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Seed List Notes Illustrated

MGS Seed Exchange
Information about propagating from seeds

Sowing very fresh seed

In January 2018 Chantal Guiraud wrote: In case you find it hard to choose between the hundreds of seeds available on the MGS seed list I have selected a few of those that have just come in which have only a short viability. So make the most of them immediately!

Agapanthus africanus: The seeds should be sown in a warm place in the spring in a mixture of sand and peat and germination will take place within 3 weeks. The seedlings should be pricked out into individual pots, which should be placed in a cold frame for the winter, then planted out in the following spring.

Cardiospermum halicacabum: This small climber will self-seed in the garden. Sow it in a heated greenhouse (minimum temperature 20°C) in February-March. Germination will take 15-20 days.

Cordyline australis and C. banksia (see Autumn 2017): Sow in pots of sandy peat in a cold frame. Germination will take place after about 15 days.

Gladiolus communis: The Pacific Bulb Society says: Growing from seeds is not difficult. This species should be sown in the spring, and requires a warm temperature to germinate well (room temperature). Sow the seeds in a well-drained mix and slightly cover with the mix. The papery wings that surround the seeds do not need to be removed. After sowing, place the pots in a tray with water and allow the medium to soak thoroughly. Above watering can dislodge the seeds and cause them to float to the surface. It is probably best to not transplant the seedlings until they have completed their second season of growth. And this is valid for all bulbs.

Ilex paraguariensis:This tree is not at all Mediterranean but is native to tropical zones of South America. It is the source of maté, the national drink of Argentina. Before sowing you should soak the seeds in hot water for a few hours and then scarify them. You can expect germination to take 1 to 2 months.

Iris foetidissima: As with all irises, put the seeds in the fridge or leave them outside so that they can undergo the period of cold necessary to trigger germination. Then in March-April sow them in pots outside. Germination will occur about 3 to 5 weeks later.

Molospermum peloponnesiacum: This is a superb umbellifer with very finely cut fern-like foliage. Being a mountain plant it prefers cool, rich soil that is very well drained. If you want a similar plant adapted to the dry climate of the Mediterranean Basin, try the lovely Seseli gummiferum (see Autumn 2017). It dies after flowering but self-seeds abundantly.

Nandina domestica: Sow in spring (end of February/beginning of March) in a cold frame after having stratified the seeds in damp sand for the whole of the winter at the foot of a north-facing hedge or wall. The germination rate is fairly low.

Pistacia lentiscus: Pour boiling water (100°C) over the seeds and leave them to soak for 2 or 3 days. Drain off the water. Then stratify them at 3/5°C for 3 months. Sow when the temperature reaches 20°C at night and 30°C during the day. The germination rate is fairly low.

Ranunculus creticus: Seeds can be sown at any time but are best sown in winter or early spring to benefit from a cold spell in the wet compost to break their dormancy. We advise covering seeds very thinly with sand or fine grit to about the depth of the seed size. If the seeds do not come up within 6 to 12 weeks the damp seed tray can be given cold treatment in a fridge for about four weeks. They may still take very many months to appear, so please never discard the pot or tray. This is valid for all plants.

Tulbaghia violacea: Sow in a cold frame at between 15 and 20°C. Once the plant is established in the garden it will self-seed, but it will take at least three years for your plantlets to become established and flower.

Agapanthus africanus

Cardiospermum halicacabum

Cordyline australis

Gladiolus communis

Ilex paraguariensis

Molospermum peloponnesiacum

Nandina domestica

Pistacia lentiscus

Ranunculus creticus

What's new?

In autumn 2017 Chantal Guiraud wrote: Autumn is a good time of year, especially in regions with a mediterranean climate, to sow perennials, bulbs, semi-hardy biennials, shrubs and even trees. If you are hesitating about what to sow, here is a selection of seeds available from the recently updated MGS Seed List.

Newly arrived from Chile are seeds of Brachychiton discolor and Catalpa bignonioides, while from Australia we have Salvia radula. Seeds from the USA include Limonium perezii which I collected on a California beach; I sowed them in my garden in spring and the plant is already delighting me with its mauve flowers. From Belgium come seeds of Digitalis parviflora, Eucomis vandermerwei, Freesia laxa subsp. azurea, Muscari neglectum, Scilla mischtschenkoana and Tragopogon porrifolius.

Other plants new to the seed list are: Cordyline banksii, Cycas revoluta, Dierama luteo-albidum, Elaeagnus rhamnoides, Gladiolus murielae, Maurandya antirrhiniflora and Zantedeschia aethiopica. Personally I’m always in favour of plants whose seed germinates easily: Haloragis erecta, Lathyrus odoratus ‘Matucana’, Lomelosia minoana and Seseli gummiferum.

So choose some of our new seeds (illustrated below) and try your luck!

Brachychiton discolor

Cordyline banksia

Digitalis parviflora

Eucomis vandermerwei

Haloragis erecta

Limonium perezii

Maurandya antirrhiniflora

Scilla mischtschenkoana

Seseli gummiferum
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