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Author Topic: Hellebore Help  (Read 448 times)

NeilH

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Hellebore Help
« on: January 29, 2020, 05:58:26 PM »
My First post on a forum so please bear with me if photo not sized right.After 3 years of trying finally got some Hellebore seeds to germinate Like buses now have 4 trays of them.Are these seedlings big enough to pot on yet?.On a recent visit to Ashwood Nurseries they were selling what they called hellebore plug trays (deep very sturdy cell trays) are the seedlings big enough to move on to these trays?.I am abit worried by the amount of liverwort on the surface of the seed tray but the seedlings seem to grow through it ok.
Any help or thoughts appreciated

Maggi Young

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Re: Hellebore Help
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2020, 06:06:57 PM »
Welcome, Neil - Cute  forest  of  Helleborus  babies you  have there!
I would  be  inclined  to pot them on  en masse into a  larger  pot. Safer than risking  root damage  by  pricking them out  at this  size.  You could  also try  removing the  worst  of the  liverwort , using  fine  tweezers, but  again, don't  try to remove  every  last  bit.  Ian and  I  have  found that  most bulbs and  things  like  hellebores  do very  well for  us  if  grown for  several years  either  by  sowing  in a  larger  container ( like a fishbox trough) in the  first  place, or  by  potting  the  seedlings  on  en masse  to larger  pots  to let them grow  on with  minimum disturbance.  With a  fine  crop  such as  you  show, it  would  be  horrible to lose the  little  beauties!
 
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Gabriela

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Re: Hellebore Help
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2020, 06:15:02 PM »
Yes, welcome Neil, it seemed Maggi was faster to answer, as always :)

When I have my first germinated Helleborus I also didn't know when to prick them out, especially that the saying was around that they don't like transplanting.
Then, I received the advice from a helleborus breeder that they are actually doing best when pricked right away, even before the true leaf. So, that's what I am doing myself and I had no loses (sometimes they get to the true leaf because I have too many seedlings....).

If you are afraid, prick out only one pot to being with. Have all prepared and do it fast. Good luck!
Gabriela
Ontario, zone 5
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Carolyn

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Re: Hellebore Help
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2020, 06:26:21 PM »
I agree with Gabriela. I pricked out lots of Helleborus lividus at the 2-leaf stage and had no losses.
As  for difficulty with germination: try to get fresh seeds straight off the plant as they ripen in early summer and sow right away. They will all germinate the following January. I have had some success with dried seeds from the seed exchange too, but with limited germination - maybe 2 or 3 seedlings from 10 seeds. This year I am trying some seedex seeds soaked in GA3 to see if I can improve the germination rate.
Carolyn McHale
Gardening in Kirkcudbright

Jeffnz

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Re: Hellebore Help
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2020, 09:53:30 PM »
I usually wait until the seedlings produce their first true leaf before potting on into a community pot then leave the seedlings in the community pot for 12 months the plant out. Allow a good volume of pot space for root development and a deep pot is better than a shallow pot.  Minimizing root damage is the key to getting the seedlings off to a good start. You will see a variation in growth rate, if you have many seedlings from the same seed pod/cross you can select the most vigorous seedlings to keep as this vigor will translate to garden grown plants.

As has already been pointed out high germination rates are achieved with fresh seed, seed desiccation is in my opinion the main reason why low shrike rates are seen. Over many years have tried many protocols to over come this and none have really lead to an improvement. Very interested in the use of gibberellic acid b so please report back if this does prove to be be successful. Confident that seed dormancy is not related to seed uptake of moisture, currant theory is that possibly there is embryo damage as the seed desiccates. I have found that niger is more prone to reduced germination rates than hybridus and that significant reduction can occurs within in a month of niger seed being harvested.

I have over the year's purchased wild seed from a number of collectors, the germination rats of wild seed was often zero or next=t to zero, being in the southern hemisphere does not help seed from the opposite hemisphere germinating.

Gabriela

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Re: Hellebore Help
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2020, 11:35:51 PM »
You certainly have a lot of experience in Helleborus Jeff, and good that you mentioned the usage of a deep pot/soil volume; the seedlings are fast growing and I've noticed huge differences between those kept in smaller pots versus larger ones later in the season.

Not to diverge much from the initial question, but if the subject is started I would like to point out that Helleborus, just like recently discussed Aconitum, is a member of the Ranunculaceae family.
They all share the same seed characteristic: at maturity, when the seeds are ripe, the embryos are immature. Germination will happen only after they reach a mature stage (requiring specific temperature cycles). GA3 may help with this.

