Liverwort on seed pots

Just wondering if anyone has a sure fire method of stopping liverwort and fern babies from invading my pots of seeds. Just tried, probably very unsuccessfully, to disentangle some tiny (and not growing) Saxifrage seedlings from the scourge. I have some more Saxifrage seeds which need sowing, but there is no point if the babies are going to be totally covered in liverwort etc.


  • Hortum-cretaeHortum-cretae Posts: 969

    Grow your seedlings through a light layer of vermiculite or grit. Keeping the top of the compost dry prevents the liverwort getting a hold.


  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,805

    My pots are always covered in either grit, fine ground up ceramic material or vermiculite and they always get the liverwort problem. Ones covered in vermiculite are often the worse affected ones. Most of the seeds I sow need to be out over winter as well. The quicker growing Spring sown stuff is usually pricked out before the liverwort gets too bad. Some of the 2 years old seed pots have ferns growing in them,

    Last edited: 19 May 2017 15:39:25

  • Dave HedgehogDave Hedgehog Posts: 377

    Liverwort and ferns reproduce from spores so if there are either of these pests growing nearby, they could always be a menace by being blown in by the wind.

    One big problem is Saxifrage seeds like very similar conditions to the two assailants: cool, damp and shaded. Where did the seeds germinate i.e. outdoors in pots, in a shed/ garage etc?

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,805

    Outside in the seed frame, no lid as they do need cold and it saves me having to spend hours watering them. The garden is full of ferns and liverwort. Another suggestion was only to water with tap water rather than rain water.

  • Dave HedgehogDave Hedgehog Posts: 377

    Most spores are practically microscopic so with an open-topped frame plus lots of Liverworts and Ferns sending spores out in your garden, your chances of success may be limited as mesh won't stop spores from being blown or washed in.

    By all means, water with tap water to see how it goes. Maybe the chlorine content will kill some spores?

    Other than that, am running out of ideas. Propagators will obviously increase temperatures but reduce watering and potential spore infestations, and if kept in a cool, dark place until germination, there is a remote possibility.... maybe image

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,805

    No one ever mentions this on Gardening programmes when they show seed sowing of things that need stratification. I remember years back Toby Buckland (I think it was) making a sand plunge. He made no mention at all of the fact that within a few weeks the surface would be green with liverworts and fern reproducing bodies. Or at least the sand in my cuttings frame is. Even a 1 percent bleach solution has no effect, nor does watering it with baby bottle sterilising fluid.

    Thanks anyway.

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