Germination progress

The following represents how an organic chemist (me) would document and monitor the progress of his seed sowing experiments.

All seed was purchased from well-regarded commercial suppliers, or collected by me acting under the appropriate authority.

Salvia spathacea.
18-Oct-06: Fresh seeds were collected from dried pods (Nature Trail, Strybing Arboretum) and dropped in a pint of fresh tap water. All floaters were discarded. Sinkers were divided into three groups of 6-9 seeds each. Group A seeds were soaked overnight (o/n) in 2-3 cups room temperature (RT) tap water. Group B: soaked o/n in dilute RT bleach (NaClO, household preparation, approx 1-2 tsp diluted with 2-3 cups tap water). Group C: soaked in dilute RT hydrogen peroxide (H2O2, household preparation, same dilution as bleach).

19-Oct-06. All seeds were observed to have a thin, slightly slimy coating. Seeds were sown without drying in moistened sterile seedling mix, and packed in the usual manner in appropriately labeled containers.

Per Emery (Emery, Dara. Seed Propagation of Native California Plants. Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, 1988), "Germination may be poor if diurnal fluctuation inusfficient." To promote strong diurnal fluctuation, potted seeds were placed on a heating pad indoors during the day, and moved outside at night.

6-Nov-06. The first germination was observed in seed from Group C on 3-Nov-06. Since then, 8 of 23 seeds have germinated with representatives from each group.

Plan: Continue diurnal fluctuation. Watch for true leaf formation. Put under fluorescent lights when 12 seeds have germinated.

ADDED: 3-Dec-06 The seeds in the hydrogen peroxide group worked best--all of them came up. About half of the pure water-soaked seeds came up, and only two of the bleach-soaked seeds came up. Everything looks good so far. All the seedlings were cultivated 4" under fluorescent lights for two weeks until the first set of true leaves developed. They were then potted up to 5" clay pots in fresh planting mix and moved outside into part sun.

Calliandra eriophylla.
Seeds were purchased Sep-06 from J.L. Hudson, Seedsman.

25-Oct-06. The treatment was modified from Emery (Ibid., page 42; "Scarify or soak in tap water 12-24 hours.") Hot tap water several minutes past boiling was added to 12 seeds, leaving them to soak o/n while slowly cooling to RT.

26-Oct-06. The water was poured off and replaced with fresh RT tap water. The seeds were left to soak a few more hours. The water was poured off, leaving seeds with a slightly slimy coating. All were sown in sterile seedling mix and placed on hot pad.

30-Oct-06. One seedling up!

4-Nov-06. Second seedling up. First set of true leaves (feathery) observed on first seedling up. Alternating now between hot pad during the day and fluorescent lights (RT) at night.

6-Nov-06. True leaves noted on second seedling up. Continue as above, and monitor for more germination.

UPDATE: 3-Dec-06. Only two germinations. Seedlings were potted up a few days ago and moved outdoors.

Updates as events warrant. Other seeds currently under, ahem, investigation: Comarostaphylis diversifolia, Eriogonum arborescens, Lilium pardilinum, Rhamnus californica, Trichostema lanatum.

Non-native: Echium wildpretii

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