Procedure for Starting Babiana Seeds

safariofthemind(z7b NC)March 16, 2003

How do you guys start these seeds in pots? Silverhill is sending me some and it says in their instructions "Sow August" which I guess means sow in Spring, right now. What kind of soil mix and what kind of time for germination? Any special considerations?

Silverhill did not have B. rubrocyanea seed. Do you all know who does?

Thanks, RJ

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sheila_perth(WA 10)

I just sprinkle mine on top of well draining potting mix and water in. I don't cover my seeds.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2003 at 9:20PM
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Hi RJ,

Silverhill ships stacks of seeds to the northern hemisphere and they are very aware of the reversed seasons. In their catalogue they write "sow au" which means "sow autumn". If they wrote to you specifically and really said 'August', then August it must be - your autumn. Babiana are winter growers.
Patience, you have to wait a little longer with sowing!


    Bookmark   March 17, 2003 at 2:58AM
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safariofthemind(z7b NC)

Hi Maddy,

The instructions came from their website, so I guess they were keyed to the southern hemisphere. The seeds haven't arrived yet...anytime now I hope. I was hoping for local experience from people who dunnit, especially with how to sow it and what kind of soil to use, how long before the seeds germinate, etc. RJ

    Bookmark   March 17, 2003 at 1:21PM
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DeeDs(SW UK)

I sow mine in a mixture of ordinary potting compost and additional gritty sand. Cover the seeds very lightly, water and forget. I have mine in the greenhouse, no additional heat, I find they germinate better with a difference between day and nightime temperature. I have a regular little forest of seedling poking through, and today I found 6 tiny Moraea seedlings have emerged too! only 8 more Moraea species to emerge - can't wait.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2003 at 3:57PM
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Hi RJ,

Ok, I haven't dunnit, nor am I local to you, but I would sow them in a well draining seedling soil / river sand mix.
Not much help, I know, but just wanted to say that on the Silverhill website it sais: "sow Au" (meaning "sow autumn", not "sow August". However, take note of their following statement:

"The plants marked "Sow Au" are from the Mediterranean winter rainfall area of the Cape. They grow in winter & usually need drier conditions in summer. For those of you who live in the higher latitudes (above 40°) the plants marked "Sow Au" should probably be sown in early spring. However, remember that the majority of the species from our Mediterranean area need a marked temperature differentiation between day & night, (day ±25°C, night ±8°C) to trigger germination. Therefore do not try to germinate these seeds in a constant temperature hot or glass house. Sowing instructions are available for most of the seeds sold. If you require instructions, please ask for them with your order."

Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Silverhill sowing instructions

    Bookmark   March 17, 2003 at 4:17PM
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safariofthemind(z7b NC)

Good point Maddy. Noted.

Thanks Deeds for your method. You don't water at all after the initial soaking? What's the humidity like in the greenhouse? Have you noticed how long they take to germinate? RJ

    Bookmark   March 17, 2003 at 6:34PM
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sheila_perth(WA 10)

There are some nice photos of Babiana on the Wiki site of the Pacific Bulb Society.

Here is a link that might be useful: Babiana photos

    Bookmark   March 17, 2003 at 7:08PM
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DeeDs(SW UK)

Hi safari, My greenhouse is very small only 10 x 8' , no additional insulation, concrete floor. very basic. The humidity is pretty low this time of year, and I do try to keep in down while the seedlings are tiny, because of the risk of damping off, I ventilate if it gets too high.

Germination takes between 2 and 6 weeks depending on the temperature - it can be very variable here in Spring from two coats cold to T-shirt warm. The do germinate faster when the days warm up. After the initial soalking, I do water sparingly with a fine rose watering can, never let the compost dry out completely that is fatal. It can help if the seeds are soaked in tepid water overnight too.

Hope this is if help to you, they are lovely flowers, the common name in SA is Baboon flower, because the Baboons love to eat the bulbs!

I am really excited today as I have six species of Moraea just peeping through the compost - all I need now is another acre or two of garden! Good luck with the seeds, let me know how you get on with them.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2003 at 5:08PM
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