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When none of a pot of seeds germinates--Q's

Posted by sujiwan 6 MD (My Page) on
Fri, May 7, 10 at 8:40

On April 1, I seeded a large number of pots of which the majority of perennials germinated. In a few, nothing has shown at all. My seeds are from 2007, 2008 and 2009. Is 2007 pushing the edge of viability for most commercial seed?

Are there certain plants which don't like a seed starting mix like ProMix? For example, I planted lupines which merely rotted away instead of germinating. Should I have used a different sort of mix for them? Or for verbena bonariensis?

I have had the hardest time getting helenium to germinate--is there something special I need to do? I had maybe 1 sprout last year.

Is there posted somewhere a list of hardy seeds that would benefit from a stay in the frig or freezer for a period of time? I read the special instructions on the packets of course, but wonder about things like poppies for example, when started inside late...

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: When none of a pot of seeds germinates--Q's

Any seed that is more than a year old is pushing the edge of 100% viability. Having said that some seed can stay viable for years especially if it's stored right.

Promix is the best seed starting or growing mix there is, so, no, nonsprouting has nothing to do with promix.

What is more likely is the temperature and it varies depending on what you are planting and that is usually written on the package. Some seeds germinate at 65 degrees--keep these too hot and they won't germinate. Some seeds germinate at 85 degrees--keep these too cool and you'll have a hard time getting these to sprout. In addition some seed needs special handling and some needs bottom heat.

My advice to you would be if you are having a hard time starting certain seeds, read about that plant and discover just what to do. There is no general answer for your question. Poppies are better off started outside in cool temperatures

RE: When none of a pot of seeds germinates--Q's

Seeds are programed to grow in the conditions found in nature where the seed came from. Many have built in germination prohibitors to keep them from germinating before the conditions are right for their survival. Seed sellers are not usually very good at providing enough information on the seed package to help new seed growers succeed. Their are several seed data bases available on line, free for your use. When growing a new(to me)seed I always check a seed data base for the information left off the package directions. Al

RE: When none of a pot of seeds germinates--Q's

Agree with all of the above info although I don't find that germination rates of properly stored seed declines by more than 5-6% per year. With few exceptions, 2007 seed, properly stored, should still be quite viable. It definitely wouldn't be considered old seed.

But when we have poor results it is so much easier for us to blame the seeds or blame the potting mix when in truth, most of the problem causes are us - the growers. We insist on too much water or not enough soil heat or failing to scarify or stratify or most commonly, insisting on indoor germination when direct seeding is best. ;)

The germination needs of so many seeds are very diverse so it is best to research the needs of each variety for the best results.

The many FAQs here on this forum (front page in blue link) cover hundreds of varieties and if you Google 'seed germination database' you'll find lots of help.


RE: When none of a pot of seeds germinates--Q's

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Fri, May 7, 10 at 11:56

The information on this database is reliable, a good one to keep bookmarked. Most of the suggestions are for dried stored (i.e. commercial) seed - in some instances seed sown freshly harvested may have different requirements.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clothiers database

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