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Thread: Sowing Drosera species

  1. #1

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    I know everyone has read the prior post on the importance of a clean medium. Now that the substrate is ready for the seeds, all that remains is the careful sowing of them. The seeds I sent all were stored cold and are ready for sowing without any additional need for stratification.

    I sow the seeds by carefully rolling or tapping them off a folded sheet of white paper. Sow them on, not in, the medium. The seed must not be covered. Remember as they roll off, each has the potential to become a plant, and try not to over sow your seeds. 25 seeds is a good planting, and after attrition you should still have all the plants you will need. Try to drop each seed by intent, not by chance, and keep the spout of the paper moving around. It is easy to roll them to the center of the pot, but try not to focus there, rather more toward the rim. Seeds will make it to the center all on their own with little help from you. Its harder to sow them toward the rim, so concentrate. Immediately label the pot. I suggest marking directly on the pot, not the ziplock bag. This is a *very* important detail. Do not wait, do it immediately or you will get confused over time with the potential of spreading this confusion exponentially to other growers if you make an error. This caution applies to “expert” growers as well as “newbies”: No one is immune, and I have received misidentified material from many respected sources. This is one way that mistake can happen. If you do lose a label, you will have a 6 month wait to know what you are growing, and will also have an adventure in taxonomy trying to figure out what you have!

    The label should contain as much data as is possible. Do not use marker pens, laundry pens, or any ink that is not India ink. A soft lead pencil is much better. Ink fades and washes away. Make sure the label sits well into the medium, or bury it at a corner of the pot if you dont like the look of it sticking out. All collection data regarding locality, elevation is very valuable information and should be retained, as there is considerable variation in droserae populations. I also mark the date the seed was sown, along with the scientific binomial or cultivar name if applicable. Keep a record of where the particular seed came from, in case there is need to correct an ID, or other communication is needed. I use a code that refers me back to a notebook entry containing this information.

    Once the sowing done, I generally ziplock the pot in a bag, with maybe 1 cm pure water at the bottom.. I zip the bag shut, and place it in indirect light. You want to keep the light levels low until you note germination. Light at this stage of things only encourages algal growth, and the seeds do not require it for germination. Don’t place them under the lights if you can possibly avoid this. I use no subsequent water until germination is noted, unless there are evident signs of drying of the medium. Seed does not have to be in a soaking wet medium, just moist. I never spray the medium since this often washes the seed away and buries it.

    The time until germination will vary according to species from 2 weeks to 2 years. You must be patient, and not give up if the plants do not appear. Keep the bag as long as you can afford a bit of space for it somewhere. I have had Brazillian species appear after a years wait. Petiolaris complex plants germinated after 6 months. D. glanduligera and D. arcturi took close to 2 years. There is no excitement that compares to seeing a forest of seedlings when you had long given up any real hope. There is *always* hope, provided the culture is not overgrown with moss and algae (see the prior topic on preparing the mix for details on this, and how to avoid it)

    After a long wait, if nothing appears I usually retain the original labels, but I resow the pot with seed from other genera, with a new label. There can always be surprises, and I hate to waste anything. By this time the culture will have proved itself free of algal or bryophyte contamination, and is a good bet for valuable seed of another genera, since there will be no further worries of contamination. For this reason I like to prepare my medium as far in advance of sowing as possible: it gives time for potential problems to appear

    Temps of even 70F with little night time drop will facilitate germination in most species, the exception being the winter growing Australian and African species. Some possible places to keep seed is atop the fridge, on the stove top if you have gas pilot lights, sitting above the ballast on fluorescents. I have gone so far as to put a pot on top of my computer monitor, but be SURE there is no drip!

    Once germination is noted, plants should immediately be placed close beneath fluorescents. Be wary of exposing the seedlings to direct sunlight too quickly, although this is to be encouraged over time, along with a gradual lessening of humidity. I leave the seedlings sealed for a week after germination, then I crack the seal for longer and wider periods over time. Once the bag can safely remain totally open, I transfer the pot to tray watering and begin normal culture under strong light indoors, or direct sun outdoors (with appropriate screening until acclimization is reached)here in Upstate New York.

    My best wishes to you all. Happy sowing.



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  2. #2
    Moderator Colieo's Avatar
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    Hey, GREAT ARTICLE! I noticed that you noted D. glanduligera and D. arcturi took 2 yrs ( wow! ) to germinate, and I wondered if glanduligera needs stratification like arcturi does?

    Thanks for the article!
    Cole
    Duele no tenerte cerca, duele no escuchar tu voz. Duele respirar tu ausencia, pero, duele más decirte adiós.

  3. #3

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    Hi Cole,

    Speaking from my single experience, I would say that a long but unfrozen wet stratification might work. I think about the same as for germinating Sarracenia seed. I sowed the seed, and placed the whole ziplocked affair in the fridge for half a year, bringing it into production in the late summer to early fall. It is a difficult subject for sure, good luck to you!
    "Grow More, Share More"

  4. #4
    Moderator Colieo's Avatar
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    I will go ahead and try it and keep you posted.

    Cole
    Duele no tenerte cerca, duele no escuchar tu voz. Duele respirar tu ausencia, pero, duele más decirte adiós.

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