Germinating Amaryllis Seeds in Water

Because Vero Beach is located in zone 10 (9 if you disagree with the latest USDA Plant Hardiness Map ;)) amaryllis are planted here as outdoor perennials with a March through May bloom cycle.

Last Amaryllis of the Season, 5/14/12

Last Amaryllis of the Season, 5/14/12

Amaryllis in the Ranchero

First Amaryllis to Bloom, Ranchero, 3/21/12

Right around the time the final, pretty pink one opened, the seed pod from the original bloomer (directly above) was on the verge of breaking apart:

Amaryllis Seed Pod, 5/10/12

In the past, I’ve grown amaryllis ONLY from fall-planted bulbs, but living in a year round gardening climate has piqued my interest in starting everything from seed. :).  As you can see, this particular pod was PACKED with myriad flowers-to-be!

Amaryllis seed pod and seeds

Each Amaryllis seedpod holds dozens of papery seeds!

Zeroing in on the bottom-most seed to the right, you’ll notice a small circular bump. That bump is the seed’s embryo, but be advised ➡ not every seed has one!  To separate viable seeds from chaff, hold each little disc between your thumb and index finger; if you can’t feel a tiny bump of embryo, the seed is chaff to be discarded.

There are three basic methods for germinating the remaining viable seeds: potting medium, paper towel/baggie method, and the one that is less messy! 🙄 Guess which one I’m showing you? (The first two don’t count!!! 🙂 )

Select a clear glass container with a wide opening and fill it 2/3 of the way to the top with warm water. Float each amaryllis seed on the water’s surface, like so:

Amaryllis seed germination via water flotation

Finding a Flamingo to guard the seeds is a huge help! 😉

For purposes of this little experiment, I chose to work with only 6 seeds which I floated (and photographed) on 5/22/12.  I placed the glass on a pass-through shelf between my kitchen and dining area because it receives bright, indirect light from sun-up to noon.

After 6 days, 3 seeds began showing white roots that continued to grow at individual rates. On the 9th day, another seed sprouted a bit of root that has grown very slowly. As of today, two are still dormant, so I removed the 4 germinating seeds to show you their progress thus far:

Amaryllis seeds germinated by flotation method

Amaryllis seeds germinated by flotation method, 6/8/12

Technically two of these seeds are “ready” for potting because the white roots are longer than a .05″, but I’ve chosen to wait awhile longer.  The hint of green you see is evidence of the first set of leaves.  When these are fully visible, (and the roots a bit stronger)  I’ll share the careful process of repotting and what to expect as they grow into bulblets!

Right now, all 6 are back in the water glass, but the flamingo has the night off so there was little sense in taking a picture! 😉  I’m hoping the last two seeds will sprout! It can take up to a month, so there’s still a way to go.

Until next time……

🙂 🙂

Seeds? Weeds? Where’d the Belles of Ireland go?

Let me go on record: I ABHOR list-making.  I don’t write down what I need at the store….I’ve never kept appointments in day-planners (even when I had 3 kids going in 3 different directions, 6 days a week for a total of 10 activities!!!)  Years ago, I had a neighbor who made daily lists; things like “make coffee” or “do laundry”   Huh???? Why would you need a list for things you do all the time?!   Why “lists” period!?!    Take a look again at the title of this post…. 🙄

If only I’d bought a p-touch!

Since mid-January I’ve been sowing flower seeds with great abandon and somewhat haphazardly. Although each seed “type” always starts in it’s own pot, it could end up elsewhere depending on individual growth patterns…sometimes I move half the contents of one container to something bigger (and pre-populated) with fast germinators of still different varieties.  I’ll show you an example:

Clarkia and Mirabilis share a pot

This container started as a huge pot of pink clarkia seeds (garland flower) half of which were removed to make room for calladium bulbs and pink mirabilis (4 o’clocks) from a different germination pot.  I know exactly what’s what!  A nice success story and no-list-required 😛

Other times, I’ll remove a pot’s entire contents, randomly using seedlings to fill in empty spots around the yard. As I dig them in, I make mental notes of what’s going where ➡ again no list required.  I guess you could say I garden the way I live, not by plan but by instinct.  It all works out so well…until it doesn’t!

One day you have a spot open and worthy of seedlings….a few days later you have this:

What weeds and seeds are these?

While I may not need a list to know what I planted,  I definitely need one for the plants sprouting up!  This is where it all falls apart: I keep forgetting that previous plants and weeds reseed waayyyyyy too easily here!  And while there’s no great mystery what these are:

Sunflowers

there’s a definite question re: this one’s identity, in a pot where I sowed 3 Belles of Ireland seeds:

Weed or Seed?

I'm having an identity crisis!

My best guess is some kind of weed, although to be certain I’ll be checking two good online resources: The Seed Site in Great Britain and/or The Urban Detective here in the States.  (There’s a third one too, The Seedling Recognition Project, but I find the navigation there cumbersome and don’t use it often)

Although I don’t envision list-making for initial germinations, never let it be said I don’t learn from my mistakes!  An easy compromise could entail labelling a popsicle stick for each seedling as I place it in the ground, yeah?  (Bring on the  P-touch!) 😎   And If I spot those dang Belles of Ireland again, I’ll be sure to post a picture!

until next time  😉

Everything Old is New Again….maybe.

While I was uploading the October Bloom Gallery, I ran across pictures of my Cosmos flowers, started from seed in early spring.  I’ve planted Cosmos many times over the years and always had the same result: pretty orange blooms on 12-18in stalks, like this:

Normal Cosmos

Needless to say, that’s not exactly what happened this time! Although all of this year’s seeds came from the same packet, at least a third of them behaved strangely; they kept growing..and growing…like these, seen in August, reaching 2-3ft.

Cosmos, Sept, 2011

But they didn’t stop there. September arrived. The same thing was happening in the back garden, as in the front.  Take a look behind this Canna:

7ft tall CosmosThe Cosmos were out of control!    Here’s a view from a different angle:

Super Cosmos, 2011I am dead serious when i tell you…the above shot is of ONE plant, 7.5ft tall, with a stalk as sturdy as a tree trunk!    Totally stymied as to why this happened, i did a little research.

Turns out, over the past decade various cosmos strains have been introduced to grow sometimes taller (or shorter) plants.  If variants of these hybridizing processes get mixed up in the same seed packet, the result is a more diverse garden than you’d otherwise expect.  Ironically, the original wild Cosmos flowers were MUCH taller than the ones seen in our lifetime.  As they say, maybe everything old IS new again?

My inquiring mind really wants to know!

So, as this year’s specimens died back, I collected as many seed heads as i could.  I’ve started re-sowing in the past few weeks, and will let you know how the next “crop” turns out!

Since we’ve been talking “orange/yellow plants”,  I’ll close this out with a picture I took this morning–

Cannas Thru the Citrus

Cannas Thru the Citrus

until next time!