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Re: Germinating iris seeds

Thanks for the info.


At 05:04 AM 6/23/96 -0600, you wrote:
>Mike Rosenzweig, Ph. D. wrote:
>> I am trying to hybridize for the first time.  I have collected some seed
>> What do I do now -- with the seeds that is???????
>> Any help would be greatly appreciated.
>Chris responds:
>Plant them and they might grow, don't plant them and for sure they won't 
>Seriously now, read the following info that was published in the CIS 
>Newsletter July 1995 issue. It should help you out. Good luck.
>Germinating Iris Seeds
>by John Coble and Bob Bauer
>	We have always (since 1982) germinated our Japanese and Siberian 
>iris seed indoors. From some of our first experiments with this 
>technique we had 80-100 % germination. With favourable weather we were 
>planting 8-12" seedlings in May with the first fan increases seen in 
>July and in some crosses 100% bloom the following year. Our most 
>vigorous seedling produced 8 bloomstalks on a one year plant!
>	Our main reason for germinating seed indoors is to gain one year 
>on first bloom and thus one year on evaluation. most important is the 
>elimination of unworthy seedlings and freeing garden space for another 
>crop of seedlings. This does become important with an annual crop 
>planting of 1000-1500 seedlings.
>	We collect our seed pods when ripe and starting to split, 
>usually early September. The seeds are stored in paper envelopes-but for 
>no more than a month. Be sure to shell your seed pods and search for and 
>kill any worms. As soon as all seeds are collected, the seeds of each 
>cross should be wrapped in pantyhose material (maybe cheesecloth would 
>do).  These little tied up bundles are then put in a large bowl and 
>covered with water - a saucer on top to hold the bundles down. The water 
>should be drained and changed every day for at least two weeks. This 
>soaking and rinsing treatment is to remove the seed germination 
>inhibitor present in the seed or seed coat. Outdoors, the fall rains and 
>melting snow in winter do the same thing over a 3 to 4 month period.
>	After the final rinse the seeds are covered with a 10 % solution 
>of bleach for 1/2 hour. (10% solution created by mixing 1 part bleach 
>with 10 parts water) Pour off the beach solution and rinse quickly with 
>water a couple of times. Then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and 
>secure with a rubber band (do not seal with an air tight lid) or we 
>transfer the tied bundles to a plastic bag and secure them with a twist 
>tie. The bleach treatment is to reduce the mould population that will 
>want to grow on the wet seeds during the next stage, which is 
>refrigeration (stratification).
>	The wet rinsed bundles in bowl or bag now need to be 
>refrigerated for 12 to 14 weeks. Fewer than 12 weeks will find fewer 
>seeds germinating. After the 12 weeks refrigeration the bowl or bag can 
>be removed to room temperature (kept closed and moist). Some seeds may 
>have already germinated in the refrigerator but most will start after 
>the third day at room temperature. After the third day, we get more 
>germination if the seeds are warmed to 90-100 degrees F. for 1/2 to 1 
>hour each day. You can set your covered bowl of bundles in another bowl 
>of hot water and let the seeds gradually warm up and cool back down. We 
>fill the bowl of bundles with warm tap water, let sit until room 
>temperature and then drain off the water until the next heat treatment 
>the following day.
>	Tall bearded irises and day lily seeds are handled the same way 
>through the soaking and refrigeration stages but not the warm water 
>treatment after refrigeration. Bearded irises germinate best at 55 
>degrees F.
>	Once your seeds start germinating handle them as best fits your 
>needs and situation. This will depend on the number of seeds that you 
>are handling, the size of your house and those you share the house with!
>	At about the fifth or sixth day at room temperature we open each 
>bundle and remove the germinated seed to plastic cups half filled with 
>wet sand and cover with plastic wrap. (separate cup for each cross) We 
>continue this every other day for about a week. The ungerminated seed 
>can then be returned to the refrigerator for a minimum of two more weeks 
>and then the room temperature heat treating treatment repeated.
>	The germinated seed can be potted whenever you want. The other 
>ideal of this system is that only germinated seed are planted. No trays 
>of empty cubes from ungerminated seed. We raise the germinated seed on 
>wet sand in plastic cups near a window. When we have sufficient number 
>of seedlings with green shoots about one inch tall we transplant them 
>with tweezers to seedling trays filled with a soilless seedling potting 
>mix. The trays are set about six inches below fluorescent lights; 
>ideally the bulbs are about 1 to 2 inches above the tips of the plants. 
>We use cool white bulbs and run the light 24 hours a day. We raise the 
>lights until the plants are 8-10 inches tall. 
>	Then we let the seedlings grow to the lights and start mowing 
>off the tips every couple of weeks as they grow into the lights. We 
>fertilize every two weeks with a Miracid solution of one teaspoon per 
>gallon of water.
>	Hopefully by mid-May the danger of frost is past and the 
>seedlings can be hardened off outside for a week in the shade and 
>gradually moved to full sun.  Watch these tender plants,  they  will 
>probably need watering every other day while outside,  every day in the 
>	Line out your seedlings in good organic rich soil and keep them 
>watered all summer their first year (and mulched). The next spring you 
>will have bloom. 
>Edited from AIS Region 6 Newsletter, January 1995 issue. Coble and Bauer 
>run Ensata Gardens in Michigan state and have introduced many new 
>varieties of Siberian and Japanese irises. With climatic conditions 
>nearly identical to what we have here in most of Canada, their 
>tips/hints on growing iris seedlings should be very helpful to most of 
>our readers across Canada. 
>Christopher Hollinshead
>Mississauga, Ontario  Canada  zone6b
>Director, Canadian Iris Society
>Newsletter Editor, Canadian Iris Society
>e-mail: cris@netcom.ca
Mike Rosenzweig, Ph. D.


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