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Thread: Interesting seed germination instructions

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    Interesting seed germination instructions

    One more Nepenthes seed germination guide. This one is unique, but if you know Dave Evans, you know this really works for him. He would not recommend something he has not tried.
    Cheers,

    Joe


    Dear Nepenthes Cultivators,


    Nepenthes start their lives as extremely small babies. This letter is
    intended to help you be more successful at growing _Nepenthes_ from seed to
    their juvenile or rosette stage, which most everyone is familiar with.

    The seeds should be stored in dry conditions, until sown.

    The soil needs to be light and fluffy, well draining, yet it should be able
    hold some water. The easiest mixture I have found for _Nepenthes seedlings_
    follows: four parts perlite, four parts dried long fiber _Sphagnum_ moss
    chopped up, one to two parts charcoal, and one to two parts peat moss. The
    size of the particles should be the smallest possible. Take care not to
    expose yourself to the dust which can be stirred up from the perlite and
    other dry soil components by wetting while still in the bag (also you can
    use a fiber glass/dry wall dust mask to help avoid the dust). Moisten and
    mix the components together. Break up, any and all clumps; try to make the
    soil as homogenized as possible. I have also started to bake the soil I use
    for _Nepenthes_ seedlings as this pasteurizes the soil to drastically cut
    down on the number of different fungus and other things from growing in the
    soil, possibly harmful to the seedlings. Also, a light dusting of sulfur
    works very well at keeping fungus away. This is important as a quickly
    growing fungus colony can make fast work of seedlings if the conditions
    favor it too much.

    There are a number of ways to proceed. The soil can be placed into sealed
    food containers, put into pots or you can use some other method you are
    happy with. I use pots, while Seam Samia uses sealed food containers. If
    you are using sealed containers, make sure the soil is moist, but not wet.
    Moist means you can only see the wetness by squeezing the soil, you should
    be able to feel the moisture, but it should not wet your hand just by
    touching it. Also, do not spray the seed with water to settle it onto the
    soil, instead just push the seed onto the moistened soil and shut the
    container. If there is too much water on the seed, in the soil, or on the
    seedling in 100% humidity it will never dry and will probably cause rot
    killing the seedling or stunting it for quite a while. Place in pure
    darkness for 10 days. That's right, no light at all.

    I use pots with the soil filled about 2/3 to the top (six inch tall pots), I
    pack the soil in, then sprinkle some unpacked soil for about an inch and
    then sprinkle the seeds onto the loose soil, trying to space them evenly. I
    use tweezers to push the seed onto the soil surface. Even into shallow
    depressions in the soil surface. You can use a spray bottle with pure water
    mixed with a couple of drops of Listerine (it kills germs, even those on the
    soil/seed) set to mist to settle the seeds into good contact with the soil,
    try not to soak. Keep the soil moist to slightly less than wet. If it is
    wet, place on news paper for a while so excess water drains. Place in a
    plastic bag and put in pure darkness for 10 days. That's right, no light at
    all.

    _Nepenthes_ seedlings germinate in fairly low light. After ten days of
    darkness, move the pots or containers to the area where you are starting the
    babies. It should be the dimmest spot in your _Nepenthes_ growing area.
    Some folks like to start their seed in 100% humidity, and this can work out
    pretty well. I have found it easier to start the seed in elevated humidity,
    at about 95% humidity. Humidity conditions lower than 100% humidity helps
    keep small plants like mosses in check; it also helps avoid problems with
    fungus; also the plants grow more compact are a little stronger. Be careful
    though, as it can be easy to dry them out. Also, make sure the humidity
    stays very high during the entire length of the seedling period.

    The seed might not germinate until some moss starts colonizing the soil
    surface, could be up to six weeks before germination starts. A neat "trick"
    to try, once five or six weeks have passed and there doesn't seem to much or
    any seedling activity, is to drastically reduce the amount of light reaching
    the soil surface for about six days. Not to total darkness, but say about
    one quarter of the previous level. Then bring it back up to the normal, yet
    rather dimmer level for seedling growth. I believe this dimming cycle
    'tricks' the seed into thinking the mosses are starting to cover the seeds
    and there is enough "soil" for the baby plants to root into. Of course,
    there is plenty of soil for them thanks to your efforts; but the plants are
    designed to survive in an environment that is eroding, patches of tiny
    plants like mosses are actually some of the only soil they have to work in
    the wild.

