I’ve collected my first seeds of 2019. Buttercup seeds are turning brown even as more buds open. Collecting will be an ongoing process which I can do easily since it is in my garden. This is just a reminder that seed season is upon us. As this newsletter is for both May and June and we won’t have another issue until October, this is my only opportunity to urge you to think of collecting seed for the seed exchange which will be held just before the chapter meeting in October.
We had more than seventy different species of seeds available last fall thanks to contributions from many of you. It would be fun to have more species and more people participating. We don’t mind duplicates. Perhaps there is genetic diversity between the seed from your yard and the seed from someone else’s. It all depends on pollen and the pollination. I have little ‘babies’ growing from seed I obtained at the seed exchange. I have a few Allium unifolium. The seeds did not germinate well for me and they don’t look happy. Time will tell. It’s fun to try though. The Ericameria ericoides are doing better.
Whether they will like my environment remains to be seen, but if they continue to survive I will have several to play with. It would be beautiful to have that splash of yellow in my yard. I planted Penstemon centranthifolius seeds from 2016 which were at our exchange several years ago. I made a mistake on that though. I planted them next to some Penstemon heterophyllus which germinates readily. I should have known better. Rain or watering may have knocked the seed into a different slot. It’s much better to plant similar things farther apart. Since my seed germination trays are out on tables by the garage and open to the wind and the birds I am not positive at this point that it’s really P. centranthifolius. It could be P. heterophyllus. Again time will tell. As they mature the plants will look very different.
I hope that some of you who got seed from the exchange have had success and will be enjoying the benefits of lots of plants with just a bit of time, soil and water. My favorite time is when the seeds first germinate. It’s fun to see what I can grow and what just doesn’t like my methods. It’s a bit of work to keep moving the plants up but once planted in the garden I can point to them and proudly say “I grew that from seed.” I hope to see you at the seed exchange in October.
Technically, the Monterey pine tree threw the seed at my spouse who was standing on the deck outside of
our house enjoying some sun. After the loud crack of a pinecone bursting open, one papery-winged seed
wafted down onto the deck. Even though we live in the Monterey pine forest of Cambria, I had never seen
a Pinus radiata seed.
I planted the seed in a pot and placed it with the other pots containing native plant seeds I obtained at the
fall seed exchange. In preparation for collecting seeds later in the year, I have been checking out the CNPS-SLO website.
Some of the things you will find on the Resources page are:
An explanation of why native plants are important with links to more information.
Beautiful illustrations and photos accompanied by detailed information about specific featured plants.
Seed Collection and Saving for the Casual Gardener, by Marti Rutherford gives tips for collecting,
cleaning, and saving seeds.
On the state CNPS website, I found a post entitled California Native Plant Propagation by Matt Teel that
includes seed collecting how-to tips and photos. If you do not already have a copy of Seed Propagation of
Native California Plants by Dara Emery, check out June’s book sales table at the next meeting.
by Linda Poppenheimer
Pinus radiata Radiata_Pine large
A Monterey pine seed with the wing that enables the seed to flutter downward slowly like a descending helicopter, enabling a further dispersal than would be allowed from just dropping a seed out of the cone. Photo by Phil Bendle
You have probably wandered the nursery isles looking for the ever more popular native plants being sold. Do you ever consider how those plants have been propagated? Many, if not most, native plants in the nursery trade are propagated by cuttings. The nursery person knows what the plant will look like and behave like. And (more…)
I know it seems too early to be thinking seeds. Many of my plants are just starting to bloom. I just wanted to remind those who are interested that the seed exchange is going to take place ate the October meeting before the main program. Let a few of your garden native plants go to seed and bring the seed to the seed exchange. More information will follow in newsletters to come. There is information on seed collection available on the cnpsslo website under the resources/growing natives tab (link). Marti Rutherford
The Hoover Award In Recognition of Distinguished Service The Hoover Award was established by the San Luis Obispo chapter in 1974 to recognize a person that has made significant contribution to the success and well being of the SLO chapter of CNPS. The selection is...
CNPS-SLO encourages the use of California Native plants in public and private gardens and landscapes, and offers information about how to plan, start, and maintain native plant gardens and landscapes that are both ecologically beneficial and personally enjoyable....
California Dudleyas are easy to grow. Illegal wild collection can be disrupted via legal propagation. I propagate Dudleya with middle school science classes. If seventh-graders can grow these natives from seed, you can too.
Home gardens are a good source of Dudleya seed. Collect whole flower clusters in the late summer. Dry and store in a paper bag. Many Dudleya varieties freely hybridize, so garden collections are a good source of unique types
Seeds are microscopic. Small brown crescents or football shaped ovals. Seeds do not need to be cleaned, but crush pods to release the seeds. Hundreds of seeds are found in every flower.
Broadcast seeds on the top surface of a “soiless mix”. I use the those ubiquitos landscape flats to seed individual varieties. I use stucco sand, perlite and vermiculite and a time release fertilizer. No composts or peatmoss at this stage.
Seeds have no dormancy and can be sown any month of the year. A single teaspoon of seed will germinate hundreds to thousands of tiny plantlets.
I germinate flats under a spun row cover inside a shade house. Plants are misted four times per day. via a battery operated hose timer and “mister” drip emitters. Flats are kept uniformily moist, but not soaked.
Expect germination in a week to 10 days.
Plantlets are lifted twice. Pricked up with a pen- cil or the tip of knife. The crowded plantlets are spaced on a fresh flat (100-200 per flat), and later lifted to cells or 3 inch pots. Algae scum remains a risk, so continue to use a soiless sand-rich mix.
Dudleya will be ready for “potting up” to commercial sized containers in 4-6 months. Final soil mix can be a garden loam or cactus mix. Overly rich soil can yield overly frost-sensitve plants.
Light shading (50-60% shadecloth) improves color and tone of the first year plants.
First year Dudleya lanceolata grown by Los Osos Middle School students ready for restoration planting.