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  1. #13

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    Hi Vicky, welcome to the forum.
    I find that hellebore seeds to be useful they need to be ripe, almost black. I try to get them into the ground right away. I have found that letting them sit around for over 3 months seems to cut back on the germination rate.
    I am sure that others on the forum have different opinions on this and I hope that they will add to this string.
    I started with 3 plants from a friend and now have hundreds around the yard by doing just what you are doing.back groups 3.JPG

  2. #14

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    Vicky, we have seen them bloom in the first year but I think that one is unusual. We have many that bloomed in the second year and find that a third year plant will obtain seedpods. Just from what we are noting here. The more sun the more blooms from what we note here also.

    Matter of fact we harvested 1/3 cups of seeds last night when we noted that they are all browning and popping open from just one plant! We missed some and will have plenty of babies. We also found seeds that were missed placed a few years prior and listened to folks stating fresh seeds so we tossed them by the back door. Next time they will go into the recycle yard bin as we have lots of babies now to transplant else where!

  3. #15

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    Received Pine Knots Farms Southern Belles double/semi seed. What would be best to use for germinating, vermiculite? Also can the seeds just be laying on the surface of the vermiculite or do they need to be covered? Plan on putting them in cups once they germinate. These will be grown indoors through the winter.

    How many weeks warm/moist before putting them into the fridge?

    Thanks.

  4. #16

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    1,352

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    Hi Guff
    Given that the seeds are certainly fresh (a key requirement for successful germination) I would be inclined to sow them in a pot containing well draining mix, here we now use almost exclusively pine bark based mixes and these are well draining. Lightly cover the seeds with potting mix then add a layer of coarse river sand, this will act as a mulch and keep the mix in a moist state. Place the pots in a shaded spot and keep moist over summer, and in the following spring seedlings should appear which can then be potted on or planted out, I do this when the first set of true leaves have appeared.
    I see no benefit in adopting a stratification approach, warm followed by chilling, as your seed comes from a local source. Stratification is only a must when seed is sourced from opposite hemispheres, in particular if seed goes from the southern to northern hemispheres, the opposite is not so as seeds arrive here late spring early summer and this then allows the warm part of the cycle to be achieved..
    Alternatively you could use any of the various approaches used by GB members.

  5. #17

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    Guff, I suppose you would do that just to get a few extra months growth? When I have done it in the past, I used a small amount of sterile, slightly damp media (relatively fine vermiculite would work) inside an airtight container or bag. I kept them at room temperature in a dark place for 4-6 weeks (although I'm not sure if that long is really necessary). Then I put them in the fridge and started checking after a few weeks. You can get them fairly large by the following autumn, but not usually enough to see blooms after the first year. The difference in plant size (compared to a natural cycle) to me was not worth all the time and effort, but if you enjoy watching things slowly develop it's an interesting method.

  6. #18

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    Jeff, Joseph thanks.

    I dont want to chance slugs or anything else killing them outside. These will be the only ones I will be growing inside. The seed I get from my plants will be planted in a leaf compost/sand bed. I have 10 flowers that set seed pods, it will be interesting to see how many seedlings I may get. I did some crossing, mostly with the White Spotted Lady, and the white flower I had. The White Spotted Lady's weren't the white color I had thought they should be.

    I went with a cup with vermiculite and a plastic ziplock bag. Should I keep the bag zipped, or just have it over the cup? Seems like alot of moisture builds up on the plastic when it's closed. Don't want them to rot.
    HelleboreSeedCup1.jpg
    HelleboreSeedCup2.jpg

  7. #19

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    1,352

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    Guff, if you are concerned about slug attack and do not want to use baits then a small wooden frame covered with a hinged cover made from shade cloth is an easy way to halt thier path and maintain conditions that will meet what the developing seedlings need.

  8. #20

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    Jeff, I have slug pellets. Its not just the slugs. When I buy seed, I like to make sure nothing kills them(but me...lol). I would have no problem planting them if they were my own seed outside. At $1 a seed, I don't like taking risks with nature and bugs.
    Last edited by Guff; 06-05-2009 at 11:04 AM.

  9. #21

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    1,352

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    Warm stratification of seed as many have advocated can lead to fungal infection of the seed and subsequent loss to rot. If you are going down this road make sure that you use a sterilised media or incorporate a fungicide in the stratifcation media and make sure the media does not become to wet. I always plump up seeds by soaking in a resonably strong fungicide solution before planting into potting mix or stratification in a media.

  10. #22

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    Thanks everyone! Now I've another question.

    Goswimmin says the seeds have to be almost black to be ripe and the picture posted by Guff certainly shows them being black. Most of my seeds are popping out of the seed pods and are a little black and then fade to a grayish color. Are you saying these seeds will NOT germinate? Why would the seed pod open if the seeds are not yet ripe? Has anyone ever grown seeds this color and had them germinate?

  11. #23

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    1,352

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    Vicky, is your plant hybridus or a species? It is the norm for fully ripe seeds to be dark in colour so one would immediately suggest that your seeds were not ripe but you do report that the seeds were released without human intervention.
    I have an anemone that behaves in a similar manner, pods split and seed is released but the seed is quite pale but does darken slightly on storage for a few weeks. Seed from this plant does germinate so it may just be the pale seed colouration is a characteristic of the odd plant. Only one way to find out though.

  12. #24

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    Vicky, the color of ripe seed varies somewhat. Some plants produce gray (charcoal) colored seeds. Others are more brown than black. As long as they're not white or small, they're probably OK. Even a ripe seed has an immature embryo that continues to develop after the seed is released from the seed pods; so the seed is still not finished maturing when it drops. There is certainly a threshold where a seed goes from 'not viable' to 'viable', but this certainly occurs well before the pods split in most cases.

 

 
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