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Stratification and species tulips?

DinahDinah Posts: 294

Last year I planted a lot of woodland tulip seeds in Autumn. They came up, but they did it too soon - and then they died again when the real freeze set in.image So I'm doing the same again this year and am having a bad attack of the fumbling quivers trying to decide when to put them in. I am going to keep them chilled until the weather is warming up, but I'm going this way and that worrying when to do it. This time I'm having a go at growing three different species tulips from middle east too. I have no idea when, and for how long they would best be stratified. I have my seed-recipe soil ready and sterilised, little trays ready, a space in the fridge ready, but I still have the dithers over when. I've found conflicting information, and little of it on the internet. It seems most people are sensible and buy the bulbs instead. image


  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,877

    Sow seed when ripe, don't wait for autumn. All the tulips I've grown have germinated easily. Did they die or die back for winter?

    Tulips won't need cold treatment, they don't come from a cold climate area. 

    I'm not sensible, I'll try anything from seed.

    The rule is, sow fresh, think where they come from and replicate that.


  • DinahDinah Posts: 294

    Sounds good thinking Nutcutlet. I can and will do that with the woodland tulips next summer. The seeds I bought come dried though, and I thought they might need a winter chill if they are from mountainous regions (I think they all are, though one is from by a lake in a mountainous area) so the stratification might still be needed to wake them up.

    I'm glad I'm not alone in trying seed. I always think if the plants survive our climate from seed, they will probably do OK once established. Pre-grown bulbs don't seem to have the metal. The other thing I worry about is transporting diseases about on plants and bulbs. With seed it is less likely, which would be especially important if I'm growing imported species.

    What seeds do you most enjoy planting at this time of year?

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,877

    Hi Dinah

    Thanks for reminding me that seeds need sowing. There are aquilegias in the collection, any time now. Some have been sown fresh, germinated and are now in individual pots. Nothing stopped growing this year. The GH (cold) may explode by spring. I always sowed aquilegia fresh with success but Carrie Thomas (Touchwood) recommended January sowing which also works well and without babies to see through winter. A friend has just given me a vast collection of seed which I haven't fully examined yet. Better get on with it, could be anything in there.

    You're right about bought seed gone dormant though, it always adds a year to stuff like paeonies. Fresh seed germinates in the first year, bought seed often in the second or not at all. 

    I've been out to look at the 'pots in waiting' this morning and there's been a huge germination of Aconitum hemsleyanum. I can't remember who send me those, (forum seed swap).

    I reckon if it Ranunculaceae or Apiaceae it needs a chill. There may be exceptions but I haven't found them yet.

    I'm not very good with bulbs, I germinate them,  get fed up with them hanging around in pots, plant them out too soon and never see them againimage


  • DinahDinah Posts: 294

    I will certainly put the Aquiligia in very soon though. I can't wait to get more seeds in trays. imageimageimage I don't have that many seeds this year, because my plants have mostly flowered too late for the Bees to be busy. A perennial tick seed by the front door is flowering now. and quite a few other flowers are not fading because of the cold and the lack of pollination. There is even a Gladioli still looking glad. It is lovely to see it, but confusing.

    I am finding that the coastal South African bulbs are doing well in my garden (mine is coastal, mountainous, acid soil). Drainage seems to be the key to getting them past the teenage lethargy and rot, but there is water everywhere here for large parts of the year, so I will have to be extra careful that the tulips don't get swamped.

    I love the sound of  "pots in waiting". I do have a few pots and trays that seem to have been waiting forever. The paeony is my longest wait. I try different things on them every year - different parts of the garden, cold frame, in and out of the propagator, a rub with sandpaper, a quick freeze, a hot soak, I even tried a very quick scorching them, nothing! they still look like shiny, black beads and they still sink in water - but I think it is eight years now since I planted them, and not a sprout. image

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