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.
>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
> 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
> 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.
>Mississauga, Ontario Canada zone6b
>Director, Canadian Iris Society
>Newsletter Editor, Canadian Iris Society
Mike Rosenzweig, Ph. D.