How long for germination

Terry_NY(6)April 4, 2003

I have planted nine flats of seed from John Dudley, Elizabeth Town Hellebores. They were planted in late January upon receipt. I have three seeds which have a green stalk above soil line and the seed pod is dangling off each. The ones to germinate are the spotted seed, but I have double pink and Picote and Mrs. Betty Rancier (not sure on the spelling). Question is, how patinet does one have to be to see more results and when can these safely go outdoors in zone 6?

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Terry, I can't answer your question about your Zone, mine went outside immediately in January to germinate here in Z8. The anemone flowered germinated first (8 days ago) and is making a strong showing; I have just 2 or 3 each of Betty R and of double red....

What is it with these seed coats? None of the anemone flowered sprouted with them, but poor Betty has had them stuck tight for 5 days, as does double red....I hope someone will tell us if this is normal!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2003 at 11:27PM
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I am still waiting ;-((

    Bookmark   April 5, 2003 at 7:31PM
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mstrecke(z8 Seattle)

A couple of mine are comming up here in Seattle, but out of nine community pots of seed, ony about 5 seedlings are comming up :(. I planted mine last summer.


    Bookmark   April 5, 2003 at 8:47PM
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mstrecke(z8 Seattle)

Here is an older post that may awnser some of your questions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seed post

    Bookmark   April 5, 2003 at 8:59PM
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jgwoodard(USDA z7 TN)

I received the first bunch in late January and they went in the refrigerator. A couple of weeks ago I noticed they were developing roots, so I potted them up and moved them outside. They are now beginning to send up cotyledons and seem on schedule.

As for seed coats, they often "hang on" a while but normally will split completely and fall. Hellebores take their time, so have patience and they will likely be fine. Keeping the medium sufficiently moist will help soften the hard exterior.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2003 at 11:09PM
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taryn(S Ontario Z6B)

I put my baggies into the fridge as soon as I received them (the same baggies John sent them in). Moved them to warmth on March 11th, and they were starting to germ on March 20th, when I potted them up. No sprouts yet, but I know they send their roots down before the topgrowth emerges, so am not concerned.

I did note that there were only 12 seeds in the H. x hybridus 'double pink' received from John, but 52 of the H. x hybridus 'anemone pink'. Anyone else note quite a variation in number of seeds received?


    Bookmark   April 7, 2003 at 12:40AM
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Thanks everyone for your feedback, as we are expecting some 6-12" I think I will keep them in the unheated room they have been in! They are in shallow tins, as they start to get their second leaves should I transplant into larger pots (I was told recently the reason for the larger pot is they do root growth first before doing much top growth) or should I leave them and transplant when more are up? Right now I have three up but I am starting to see a few more germinating. (I have sent for The Gardners's Guide to Growing Hellebores, and this should reduce all my newbie posts to a managable level!)
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2003 at 6:26AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Joseph, Thank you. I've never had anything germinate with both seed leaves so completely enclosed in the seed coats (and they still are) and was getting concerned...I'll be patient and not head outside with a scalpel. Isn't it strange that none of the anemone flowered seeds have intact seed coats and ALL of my doubles do, all seeds sown in the same conditions.

Taryn, I rec'd many more seeds than I had ordered and paid for from John, along with a number of anemone flowered that I did not request....a very generous shipment from him in every way.

Terry, I hope you're not embarressed by having questions...I've pleased a lot of hard-to-please plants (wish I had a pic to post of my Himalayan blue poppies)...but the helleborus are fairly new to me and I expect I'll be asking for advise until my experience matches my enthusiasm.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2003 at 4:10PM
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jgwoodard(USDA z7 TN)

I also received varying amounts of seed but most were more than generous. As I recall when I ordered, certain types were more scarce than others. Maybe supply and demand played a role.
MorZ8, I think patience is the key, but like you said it does seem a little strange that all of the type are this way. I would maybe try to gently intervene if they do not show signs of opening soon. There was a discussion over this a while back between two of our British contributors. Maybe you could search the forum if you feel curious.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2003 at 6:45PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I do feel curious, but don't find anything addressing the seed coats in my searches, both this forum or entire internet using google or msn. Maybe I'll give the seedlings a few more days, then try a new post if the seed coats haven't split before attempting 'surgery'...I can just see myself decapitating my doubles! Wonder if Mr. Dudley would feel imposed upon by an inquiry....he was certainly responsive to my questions when ordering.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2003 at 11:06PM
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The post Joseph refers to is in the Hybridizing Forum in a thread called Hellebore Breeding. It is an interesting thread that has been alive for a long time.

