Hello February! Now that things are getting warmer, the plants are slowly breaking dormancy. Things over at the greenhouse are doing well, but there’s only so much about dead foliage I can post about. Dormancy is probably my busiest time as this is when I do my cleaning, trimming and repotting. One of the projects I work on during this dormancy period includes prepping the Sarracenia seeds for cold stratification. In order to germinate, Sarracenia seeds need a period of cold and damp stratification to break away a waxy layer that surrounds them. I’ve summarized my cold stratification process below.
(Left) I store the Sarracenia seeds in the fridge. I make sure they are cool and dry while in storage to keep them viable as long as possible. The container I keep them in is lined with a thin layer of silica gel to keep them dry.
(Center) For my cold stratification media, I’ve used sphagnum moss that I’ve boiled and run through the blender. I’ve boiled the moss as a precautionary measure to kill off any fungi and weed seeds. A bit neurotic, I know but I didn’t mind taking an extra step this year. I like using Sphagnum moss as it holds water pretty well. I know others who have used media that include things like damp paper towels, moist sand, and peat moss. As long as the seeds are damp and cold, it will work out.
(Right) I take the Sarracenia seeds and a bit of that beautiful blenderized sphagnum-slushie and mix it all up in little bagies. I throw a tag in there so I know what’s in the bag. Since the greenhouse doesn’t get cold enough, I opt to use this method to give the seeds a nice chill. Other growers who live in colder climates will just put the seeds into the pots that they’ll start to germinate in and leave all that in out the cold. Hey, that works too! I wish I had that luxury. I leave the seeds in the fridge for about 4-6 weeks (or longer if I can’t get to them right away) then throw the entire seed-sphagnum-slush mixture into a pot to get them started. You can check out this post from 2012 to see how I prepared the seeds for germination.
Ahhh… the cycle starts over again and as always, I’ll be watching these babies with great anticipation hoping for some cool stuff in the coming years.