Moonflower seeds-testing for viability-Sink or float?

phylrae(z5a/centralNYS)April 29, 2008

Ok, I read on the forum here recently that some people have a hard time getting their morning glory and/or moonflower seeds to germinate.

I know about scarifying (sp?) the seed coat, and soaking seeds for a day or so to help. However, I also read a few years back somewhere that, in general, it is easy to tell if a seed is viable or not by putting them in water. Supposedly, if they sink, they are more apt to be viable, and the ones that float might not germinate.

Does anyone here know this to be true? I just did this with 9 Burpee moonflower seeds that I just purchased tonight at Walmart. 5 immediately went to the bottom, and 4 are floating. What do you think?

Thanks! :0) Phyl

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I have found that the floater method to determine seed viabilty to be unreliable, because although many seeds that hydate will usually(!) sink after taking in water,there are some healthy seeds with hard coats that may not hydrate completely or otherwise remain floating due to membrane-like air chambers built into the seeds...

The floater test may cause the lightest/emptiest and most unviable seed to float along with some delayed hydrating viable does not reliably filter out viable seed(s) from unviable and I disreccomend it,especially for rare/valuable seeds due to the inaccuracies of the test...

Although it is true that seeds that are extremely underdeveloped,mouldy or otherwise dead will usually float,I have found many viable seeds containing air trapped inside of the seed someplace which will cause the seed(s) to point of fact,many Convolvulaceae seeds are known to be labyrinth type seeds that develop air chambers to cause the seeds to float on the surface of water(s) to facilitate the wider dispersal of the seed(s) from rain,flood or other water sources...

There are many species in Convolvulaceae that are not officially classified as labyrinth seeds,but sometimes a portion of a population will produce some healthy 'floaters' as an extra insurance policy to insure seed dispersal over a wider geographic area via any possible available water transport...

Additionally,some seeds that are in a deeper state of dormancy may not initially fully hydrate and a portion of these dormant seeds may continue to float,until they are ready to more fully hydrate and sprout at a later time...



    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 10:10PM
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Thanks, Ron! I'll remember this for the future.
:0) Phyl

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 5:32AM
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