Like many other species from this family, the seeds require moist storage (when not sown right away) but are not entirely hydrophilic. For example, few years ago I sown wild collected seeds of H. purpurascens as late as September and they germinated well in the spring. Also, few seeds kept dry, sown in January germinated but in the second year (not 100%).
Gabriela
Ontario, zone 5
http://botanicallyinclined.org/

WSGR

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Re: Hellebore Help
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2020, 08:11:02 AM »
I live in the south, just outside London, and have tons of hellebores on predominantly clay soil. I just broadcast my seeds and they germinated wherever and whenever they wanted. I have observed that they self seed like mad. If a mother plant is doing well in a spot, just work up some compost round the base and let the seeds fall and they will germinate, even though it was a hot and sunny spot with 13 hours of summer sun!

I have also found out that hellebores flower better in the sun than in the shade. I have bought a Anjou Oudolf and the flowers kept staying in bud form as it is shaded by a raised dwarf wall.

When your seedlings flower, be sure to check the quality of the blooms. Some can be wishy washy and it might be a good idea to cull them. Or you will end up with thousands of blooms, mostly with pathetic imperfect details. Each to his/her own. You will soon find out.  But if you have a woodland, that's another story.

These days, I take a mature plant with flowers that I really like and chop it into more plants. Yesterday, I did just that with a plant bought on Sunday last. 

657202-0

Sure, there are casualties, but one plant becoming two or three or four gives me enormous pleasure!
« Last Edit: January 30, 2020, 12:02:34 PM by Maggi Young »

Carolyn

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Re: Hellebore Help
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2020, 09:27:39 AM »
Jeff,
I will report back on the success or otherwise of the GA3.
Carolyn McHale
Gardening in Kirkcudbright

NeilH

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Re: Hellebore Help
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2020, 06:06:34 PM »
Thanks for the advise as i have multiple trays of seedling might hedge my bets- move some on mass to a deep pot & pot so on individually.

Jeffnz

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Re: Hellebore Help
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2020, 09:48:25 PM »
Plant physiology is certainly not my strength, copied this from a web site:  [GA is required to break seed dormancy leading to its germination. Seed germination is a complex process, controlled by both physical and internal regulating factors. GA plays a very important role in controlling and promoting germination in cereal grains and other crop species.
It would certainly would be a huge break through if it can be shown that GA is will assist to overcome hellebore seed dormancy.

I have kept hellebore seed pots that show no germination in the first year for a additional year only to find no germination, however this was always with opposite hemisphere seed. There must be embryo death occurring past a certain level of desiccation. If this was not the caser than the long standing adage  should apply. I soak opposite hemisphere seeds in a strong fungicide solution in a warm spot for 2-3 days then only sow seeds that plump up, often many seeds do not so seed ripeness at collection could explain this.

My old mentor friend John Dudley who bred hellebores at his nursery in Tasmania would harvest seed and let the seed post collection ripen for a week or two then selection then warm moist stratify seed for 6 weeks before dispatching seed orders to northern hemisphere recipients. From all accounts his germination rates were very good. A very time consuming and costly undertaking for any commercial seed operation.

Has anyone purchased hellebore seed from Jellito Seeds and if so what the germination outcome?
 

Leena

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Re: Hellebore Help
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2020, 12:05:40 PM »
Has anyone purchased hellebore seed from Jellito Seeds and if so what the germination outcome?

I have bought Helleborus seeds from Jelitto twice more than ten years ago. Both times in November and sown right away, with good germination the following spring.

When I sow seeds in autumn up to December (kept first warm for two months, then cold for three months or more), they germinate well in the next spring, but when I sow seeds in late January or February, with the same way, some may germinate in the same spring, but most in next January-February (if pots are kept in the cellar, if outside, then they will germinate in the spring unless winter is very bad and the germinating seedings get frozen - that is why I like to keep Helleborus pots in the cellar, I have lost special seeds sown outside).
If I sow the seeds fresh in the summer, they germinate in December-January. I like to delay sowing my own seeds until September, so that they won't germinate too early, and they always germinate well. Last summer I sowed them fresh July, and now they are germinating and have to be kept inside under lamps (which is ok, but I don't have a lot of space, when there are also other plants which were sown early inside). Interesting this year was that there was one pot, sown in early January 2018, and from four sown seeds, now two have germinated! Most other pots sown at that time germinated in early spring 2019. I keep empty pots of special seeds longer, which was good this time. :)

I also recommend deep pots. Hellebores tolerate much, but grow a lot faster if they have more room. It is not always possible, for me because of lack of space.

WSGR, you have a very nice double picotee there. :)
Leena from south of Finland

WSGR

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Re: Hellebore Help
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2020, 06:26:29 AM »
Thank you, Leena!

 

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