Strike one

Ipomoea alba. Total bust. One seedling came up kinda deformed, and the others didn't come up at all. When I dug into the mix to examine the seeds, they were sludgy, oozing messes.

So I bought new seeds from a different vendor (Swallowtail Garden Seeds, over there in the links). These look totally different from the first batch.


Those were puffy and fuzzy. I called them a cross between Corn Nuts and Kellogg's Corn Puffs. These are more like enlarged popcorn. Hard, smooth, shiny. And for the same price, I got 50 seeds instead of 10.

The sowing instructions say to soak the seeds for 24 hours or nick the pointy tips with a sharp knife. I'm running both experiments.


Xris said...

I've had consistent success with soaking overnight. A full 24 hours is not necessary, and it's too easy to oversoak them and lose them that way.

I had some growing up our side porch last year. I can grow them about one year out of three. They need warm/hot nights - over 70F - to bloom well.

I got some photos of them last summer. I should post them!

chuck b. said...

They're not going to get many nights over 70 in San Francisco. I'm going to put one in a pot on my front steps where I hope the radiant heat will make it happy.

Pam/Digging said...

Fuzzy is bad on moonflower vine seeds. I also find that the whiter they are (as opposed to yellow or brown), the more likely they are to germinate. I usually nick and soak mine, but be careful with the nicking, as they are hard and slippery little suckers.

I get a 25% germination rate with this process.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I also nick and soak... last year, I nicked the seeds (as Pam mentioned, it's a little tricky since they're so hard) and let them soak in a little dish of water until they sprouted--not just for 24 hours. Once they were sprouted, I planted them at the right depth and kept them very moist until they made it out of the ground... had about 75% germination rate that way.

The County Clerk said...

When you soak them, you'll see bubbles of air come out. This is what is supposed to happen. Soak 'em. Turn 'em "on" with water.

These look good. You'll have good luck. A nice batch (quantity).

Over two seasons I tracked performance of dark seeds versus light seeds (I know... I'm a TOTAL loser) and found them to average out (even though it SEEMED like the lighter ones did better).

The big problem I have (not really a problem) is that they germinate and do their thing and then seem to stall awhile. You watch and wonder. You begin to doubt. Everything is vigorous and these are fine but... well... stalled. And then one day BANG! We are off to the races and they go like mad. Does this happen to anyone else?

Also, bugs like 'em in my experience. So... act accordingly.

Also (I can't help being me), I LOVE the name. Ipomeoa:


from the Greek ips, "a worm," and homoios, "like,"

thus "like a worm," referring to the twining habit of the plant's growth.

I think that is FANTASTIC! Am I just a nutjob? Do any of you think that is wonderful?

Oh yeah: alba/albus: white

A white worm that blooms at night.

Also, I've purchased seeds for this as another name entirely: Calonyction album.

I'm not sure which is "right."

But Calonyction is also interesting:

From the greek kalos (beautiful) and nyktos (night),

Beautiful at Night. A Moonflower.

Equally nice I find.

Sorry. I've fallen off the deep end again. This is why I've stopped talking to people... except at the office.


chuck b. said...

Oh, come on, Clerk. Spontaneous episodes of plant-ranting UNwelcome on a San Francisco-based garden blog called "Whoreticulture"?? I think not.