    Once the seed start to germinate, ovoid misting or straying the seedlings.
    They can be very delicate at first and even a fine mist can cause them to
    damp-off, especially if you are growing them in 100% humidity. The plants
    should continue to grow larger with each leaf grown and will enter the
    rosette stage in about 12 to 14 months. Some will grow better or faster
    than others. If your plantlets are nice and green, but appear to be
    stretching for light; do increase the light level slightly. As they get
    larger, they do need more light.

    Problems I have had with my seedlings:
    1) Yellowing due to too much light and/or too low humidity.
    2) Salt build up on soil due to excess salt in soil (rinsing is a good idea)
    possibly released by decay of soil components.
    3) Slow development due excessive humidity.
    4) Rotting by excess water which could not dry from the plants growing in
    100% humidity.
    5) Fungus growing from soil (especially cedar mulch component) which I
    hadn't pasteurized. Not a problem anymore.

    Any questions, please ask.


    Best of Luck,
    Dave Evans

  2. #2
    Sarracenia in another life.... rockstarcobain's Avatar
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    As weird as it might sound, this works. I tried it with the last batch of nep seeds i had, and got quite a high success rate. Don't always be so quick to say "Oh, it WON'T work!"

    I find that light is not needed to be so strong. Everyone will tell you, put the pot really close to the light, and that works too, but trust me, put it in the darkest corner of your terrarium, and slowly move it closer, if it makes you feel better. You'll be surprised to see baby neps popping out of the soil.
    It is better to burn out, than to fade away....

    Grow List
    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=108495

  3. #3

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    I asked Dave if it was okay to post this(after I did it) and he had this disclaimer:

    I think they are still in the experiemental stage. Iím not sure how helpful keeping the pots in the dark really is and am still evaluating it... Maybe put some sort of disclaimer, mentioning this is suppose help make a better class of micro-organisms on the surface of the soil for the seedling to share the pot with. Iím 90% sure those instructions are all on point. It is important for people to try different things though... People need to understand these plants are still not well known and there is plenty room for improvement where our culture of them is concerned.

    I had N. fusca and N. stenophylla(or is it officially fallax these days?) germintae once near my lights, but not under.
    Now when my family moved the baggies completely away when cleaning a little months after germination-that did not work so well, lol.

    Cheers,

    Joe

  4. #4

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    Its fallax now.

    As has been the case in the past, this is yet another topic where I disagree with Dave on...well just about everything!

    I gotta run now but I'll edit this post later with specific qualms...but honestly I can not see a high germination rate from keeping pots dark. All the pots I've had that weren't in the brightest light possible had 20% or lower (often 0% germination). All the pots I've put right on the lights have gotten 60% or higher (usually 80%) germination. Concidence? I think not.

    Ok here goes:
    Soil mix ok, baking soil ok...sulfur? WHAT? That can't be good for them...
    Moistness ok. "do not spray the seed with water blah blah push it into the soil". That is a bad idea. Spraying with water gets about 99% off the seed to stick perfectly to the soil. If you touch the seed (as he recommends), some of it is going to come off on your fingers/the tweezers, or be pushed too far into the soil, but of which will not result in germination.
    Now...he's talking about making soil wet, sealing it (no air movement) and putting it in the dark...but he's worried about fungus? Those conditions are ASKING for fungus. That grow method is literally better suited to fungus than Nepenthes seed.
    Again, putting seed in darknessis the opposite of what you should do for good germination.
    _Nepenthes_ seedlings germinate in fairly low light.
    Does anyone wonder why in the wild, germination rate is about 2%? Simple: not enough light. Some species (mirabilis etc), actually germinate best in full sun, so the above statement can't be true any way you slice it.
    Then again, more with the darkness in the next paragraph.
    is to drastically reduce the amount of light reaching
    the soil surface for about six days. Not to total darkness, but say about
    one quarter of the previous level
    I hope he is kidding. Since he already previously said to put the seeds in low light...we're talking about like...10 lumens at this point. Thats like the strength of a single candle in a large room. In other words, this isn't going to help at all.
    I believe this dimming cycle
    'tricks' the seed into thinking the mosses are starting to cover the seeds
    and there is enough "soil" for the baby plants to root into
    You know whats a better idea? Just giving them a ridiculously high amount of light in the first place. That way you wouldn't even need to use his "trick" 5 or 6 weeks later, becuase you would have germination between 2 and 4 weeks.

