Collection and Germination of Scilla madeirensis seeds

jadgee(z8 England UK)December 31, 2009

My Scilla madeirensis bulbs flowered well this year and I would like to harvest the seeds to produce new plants/bulbs.

The bulbs are in my greenhouse for the winter with the leaves slowly drying and the seeds still on the flower stalks.

I have been waiting for and expecting the seed "pods" to dry and shrivel so I can collect the seeds. However, the pods remain a plump, healthy green colour and I am wondering if this is the how they would remain in their native habitat, possibly waiting for whatever "animal" normally eats them as their means of dispersal.

I would appreciate advice on the best means to harvest and germinate the seeds.

I have removed one green pod and inside there was a single black seed (approx 5mm diam) with a hard coat.

Should I remove the seeds from the other pods now while still green?

Do the seeds need to be stored over-winter ready for sowing next spring?

Do the seed need a "cold spell" to help with germination? (I presume in Madeira they would not encounter freezing conditions)

Should the seed coats be "chipped" before sowing to help germination?

What conditions are suitable for germination?

Any advice would be welcome as I really enjoy these bulbs when in flower and would like to propagate more.

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From what I read on line, Madeira has a mild sub-tropical climate. The bulbs would not be exposed to any frost or freezing or cold conditions.

There can be at times a wind from the Sahara ( The Leste) that brings a red dust and causes temps to soar to 104F in summer, but only for a few days.

If the seeds are black, they should be ripe. Why not sow a few fresh seeds now? They may germinate right away.

From the chart linked below, it appears the temps range from about 50 - 80 year round.

Here is a link that might be useful: Madeira climate

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 11:08AM
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jadgee(z8 England UK)

Thanks for your reply carol23, and the link to Madeira climate. I shall do as you suggest and sow some of the fresh seeds now with a little bottom heat, wait to see what happens and keep a few in reserve until next spring. As you indicated, it's unlikely they encounter any freezing conditions in Madeira.
It's a good job you suggested immediate sowing for some of the seeds as when I went into the greenhouse today to collect some there must be only 20% of those originally on the flower stalk. The field mice have obviously decided they are ripe enough to eat/store!
Thanks again for your advice.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 3:48PM
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pellie_grower(z8 UK)

Jadgee, how did you get on with collecting, sowing and growing your seeds?

N Ireland

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 3:04PM
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