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seedlings from frozen seeds

  • Subject: seedlings from frozen seeds
  • From: "Donald Eaves" <donald@eastland.net>
  • Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 19:42:51 -0600

This pot of seedlings growing now came from seeds grown in spring 2005. I
didn't plant them that year and they sat around until I planted my choices
from the year. After that, these were stored in a pill container in the
freezer until I took them out this summer and burritoed them in the fridge
for about 3 mos. and then planted them in the pot. These happen to be TB
seedlings and here the germination is very good. For convenience, I store
dried iris seed in the freezer if I don't plant them the same year (you
don't have to dust inside the freezer) :). Germination is as variable as it
is with seeds planted that have never been frozen. Some crosses don't
germinate, some germinate erratically over a period of time. This year I
planted 9 pods stored in the freezer from prior seasons. Three have
seedlings. The one in the photo germinated within a two week period (22
plants!), but the other two germinated a couple of seedlings with these,
then have continued to send up the occasional plant (4 new ones this week).
Of the others, one was a damaged pod that I didn't want to keep storing and
had low expections for seeing germination. Another was a pod with only 4
seeds and often pods with low seed counts don't yield a plant. The
remaining 4 pods were done later, so they have been subject to the colder
outside weather and germination may be delayed, but three of those crosses
have been planted in prior years from same season seeds - some from multiple
pods - and gave no germination or, in one case, only a single plant. The
frozen seeds are likely to duplicate that unfortunate pattern.

This is mainly in response to a thread on iris-talk. I store them this way
for convenience, but having found germination to be about the same as from
seeds not frozen, it does seem a convenient method to keep them fresher
longer - maybe. I really have no idea how long they'd keep frozen. I do
think freezing seeds might be risky unless they are thouroughly dry before
putting them into the deep freeze.

Donald Eaves
Texas Zone 7b, USA

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