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Thread: Pollination timing and other seed related ?

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    swords's Avatar
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    Hi folks, it looks like the N. aristolochioides x thorelii will have it's first flowers open by Wed/Thursday and the N. Miranda male flowers are just begining to open but not yet open up their pollen sacs.

    Since I've never done this procedure before is there an optimal time for pollinating like immediately after opening or the evening of the day they open? People say Nep flowers stink so I would assume when the scent is strongest the flowers are most receptive but I couldn't smell anything from the N. fusca but it was male, are only female flowers "smelly"?

    Does anyone have any idea how long it takes the ovaries to mature? I've seen pictures of opened Nep seed pods but are they dehissant (exploding open) or do they just slowly crack open as the ovaries decay?

    Is better sowing achieved through "green seed" or fully mature seed?

    Since I have no TC setup any seed I sow will be done the natural way on a bed of living sphagnum. However, I do have some different TC plantlet supplements onhand (flytrap, cape sundew, terrestrial orchid and epiphytic orchid mixes by Phytotech Labs). Do you think measuring out a minute dose and misting it on the seedlings would be of benefit or just inspire unstoppable algae growth?


    Thanks for wading through this! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]

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    Hi Josh,
    We have successfully made pollinations and raised seedlings several times here in sunny south Florida. Not all Nep flowers are smelly, and it seems to make no difference between male and female. Right now we have a male (spectabilis x ventricosa) just finishing, and it never had a scent, but the whole greenhouse is permeated by the sweet, citrus-like aroma of 'Miranda' pitchers.
    We wait until the male flower is open and set, about one day, and then pick the flower off the inflorescence and rub the pollen onto the stigma of the female. One male flower is generally good for 3-5 female flowers. The next day, Michelle will often repeat the process, using a fresh male flower on the same female flowers. Personally, I don't like mixing two different males on one female spike, but sometimes you have no choice. When I met Goodale Moir, a pioneer orchid breeder many years ago, he told me that he believes two different males(pollen donors) used on the same female (pod bearer)bloom spike affects the pollination, and that there is some cross-over. This is not scientifically verified, but was based on his own observations when making his famous Oncidium intergenerics.
    The seed pods typically take several months to mature. You will know if you have successful pollination within a couple of weeks as the pods start swelling.. We pick the pods just as they start to crack, and pull the seeds out from the chafe on a piece of white paper. We sow the seeds on milled sphagnum moss and peat. Live sphag can overtake the seedlings-it grows faster than they do. We use no chemicals on the seedlings-no vitamin b, no hormones-we let nature take its course. As the seedlings grow up, the runts will die off or go nowhere as the superior clones grow forward and prove their stuff.
    Hope this is helpful.

    Trent

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    swords's Avatar
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    Much thanks for the info Trent! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]

    Also, I will forego the living sphagnum then too. At the moment I don't own any fungicides or insecticides, would I need to gather any of these products to use on seedlings? I don't use any chemicals normally but those highlander seed trials on the ICPS page said all seedlings were treated with something for fungal protection. But if they're sown on sphagnum I wouldn't think it would be necessary since it supposedly has initial anti-fungal properties.

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    hi Josh,
    We never have fungal problems with Nepenthes, both seedlings and mature plants. Our environment is very open with lots of air turnover. Still, we don't expose the Nep seedlings to this environment until the are about six months old-give or take. We sow the seed in plastic trays half filled with the peat-milled sphag. The trays are then covered with saran wrap and kept in a semi shaded area. Germination can be immediately or months later-it's strange. The saran wrap is gradually peeled back over a few weeks to acclimate the babies to the greenhouse environment.
    Trent

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    Sorry to jump in on you Josh.

    Trent,

    Do you germinate the seeds at the same temperature range as the parent plant/s, or give them something warmer and more stable? For example if seeds are collected from a highland plant, would you keep the saran wrapped seed tray in the same enclosure?

    Thanks

    Aaron.

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    swords's Avatar
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    Not a problem Aaron! It's the same question about sowing and seedling temps I had in mind but had forgotten to ask!

    That's good to hear how you germinate seed Trent since I was planning to use all these unused jiffy "greenhouses" the kind with clear lids.

    Yes, I have only had fungus one time when there was not good enough air movement. I was just curious about "preventative medicine" since the article I'd read stated all seedlings were treated not just some, so I was wondering if there was a huge loss of germinated seedlings due to fungus.

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    Good morning, Gentlemen,
    We germinate the seed in the same temperature range as the parents.
    If I were to use a fungicide on Nep seedlings, I would use something topical, like Captan. We use it on Sarracenia seedlings, because they are very prone to damp-off. On mature plants we use a systemic, either Cleary's or Fungo. I once used Physan on Neps as a protective-preventative spray on the leaves, but they really disliked it. Lost some pitchers and had leaf burn for weeks afterward. I used it at the same dilution I use on our Paphiopedilums. Will not do that again!

    Trent

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    I do have some Captan under the sink (I used it once a couple years ago as a VFT bulb dusting when I tried to store them in the fridge over winter). I will probably just let the Nep seedlings go naturally and only mist-treat them if I see anything dubious starting to happen.

    Thanks for all the advice Trent - you will be rewarded sometime soon... hopefully! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]

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