Picking 'em out to save special sprouts?

kanuk(Zone 5 Qc Canada)March 30, 2012

I presently have visible sprouts of alcea rugosa (Russian Hollyhock) in a winter sown bottle outdoors. The seeds were surface sown & pressed lightly into the soil and as a result the seed remains on top of the soil with the white root extended & exposed. I've had problems with germination in the past 2 years of this variety. In this bottle so far only 2 of the 15 are germinated & I would like to be sure of their survival. (they've been laying on surface for 1 week now)

Our weather has been fluctuating like crazy from way below freezing to well into the 70F. Would anyone suggest me picking those germinated seeds out of the bottle & planting them in individual containers by planting them root in soil. I would grow them on indoors until they would be safe to harden off again outdoors?

I'm wondering if anyone has found themselves in this situation & if you would recommend doing this.

Thank You in Advance for your input.


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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

It sounds like normal growth from seed. When we speak of seeing "radicle emergence", that's what we mean- seeing the little root emerging. Eventually it should find it's way down into the soil without help. At cool temps, the progress can be slow.

If it makes you feel better, you could sprinkle on a tiny, thin layer of fine vermiculite or peat. Apply carefully by sifting thru a wire strainer. But really, they should be capable of progressing on their own.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 8:31AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Karen is completely correct. However, many people germinate seeds in baggies with moist paper towel and then plant them into containers once the roots are showing. So, you could prick the germinated seeds out and put them into individual containers if you wanted. I would not keep them indoors, though. Then you lose the advantage of wintersowing and not needing to harden them off. Don't make more work for yourself AND put your babies at risk of succumbing to the hardening off process. I have many containers in the exact situation, but I'm just leaving them to do what they do. The tops on the containers will keep the moisture in the air adequate for the roots to survive and find their way to the soil. Relax.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 8:44AM
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kanuk(Zone 5 Qc Canada)

Karen & Martha
Thank you both very much for your replies. I see now that this is what goes on in nature so I will let them be. We just don't get to see it so up close & personal most times.
It's clear also that taking them indoors would have been a mistake.
You've both been a great help to me & I appreciate your advice. I'll stop being an 'over protective parent' ... and enjoy the process.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 9:04AM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Blackberry lillies are ones that are full of suprises. I planted out my two sprouts last year and threw in the whole container. Nothing else for months. Then, in the fall - four more sprouts. They all made it through winter and look great.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 9:13PM
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kanuk(Zone 5 Qc Canada)

Your example clearly indicates that all seeds in one container may not germinate at the same time.
I myself am guilty of just selecting out the obvious spouts when indeed the other seeds remain viable.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I will revise my method & hope to see surprises as well.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 6:42AM
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kanuk(Zone 5 Qc Canada)

This is just a follow up to the situation.
The seeds layer on top of the soil with their roots exposed until last week. Not seeming to find their way down & into the soil for such a long time I finally intervened.
I used a very fine, light peat/spagnum moss seed starting soil to delicately sprinkle over the white exposed roots/radicles. Just damp but not soaking. Just enough so that you could not see the roots. Within 12 hours their first leaves pushed up & opened. It seems to have helped in some way.
It's been just over a week now & they look really healthy/strong. True leaves just beginning to develop.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 7:22AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Good. They probably would have made their way on their own eventually as temps warm, but a light layer on top can help progress. As long as the layer is very thin, it can help. If buried too deeply, not!

It's easier than pricking out at that stage. My fingers aren't nimble enough to tramsplant such tiny roots, they can be damaged easily.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 7:55AM
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