Good description of floatation and soil germination

kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)February 12, 2013

I was poking around the internet and found an Aussie site with good instructions for starting seeds. Very timely hints as many of us have seed pods ripening. Just realize their seasons by month are reversed from the Northern Hemisphere.

Here is a link that might be useful: Floatation and germiniation hints

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I've seen this site before and they've updated it since I was last there. I was always intrigued by Stellar Lace.
I too find the floatation method works best for me and I have tried both ways.

I had such poor luck with my first batch of seedlings this season, I'm wondering if there is something wrong with my water? I think I am going to try bottled water the next time. Am wondering if fluoride has any effect on the germination of seeds. They are always changing wells in our town and sometimes the water has a different smell to it..and we do have fluoridated water... Donna

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:28PM
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bunnynomnom(zone 10a)

I've tried the flotation method for these 50 seeds I bought from Ebay (big and viable), but it's been a week and most of the seeds just sink to the bottom of my 3-inch glass baking pan with nothing germinating. I had the seeds next to the window with lots of direct light (a mistake) and also added root growth hormone powder. I know it may takes up to 2 weeks or more for seeds to germinate, but if they sink, what does that mean? In another post, someone seems to say to try the soil method for folks in warmer climate (mine is 10a), so can I still put these soaked seed into some coconut coir? Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:55AM
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amaryllisfred(6b Cambridge MA)

Hi Donna & Bunny,

I also got some nice fat seeds from Ebay and I tried the flotation method, but they turned slimey and rotted so I wondered the same thing about our water. I have even tried rain water from my rail barrel, but no luck. After that I switched to my old stand-by soil less mix (Promix 70% & Horticultural Vermiculite 30%) and I've had good results. The only difference is that I made a little furrow for each seed and planted them side-ways. They seem to like this better and the root knows to instinctively grow downwards despite the "un-natural" position.

Warm Regards,

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 12:32PM
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Last year I had no problem germinating seeds in water. But this year since my first batch was more or less a total loss the next time I am going to stagger them in batches of about 7 or so. I am going to try bottled water on one batch and our water on another simultaneously, maybe rain water also.

I don't think I would put anything in the water until they have a root at least an inch long, and, as I'm sure you know, keep them out of the sun and change the water every 4 or 5 days.

You might try soaking the seeds for just about 5 or 10 minutes in a weak hydrogen peroxide solution (I do that for clivia seeds for about 1 hr) it's either 2 parts water and 1 part hydrogen peroxide or 3 to 1, I forget. Then soak them in plain water after to which you could add a drop or two of peroxide. Seeds from the Internet may not be as fresh as you think. Don't you just hate it when they go slimy on you?

And then of course you can always plant directly in the soil as Fred and many othes do.
I've got hundreds and hundreds of 1 ro 2 yr old seedlings merrily growing along and all were soaked...Good Luck...Donna

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:26PM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

I have great luck with both floatation and soil (I prefer soil so I don't have to transplant).

I use tap water and add about 5 drops of H202 (hydrogen peroxide)...and I never change the water!

So there ya go!! Lots of different takes on how to do it. I also make the little rows that Fred does and put the seeds in sideways (think of little sails poking out through the top of th the soil).

I make my own seed starting mix. Just a bit of Miracle gro soil, lots of vermiculite and a little perlite. Light and fluffy!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:47PM
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I also got the 50 seeds of mixed species from eBay about 2 months ago. I floated them and some started sprouting in 2-3 weeks so I transferred them into the soil where one of my pachira aquatica plants was growing in. After another 2 weeks I got many green leaves coming up.

Some are over 2 inches tall now and they are forming little bulbs at the bottom. I am expecting some of them to make their 2nd leaf pretty soon. One thing about these plants is that they need to be kept moist. They don't need that much light to grow well either as mine only get filtered light from a south facing window.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:09PM
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These were both sown ten days ago, H. psittacinum.
Left, water. Right, vermiculite.
Both work but I tend to use verm with seeds of highest importance to my goals.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 2:08PM
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I'd say only use glass for the water method.
New vermiculite and baggie each time.
Clean viable fresh seed, empty or dead seeds molder in about two days.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 2:27PM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

How long do you leave the Baggie on? I bet that keeps them moister and nearly eliminates the daily or EOD watering!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 7:45PM
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The verm is damp not wet, if too much moisture seems to build-up I might leave the zip un-done for a day or two.
Also, if accident prone... well, self contained at the least.
Baggie stays on.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 12:06PM
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kaboehm (zone 9a, TX USA)

I found that the cup-holder-sized gum containers made of translucent HDPE are good for starting seeds. Clear to let light in, and top both unscrews and/or pops up. I started many seeds successfully in these last year. While the sides are not "glass clear" you can see the seeds and developing roots through them.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 12:34PM
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