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Thread: Seeds....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
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    Seeds....

    I have been thinking about this for quite some time....

    I see the seed packet displays at the store, so I know people are buying seeds. But it seems that no one is growing them!

    Every year, millions of bedding plants are sold here, and that is all that you see in the landscapes. The same old, same old annuals and perennials.

    Shepp has caught on to the advantage of growing perennials from seeds, and he is obviously quite successful at it...

    What is it keeps people from growing from seed, harvesting them and growing more?

    You see, I ask this because seeds were my first venture into the plant world. No one taught me plants or how to grow them when I was a child. I just always liked them, so bought a few packages of seeds and tried. They were French Marigolds and Zinnias.

    I was working and living at the University at the time, and going to school full time as well. I only had a small planter box in front of the house that I rented. But I was hooked!

    Any thoughts as to why people aren't willing to grow from seed?

    Here's a beautiful example, a plant that I bought as a tiny thing that produced more seed that I have harvested and started more...

    It's a Toad Lily, very pretty and exotic looking, very hardy perennial, blooms around August here, but needs shade.... You can see the seed pods on the right. The plant is beautiful in form, even without the blooms.



    Any thoughts?

    P.S. If this is a boring thread, I will delete it... But obviously, it is something that has been on my mind!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Newport, RI/Richmond, RI
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    I can think of a bunch of reasons why people don't grow plants from seed. Providing enough light, enough water, not too much water, the right temps., keeping bad fungi and bacterium off the plants, thinning, potting, re-potting, fertelizing, hardening off, and planting, just to get 400 scrawny, scrubby pansies, when you only need 30. Of course, if you were going to all that trouble, you would most certainly just plant seeds of the hard to find things, but the example is still the same. One year, I tried to start all my plants from seed to save a few dollars. For me a few dollars worth of plants, is actually more like $50 or $100. I wanted to start things that I couldn't find. I did a bunch of herbs, disease resistant tomatoes, and various annual and perennial flowers. I had way more than I needed, so I told all my friends and relatives that I had these plants, so I could give most of my babies a home. Of course, everyone forgot that I mentioned it. My mother-in-law took a couple tomatoes and a few herbs, and I planted what I needed. Net result, I ended up composting 75% of my babies, wasted all the electricity to keep the flourescent lights on, wasted all the extra money keeping the house at germ. temps., and used one whole room of the house for a couple months. In the end, I ended up having only the hard to find stuff for my garden, and found myself wanting more color and variety, so I ended up going and buying $50 worth of plants anyway. Would I do it again? Being an insane plant guy... Yes!!! I think the primary reason most people don't plant seeds is that they want that instant gratification. That's why they buy (up here, anyway) impatients, gerraniums, marrigolds, tomatoes, and, of course, panies. That is the same reason why people will go out and buy a 5' tree instead of an 18" whip. Also, people are creatures of habit. For as long as I can remember, my grandmother has insisted on red gerraniums in her window boxes, yellow marrigolds along her walk, and salvia, and petunias in her front beds. There isn't much point to growing from seed when you can go to one of hundreds of nurseries, all selling the same things. For a few bucks, you can cover your gardens with flowers. Throw in a few rhododendrons and a hydrangea or two, and plant some daffodils and crocus in the fall and you have a garden seen all over this area. If you want it to look "professional" you might throw in some junipers and a euonymous, and maybe a Jap. Maple for good measure. Ok, now I feel like I really starting to rant and rave. Anyway, for those who are in the business, it seems like it can't get any better. You sell what people want and you grow what you can sell. You know what will sell, because you know what people buy every year.

    Ok, in conclusion... Seeds are for the birds, and those of us who want two of every plant that ever existed anywhere. You know who you are. Those of you can look thru a plain-text, black-and-white, no-picture plant/seed catalog and "see" plants you like and want to grow. Those of you who go looking for a source for something that only has a latin name or has never been cultivated ever before... Those of you who have planted a tree that doesn't bear seeds for 30 years, but you are planting the tree for its seeds. You know who you are. Ok, that's a long enough post.

    Bill Gauch.

  3. #3
    This last winter I tried a technique called winter sowing.
    All I did was fill some flats with soil. sow the seeds and let them sit outside all winter.
    The freeze thaw cycle stratified and then germinated them beautifully.
    I read about it on gardenweb.com
    I sowed about a dozen flats of perennials including:
    astilbe
    foxglove
    coreopsis
    gallardia
    goatsbeard
    anemone
    purple coneflower
    coral bells
    and even
    Toad Lilly (just like Ann's pic)

    The benefits were no damping off, no flourescent lights, no hardening off.
    But it is still a lot more work than just buying a flat of plants.
    I don't think it is worth it at all to start annuals from seed - way to much work for one growing season.
    Perrenials on the other hand might be pretty cost effective.
    Especially if you collect your own seeds.

    just my opinion

    Kevin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    northeast Tennessee
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    I agree, people don't start seed because they want instant gardens full of color.Plus they are lazy and don't know the joy of seeing seed sprout and grow to be a beautiful flower. People also stay way to busy working and doing all that other stuff we have to do. We are seeing a big rise in perennials so they won't have to go to Wally world every spring and buy and plant annuals. But they miss so much by starting seed of some of the flowers you can't buy at the big boxes and garden centers.
    The winter sowing soundslike something to try since We grow so many perennials and want to expand that line greatly for next year.
    tennessee sue

