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Re: Re:Re: HYB: pod ripening/germination

  • Subject: Re: Re:Re: HYB: pod ripening/germination
  • From: "John Bruce" <jbruce1@cinci.rr.com>
  • Date: Thu, 18 Jun 2009 14:02:52 -0400

I don't know why everyone goes to all this trouble for iris seeds. I have been hybridizing irises since 1994. I let the pods begin to turn tan and start to wrinkle a bit, and then harvest and shell them. The seeds dry in paper cups or paper envelopes. I used to plant them in late December and let the pots set outside in the rain, snow and cold, and always saw sprouts in mid-April. The last few years I always seem to be too busy and/or cold resistant to fool with them until mid-March. I plant them in gallon (or smaller) pots, set them outside and water them once befoer I let mother nature take over. I still get the same germination that I got before, about 60% on average. Some crosses do better, a few do not do until year two, and a few never do. I always find that those that do not germinate or germinate poorly have a lot of empty seed husks or squishy seeds, and have always assumed that these seeds were either defective from the start or experienced a freeze after a too-eaarly germination. Strangely enough, I never lack for iris seedlings to fill all existing space.

I live in Southwest Ohio, where there is plenty of rain, lots of cold, and winter seems to go from December until April. Germination seems to peak when night time temps are in the upper 50s and slows rapidly as things warm up. I tried the soaking thing two seasons and got no better results. From what I have read from the burrito experiments, I see no better results.

If you are looking for earlier bloom, pot the seedlings in 4" pots when they are a couple of inches tall and feed them weekly with a liquid fertilizer. You can get by with this because growing kids are hungry, and watering every other day will leach out excess fertilizer. Plant them in early August in the ground...keep the weeds out. You will get bloom in the second and sometimes first year after germination.

Just my .02 worth.

John Bruce
Zone 5b, SW OH
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