Growing Moonflower Vine seeds soak and nick?

carolinabeach(8)March 23, 2006

I received a couple of moon flower vine seeds (that's how they are labeled.) These are large hard yelow seeds, something like a big kernel of corn. Sould I nick them and soak them or only soak (and for how long?) I soaked one for an hour or so, (no nick) and the coating split when I pushed it into the moistened peat pellet, so I want to sow a second one properly as back-up in case I killed it. I have two more, but wanted to save at least one to try later if these don't make it. I'll be growing the vine in a container on my balcony, with any luck.

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I generally nick and soak any Morning Glory type seeds before sowing, but soaking over-night alone may be sufficient for some species with not-so-hard seed coats.

I use a small hobby file to do the nicking and hold the seed with a very small "vise-grip" tool. Last year I spent an entire evening nicking about 100 seeds and I expect to be doing the same again soon, (my fingers ache already!).

In the few instances that I've used peat pellets, I've moistened them as you mentioned, but then make a small hole in the pellet and the drop the seed in and cover it with a pinch of potting soil. Usually I use larger peat pots filled with a well draining mix so that I don't have to water so often...


    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 5:16PM
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Here's how I do moonflower seeds---nicking them is HARD, and I often wind up nicking ME instead, so---I soak them overnight and plant whatever has swollen and cracked. The ones that haven't, I soak for another day, then plant what's cracked. Any that haven't cracked by the morning of the third day I throw away. I have a 95%+ success rate with this method.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 5:39PM
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nohandle(6a swON)

I planted moonflower seeds directly in Jiffy peat pellets without nicking or soaking them, just kept them warm and within 4 days they started sprouting. As of right now, 11 of 12 have sprouted.
From what I've read in this forum, this isn't what people usually do.
Did I just get lucky or what?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 6:50PM
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I find the method used and suggested by msbatt to be the most practical for most people...I usually use a soak of water and Hydrogen peroxide in a 50/50 ratio...

The HP helps to soften the shells,remove some germination inhibitors,oxygenate the water(which helps to prevent the seeds from full or partial drowning)and acts as a partial disinfectant...

I also use a hacksaw blade(that I do not place into the usual blade holder) held simply in my thumb and index finger to saw through the shell...being careful not to cut into the actual embryo...I use some additional strategic cuts or scores which I find make it much easier for the embryo to shed the shell,which can sometimes cling steadfast and stubbornly to the young seedling...this shell must be shed or it will cause the seedling to perish...

The seedshells that do not easily shed are most often from seeds that are very large and have very hard shells...misting these shells often and/or carefully wrapping a piece of wet tissue paper onto the stubborn shell to soften it, will often cause the shell to be,the wet tissue paper wrap method may be used in place of additional scores into the seedcoat,although using some additional scores into the seedshell is more efficacious...

There are some seeds that may not germinate(immediately) in response to the aforementioned treatments and although some seeds that do not respond by immediate germination may be dead seeds,a portion of the seeds may in fact be very healthy, but have a delayed sprouting mechanism built-in by 'Nature'...this built-in delayed sprouting is a long term survival mechanism and it is why these plants have survived for multiple millions of years...e.g.,if there is something like bad weather or physical destruction of the first plants to sprout,the delayed sprouting enables more plants to sprout later in the season and/or in the following years thereby ensuring continued survival of the species...

I personally prefer to take seeds that do not respond to initial treatments and try them again at another time...especially seeds of types that may be relatively rare...

JLHudson has a very good webpage that describes the treatments/conditions that some seeds have developed as survival mechanisms and may be needed in order for them to germinate...
I find the JLHudson seed germination page to be interesting and informative,so I have added the link to it as a reference...

Enjoy your gardening adventures...

Here is a link that might be useful: JLHudson reference page on seed sprouting techniques

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 12:39AM
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I had success growing them using a heated propagater.
I dropped the seeds into a small cup full of water, and they initially floated. I put the cup in the electrically heated propagator (it cost around $60), used timer to turn the propagator on for 15 minutes every hour. This kept the temperature no lower than around 27C/85F. After 24 hours, the seed had swollen and a crack appeared on one side of the seeds shell. I used a small plastic plant label to make that split bigger (it may not have made any difference), and dropped 1/4" deep it into a small 6cm/2.5inch tall peat pot with seed raising mix, watered it and put it back under the propagator's clear lid. A day later it was already sprouting.

In the picture left to right; dry seed, then seed soaked for 20 hours in propagator, then sprouting seed after in pot for 20 hours in propagator.
It seems they love warm temperatures!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2014 at 1:53AM
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smileclick - Could you please please send me an e-mail message by clicking onto my page here:

I would like to communicate with you privately.



P.S. - I would initiate a message to you , but I notice that you don't have your private messaging enabled at might want to consider enabling that in your preferences...

    Bookmark   November 30, 2014 at 12:30PM
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I put together a time lapse video showing how you get a moon flower vine from seed to vining plant in 23 days. I just soaked the seed for a day or so then put it into a heated propagator with a small bowl of water to keep the humidity high. What I worked out from trial and error was that:
1. They need continuous heat and moisture so they can shed their outer shell easily, otherwise the shell will go hard and the seedling will not be able to get its initial leaves (cotyledons) out.
2. They are best grown in a peat pellet then moved into the final location next to a pre installed trellis or stake. Don't use a small pot to start with, or put the stake in after planting them in the pot, as they will quickly die with ANY root disturbance.
3. Push the moistened seed vertically with the ring (Hilum) level with the top of the peat pellet - don't bury the seed deep as the seedling has large cotyledons which unfold at the seed level, and will otherwise need to lift a large amount of soil above to grow, stressing the seedling. If you plant the seed horizontally the cotyledon will have problems releasing the seedling shell as you'll see in the video below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Video of Moonflower Vine Seedling Time Lapse

    Bookmark   January 9, 2015 at 5:25PM
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Correction; After you soak your seed for 24 hours you'll see a bulge on one side near the Hilum ring. Insert the soaked seed at a 45 degree angle with the Hilum ring up and the bulge down. Otherwise you could have the seed shell lifted up with the cotyledons as there is no soil above to keep it down - see photo below where the seed was inserted vertically - the aim is to get the soil to weigh on the seed shell but not the seedling. Provided you have a high humidity this is not that much of an issue as the shell will stay soft and will later be shed by the seedling in mid air. But if it's not continuously humid the shell will harden and prevent the seedling's cotyledons from opening and getting light, and it will slowly die.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2015 at 6:34PM
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