  5. #5

    I love to plant seeds well mostly.....

    except wave petunias and ornamental grass,,,wasted money on both...had good success with everything else

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    upstate NY zone 4
    Posts
    40
    I too enjoy propagating from seed. I tried lavender again this year, and with the greenhouse open I have managed about 50% germination. I also tried several types of ornamental grasses and sedges with good success. Finally, to round out this years plantings I have purple coneflower, shasta daisy and painted daisy. everything is doing well but the fact that my day job is only two blocks away helps me to manage the greenhouse. I still do not have my electric or plumbing in yet. Once I am satisfied that I have learned the techniques and control of my greenhouse environment I will expand my plantings.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Texas ... a few miles N of Houston
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    23

    clematis seeds

    Ann:

    As I was soil layering my one and only Clematis vine today, I looked where the blooms were and there are a bunch of small hair-like projections. What will the seeds look like and will they germinate?
    Dr. Jim Rhodes
    Zone 8
    SE Texas

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
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    Jim,

    I have read that you can germinate the seed, and the verdict is still out on whether mine will produce seeds. I am in awe with the swirling attachments that were once flowers. They are are not quite as colorful as the blooms, but quite interesting to see!

    I have not grown clematis from seed, but I am anxiously waiting to see if seeds form. The bees certainly have been working on the flowers, so I wouldn't be surprised!

    Jim, this is a totally new plant to me, and I thank Kathypat for encouraging me to try them....

    I'll try to get some pictures as time goes by on report on my learnings....
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    The Verdict is IN!!!!

    Here are the seeds from one of the first clematis that bloomed for me, the double blossomed 'Multi-Blue'....




    I will try planting these soon using the ziploc bag, 'greenhouse' approach under fluorescent lights. I have been told that some are slow to germinate, but I tend to be patient when it comes to seeds. This particular variety does not appear to have a hard coat, so perhaps they will not take as long.

    Since these are so very similar to Gerbera seeds, I suspect they are not viable for very long.

    Also, since I didn't not hand pollinate these, they will definitely be a hybrid. I can't wait to see....

    I'll let you know how it goes.....

    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  10. #10
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    Aug 2001
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    Oh, I almost forgot....

    There are more seed pods, but they didn't remove with a gentle touch like these did, so I don't think they were quite ready....
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Central Indiana Zone 5a
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    Ann and All,

    I have a Sweat Autum Clematis (Clematis terniflora) that produces very viable seed, so much so that I am constantly pulling up the small seedlings from places they don't belong!

    Having said that, I would suggest you plant you clematis seed in the fall and just barely cover them, then let nature take her course. I am almost certain they requier stratification in order to sprout, so you could refridgerate them, or even freeze them for a couple of months and then try growing either in a greenhouse or under lights.

    Come to think of it, I have a couple of film canisters with Clematis seed in them that have been in the fridge since last summer, hum, maybe I ought to ferret them out of the box of seed-filled canisters as see if they'll sprout!

    Here's a link that might be helpfull:http://www.floridata.com/ref/C/clem_ter.cfm


    Rebecca

  12. #12
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    Aug 2001
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    Thanks, Rebecca!

    I have heard that some varieties have a harder, more well formed seed coat than others.

    I have also read that some take as long as 2-3 months or more to germinate.

    I can tell by the pictures of some seed that I have seen that the seed can vary greatly amongst the different varieties.

    Keep us posted on how yours do....

    Thanks, Again!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Texas ... a few miles N of Houston
    Posts
    23

    Ziplock 'greenhouse'

    Ann:

    I do not know of nor understand the ziplock "greenhouse" thing you talked about. Will you please elaborate on it?
    Dr. Jim Rhodes
    Zone 8
    SE Texas

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Jim.

    Basically, with the ziploc greenhouse, I have a couple of approaches. With some seeds. I will use moist tissues enclosed in a ziploc. The technique is describend in the follow section on the main pages of Landspro, just click on the following link:

    Landspro - Tunicate Bulbs from Seed

    For some seeds, I will use the soiless mixture in a ziploc bag approach. It is described in the following section:

    Landspro - Daylily from Seed

    For smaller seeds, I simply use small plug sized tray cells, and I enclose the whole tray in a plastic pillowcase that I make out of clear greenhouse plastic and clear mailing tape. I use a thin wire to make sure the plastic does not touch the tips of the seedlings.

    In all cases, I place the bags under fluorescent ligths that I have set up on racks in a little make shift propagating room.

    If you have any more questions, please let me know. I will be happy to try to explain....

    This type of technique is generally referred to as the 'greenhouse effect' and there are many ways of creating that effect. It is important, however, that if you use an enclosed environment such as this that your soil media be sterile. Otherwise, you may have many other unwanted seedlings growing in addition to the ones you are trying to grow!

    Again, please feel free to ask questions.....
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
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    These are the seeds from one of the other Clematis... Very different from the first that I showed.

    I suspect that this is one of those that they say needs stratification as it appears to be forming a stronger outer protective coat.

    It's not a great picture. The sun was really bright today, and even though these are now in filtered shade, the nearby sun glares....

    You can definitely see the difference in the seed, though. I will take more pictures as these ripen....



    Till Later!

    P.S. That little fuzzy, squiggly looking thing on the left is what I refer to as a 'tassle'. It bears the pollen on the pecan trees and right now, my yard is filled with them!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast


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