Bahia Cooler)
Shadowed Moon X Maypearl
Shadowed Moon X Espionage
Shadowed Moon X Let's Play Dress Up
Sweet Pink X Cher's Delight
Bazinga X Jitters
Cher's Delight X Devil Baby
Rum is the Reason X Requires Wires
Western Woman X Jupiter's Rings
Rustic Charm X Rum is the Reason
Not a Clue X Sights Unlimited
Crunch X Unknown (Inside Out or Puzzled)
Imperial Guard X Shadowed Moon
Margin Call X Dark Energy
Espionage X Color Wheel
Espionage X Shadowed Moon
Mixed Signals X Unknown (Rise Like a Phoenix or French Butterfly)
Inside Out X Unknown
Mood Ring X Unknown (Good On Ya or One of a Kind)

It's so hard to wait to see what could happen!


Hi Liz ~ I am so happy for all of your amazing crosses. (Both last year's and this year's.) It will be fun to see some blooms...eventually, but you really have a lot of nice crosses. I hope that you will have the time to share pictures, once they do bloom. I know it must be so hard to be patient, as it appears as though you have put a lot of thought into your crosses. But isn't that the fun of it?

It will always be a surprise, no matter what you think how they might come out, or hope for.

"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
[Last edited by evelyninthegarden - Mar 2, 2019 11:54 PM (+)]
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Name: Evelyn
Northern CA (Zone 8a)
Hybridizer Region: United States of America Region: California Annuals Bulbs Butterflies
Cat Lover Foliage Fan Irises Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter
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evelyninthegarden
Mar 2, 2019 4:00 PM CST
Oh, I have good news! There are tiny little green swords peeking out of some of the seedling pots.

I just put them outside, as they were in the shed since we had such strong storms. Since the shed is not heated, I am thinking that the iris seedlings shouldn't need any hardening off, or acclimating to the current weather. It is mild today, with light rain at the moment. There was about 3 minutes of sunshine, and I went out to the garden to see how the irises were doing. There were a lot of small branches all over the place since we had so much wind lately. And, yes, mold on the rhizomes. (Ugh!) Thumbs down
Oh well. I will just have to deal with that later as it started to rain again when I was about finished checking the garden. And yes, a lot of tiny weeds were continuing to grow under the snow, as I suspected! nodding
"Luck favors the prepared mind." - Thomas Jefferson
[Last edited by evelyninthegarden - Mar 2, 2019 7:55 PM (+)]
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Name: Robin
Melbourne, Australia (Zone 10b)
Region: Australia Irises Garden Photography Cat Lover Seed Starter
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Totally_Amazing
Mar 2, 2019 4:33 PM CST
Hurray! Now the wait to see how many emerge..
Name: Elsa
Las Cruces, New Mexico (Zone 8a)
Region: New Mexico Region: United States of America Irises Region: Southwest Gardening Dog Lover
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GreenIris
Mar 2, 2019 6:23 PM CST
Hurray! Ev. What cross or crosses?

I too am starting to see new seedlings emerge. Here is the surprising part. 7 new ones showed up from my 2017 Eyes Don't Lie X Tenessee Woman cross. I had heard that they can sometimes sprout, even many years later. But I never dreamed that many would show up on the 2nd year. Now I have 22 total from that cross.

Also I had my first 2018 cross produce a seedling. This is from Laurie X Sweetwater Pie Burns. I have 7 2018 crosses in total so I am hoping I see many more but for me, it is pretty early to see any seedlings so hoping many more will follow.
I think the people who grow Irises are about as special as the flower itself!

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