andynorth wrote: ↑Sat Dec 02, 2023 5:43 am
So when using paper towel to strat, do you wait until they start sprouting or will they not sprout when cold? How long do you let them strat and is there an advantage doing it that way as opposed to just letting them set in water?
The stratification is a process in itself, Andy. It is an attempt to mimick the natural "winter" conditions of the plants' native weather. As optique said, to break down the waxy coating of the seed so that moisture can get to the germ. Once the seeds have been stratifying a couple of months (longer in nature, I would think) and are subjected to warm temperatures the magic of life starts stirring within the seed.
You've probably already read, but some people do a "winter sowing" where they go ahead and plant the seeds in a pot, bag it, and stick it in the refrigerator. Or, the most natural way...stick the pots outside in the cold temperatures. My understanding is that freezing will halt/delay the stratification process, but doesn't hurt anything other than negating the time that the seeds are frozen from the total stratification time. The down sides of doing a winter sowing in the pot in the refrigerator is that you have more chance of mold/mildew due to the growing medium and also takes up a good bit of room. If you have a cold enough winter with fairly consistent cold weather in the lower 40's/upper 30's (doesn't have to be freezing) then setting the pots outside would work.
The paper towel method inside the refrigerator is good in that it is a *very* compact method, mold is usually held to a minimum, and the cold temperature and moistness is consistent. When it's time to plant I take a wooden toothpick, cut one tip off at a slant to create a "half wedge/scoop" (one quick slice does it, watch your fingers!
), dampen the tip against the old wet paper towel and go to moving seeds from it to the pot. The seeds usually will stick to the wood and are easy to "brush off" onto the surface of the grow mix. Of course, I'm "OCD-Me" and I have to try and space things out a bit...going to more trouble than I need to!
Not all sarracenia seeds are created equal. From several places that I've read it seems that some seeds require 6-8 weeks germination while other do better with just 3-4 weeks. Look at the weather and climates of the plants' natural ranges. Plants coming from the southern coastal plain will not require as long of a stratification than more northern cousins. Leucos are even mentioned to have lower germination rates if the stratification time is longer than three or four weeks. In my location in south Alabama we rarely have a week where temperatures are consistently below 45F...we may have the rare times where it does, but usually you will see a day or two in the 50's or higher within a week of freezing temperatures. Now, whether the ground warms up that much is debatable.
But, the plants down here don't expect a long, consistent strat period. In the north part of the country the favorable stratification temperatures last far longer...and the plants native to that area are accustomed to and expect the longer strat time. Anyhow, that's about as confusing an explanation that I can give for that.
Anyhow, we have two granddaughters that spent the night with us and somehow "Sandy" the Elf on the Shelf managed to show up this morning, in her Ninja way...and that's what matters!!!