    Once the seed start to germinate, ovoid misting or straying the seedlings.
    They can be very delicate at first and even a fine mist can cause them to
    damp-off,
    Well then how else do you water them? I spray all my seedlings and very rarely do I lose any. Don't you think they get rainedon in the wild (they do).

    will enter the
    rosette stage in about 12 to 14 months.
    They actually start the rosette stage immediately after the cotyledons...so about 2 weeks after germinating.

    Yellowing due to too much light
    I suppose he's talking about the perlite, which is caused by the peat and/or algae. Light will NOT cause this, but its harmless anyway.

    3) Slow development due excessive humidity.
    They're slow because there isn't enough light.

    4) Rotting by excess water which could not dry from the plants growing in
    100% humidity.
    Really? Sounds to me like a symptom of having a closed container in low light. I distinctly remember saying not to do either of those in my FAQ...and I've never had that problem.

    Let me just add that neps of all sizes, with the exception of certain ones (bical, northiana, etc), will grow best in the highest light possible. I know some people that grow huge bicals in almost full sun too. More light is always appreciated (be careful with the sun though).
    Z polski y dumny
    Prayer - how to do nothing and still think you're helping.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F5aCUNE4Z8
    ^^^Newest vid

  5. #5

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    PK, I can't imagine you disagreeing with anybody.....



    N. fallax vs N. stenophylla must be along the lines of Sarracenia rosea vs S. purpurea ssp venosa 'Louis Burke.' Not everyone seems to be on the same page of agreement.
    Rob Cantley even still lists it as N. stenophylla on his site.

    Cheers,

    Joe
    Last edited by The Griffin; 07-29-2007 at 03:11 PM. Reason: adding to the post

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    Wistuba lists it as fallax, and I trust his judgement a little more (except N. flava? What was he thinking ).

    Don't even get me started on Cantley...
    Z polski y dumny
    Prayer - how to do nothing and still think you're helping.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F5aCUNE4Z8
    ^^^Newest vid

  7. #7

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    Understandable on how you feel about Wistuba, won't get an arguement from me. To each his own.
    I like to see all the opinions of the more well-known field researchers(ie Wistuba, Clarke, Cantley and Chi'en Lee). I got to meet all of them at the only ICPS conference I went to (SF, 2000).
    Andreas has had it listed as N. fallax for ...heck a long time. In fact, I used to see both names in people's growlists, lol.
    As far as sulfur for a fungicide, my choice was always Benomyl(if they still make it-do you use anything?), but a lot of people have recommended sulfur
    The dark thing works for Dave (Sean Samia and Rockstarcobain too).
    Some people across the pond like perlite/vermiculite or pure vermiculite. I knew a guy(who has been pretty ill for several years, so don't even know if he still has a collection) in Liverpool, UK who used the perlite/vermiculite with great success. Had a nice flat of veitchii x trusmadiensis there for a while.
    Your mix adds peat to that, and makes a lot of sense to me. Makes a lot of contact with the soil, so I will try that with some of the ventricosa seed I am getting. I have noticed with milled or chopped sphagnum, it takes A LOT of watering to get the seed to get good contact. I tried perlite/vermiculite with no success(well, it's been about a year). Maybe the seed was not fresh.

    Cheers,

    Joe

    PS How long you been growing CP, PK?

  8. #8

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    We have great success germinating seed in moderate light, but I would hardly call it shady. If you held your hand about one foot over the tray you would see a shadow sharp enough to distinguish spread fingers, but not a hard shadow. Mirabilis seed do take it brighter and ampullaria needs a little more shade. Dave's formula is pretty much on track based upon our experience. This darkness bit is the only thing I question, but he is experimenting so let's see what happens. Our seed go directly to greenhouse benches in their trays. Some germinate in as short a period as ten days, others have taken up to six months, with 1 to 2 months being the norm.

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