I believe the discussion was on hellebore seedlings shedding their seed coats.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hellebore Breeding

    Bookmark   April 8, 2003 at 9:37AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Bruce, Thank you so much....that was the thread I was looking for. After reading it, and granted much of it was over my head....I did attempt to remove a few of the seed coats. With reading glasses (not even the phone book requires those!) and an exacto knife, I successfully removed the coats from about 1/2 doz Betty Ranicar seedlings, two of the double red, and stopped when I took the top off the third red. Scraping them off with a plant tag would not have been possible. The seedlings do not appear to me to be as developed as the anemone flowered; or maybe have been unable to develope without photosynthesis....I'm not sure

I took out the seedling that I ruined and found tiny seed leaves inside the seed coat, and a root about 3/4". I think I will wait a few days and watch their progress after my intervention...then go from there. Have many more double flowered seedlings emerging, and all with the seed coats.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2003 at 12:28AM
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taryn(S Ontario Z6B)

I've had this happen with other seedlings (not hellebores) and have found that increasing the humidity often helps them to shed their seedcoats on their own. Have you tried misting them?


    Bookmark   April 9, 2003 at 6:46PM
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GabyC(z5 QC, Canada)

A lot of my H. seedlings have been keeping their seedcoats on for a long time. In the beginning I had covered my pots with a clear dome, which helped for higher humidity levels (and softer seedcoats). Thus the seedlings emerging early didn't have that problem. But as some seedlings grew bigger they touched the dome and I removed it, so the remaining ones have to deal with lower humidity and thus have more problem to shed their seedcoats.
I haven't done any 'surgery' and for a lot of the seedlings the seedcoat simply still holds the seedleaves together, while the true leaves emerge on both sides on a 90 degree angle.
So I would recommend to just wait,- they are well able to take care of themselves!

Good luck,

    Bookmark   April 10, 2003 at 1:31PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I think you're right, and I am going to leave them alone for a while. I'm not sure what our humidity is, but it's got to be high, we've had rain every day but about 3 in the last 30....I'm just a few miles from chilly Pacific ocean. My seedlings germinated outdoors like the other perennials that I sow that require a chill; they do have overhead cover so they aren't being rained on directly though.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2003 at 2:36AM
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xanadu(8/9 N.CA)

This post has been very helpful. I didn't think anything of the hard seed heads clinging to the seed leaves until I read more here. I looked at my seedlings and some indeed had the true leaves sprouting but others seemed in distress. I placed a wet paper towel over the seedlings for an hour, which softened the seed coat and enabled me to remove most of them. I'm glad I did because several had rotted seed leaves underneath the seed coat, on others the seed coat separated and was strangling the stalk, still others had tiny, deformed seed leaves. Humidity level seems to be the defining factor.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2003 at 12:11PM
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Just to update, I am slowly getting more seeds germinating, the slowest to germinate so far seem to be the double pink ones. I have had covers on mine (which I take off during some of the day) so maybe this is helping to soften the seeds and allow for the continued germination.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2003 at 4:26PM
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lilysgarden(5a N.H.)

Well, I didn't get a chance to order seeds from the Dudleys until late February and received them in March. I am so excited to report that they have just now begun to germinate like crazy!! So exciting!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2003 at 3:49PM
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jgwoodard(USDA z7 TN)

Yes, exciting! I just potted up the last-to-germinate batch, and am nearing individually potting up some of the first batch.
I have moved many indoors since it is getting warm out.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2003 at 3:31PM
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Can not believe it, but they are still germinating! I potted up the faster germinating ones-Spotted and some Picote- into larger pots (and now understand the rate of root growth on these plants). They are all on a shelf unit which I have tucked into the corner with north/north east exposure. It is right next to a water spigot, so I can keep them moist.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2003 at 6:11AM
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