stratification, mold, times?

mjzzyzoff(6oh)February 2, 2014

I'm stratifying for the first time the following seeds and can't find consistent answers for how long to stratify. Is there a general guideline I can follow? Or are they just all over the map?

I used wetted coffee filters in ziplock baggies and I'm afraid they may have been too wet, because now I have some with mold spots, not necessarily on the seeds, but between and around. I'm sure some are on the seeds, but it's hard to tell.

Should I open those with mold and try to re-do them on clean (sterilized?) media? They've been stratifying since Jan. 18th so not super long.

Common Milkweed
English Lavendar
Nepeta 'Blue Carpet Catmint'
Mexican Milkweed (not sure this even needed it but thought I'd try a few seeds anyway)
Coreopsis 'Tickseed'

I also have these but not mold so far:
Alpine Strawberry
Wild strawberry
veronica evaline
coral bells

Thanks in advance for any help. I didn't stratify all my seeds of most of the varieties since I wanted to have backups in case I screwed up.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

The Clothiers Site is great for approx. timelines and suggestions for germinating all types of seed. Understand that these are methods that have worked, and not necessarily the only method that will work.

Not all seeds benefit from stratifying. Most digitalis doesn't need it. Your Rudbeckia hirta may respond well to as short as two weeks moist chill to improve germination, but the R. nitida could be better at approx. 40F for many, many weeks and will germinate while still at those cool temps, that one I would place outside to sprout after preparing the pots, let mother nature provide the temperatures.

Calamintha Blue Cloud may germinate well with no moist chill, but sometimes a brief cold period may improve germination and as little as 2 - 4 weeks can be helpful.

Seeds that need stratifying can be placed in tiny ziplocks (look at Staples, office supply or craft stores) with as little as a teaspoon or two of moist sterile sand or moist vermiculite. Date the bags. A small lidded container in your refrigerator will hold seeds/zip locks for a lot of species ;)

When time to sow, you can sow the contents of the bag, vermiculite and all, no need to try to extract smaller seed...with the sterile medium, you shouldn't have mold. You want damp, like a squeezed out sponge, not soggy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clothiers database

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 1:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with morz8, the Clothiers germination database is quite reliable. I depend on it often and I've found it to be quite useful.

Regarding your question about stratification medium, you can use a wide variety of different types. I have used paper towels, cotton facial cleaning pads, children's play sand, various potting soils, pine bark, peat moss, etc. So feel free to experiment with any soil-less media.

One thing to keep in mind, as morz8 mentioned, is to keep your media damp, not wet. If you use coffee filters make sure they are damp to the touch and not dripping wet. If you use polyethylene bags in a refrigerator for cold stratification you will find that your media typically stays damp a long time. If your media is soaking wet then the chances are very good that you will end up with moldy seeds.

One thing that I have done in the past to help reduce the chances of mold during stratification is to soak seeds with hard seedcoats in a weak hydrogen peroxide solution for a couple of hours, then move the seeds to a plain water soak for 24-48 hours. I have found this works well with tree and shrub seeds, and I rarely, if ever, have any mold problems. I have *not* tried this method with veggie or flower seeds so I cannot recommend this to you. However, if you have some surplus seeds and wish to experiment, it might be interesting to do so.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 6:55PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Volunteer in my seedling tray?
Can anyone identify this seedling? I have one in both...
Bunny Tail grass seedling
I start Bunny Tail grass indoor. I put them near windowsill....
Pinch or toss?
My sweet peas are leggy. Can I pinch them or should...
Loni Tabor
Grasses from seed
I'm getting ready to sow a variety of (native NA) grasses...
When to uncover seedlings?
I've successfully started seeds for years by bottom...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™