[gardeners] Decaisnea fargesii

Tom Clothier (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Fri, 16 Jan 1998 09:08:01 -0600

From: Cheryl & Erich Schaefer <schaefer@epix.net>

>>Treat this seed a bit like Cimicifuga, i.e., 12wks@68F, 12wks@39F,
>>12wks@oscillate betw 39 and 53F.  Prick out any seedlings that
>>appear during that time.  Then plunge the pot to the surface in moist sand
>>out of doors or in a cold frame, and the remaining seeds should show
>>some activity the following spring.

>Wow, Tom. I'm afraid I'm not equipped for such precision.

I apologize for the shorthand.  You need only to have an indoors, an outdoors,
a refrigerator, and a calendar.

68F is an acronym for room temperature.
39F is an acronym for your refrigerator.
Oscillate between 39 and 53 is shorthand for "sow the seeds on the date
such that the third twelve week
period begins on March 15th or whenever it is that your outdoor temperatures
oscillate between those two levels."  The purpose of the first 24 weeks
of stratification is to destroy germination inhibitors.  As soon as the seeds
sense the warming to 53F in the third period, they should all germinate
within 3 weeks or so.  In addition to March 15th, you might have good success
in September as well.  The purpose of the final period with the pots plunged
in moist sand during the winter is simply to indicate to the seeds that you
have not given up on them.  Instead of pots, all of this can be done in
damp paper towels or coffee filters inserted into plastic bags.

The reason I gave Cimicifuga as an example, is that I was sure you would
find good instruction on this one that would be suitable for the other.  In
fact Gene Bush is good with Hellebores, and their germination
requirements are very similar.  I think the Decaisnea may be slightly
more reluctant, and that is why I recommended an extra four weeks for
each of the stratification periods.  But, Gene should be able to share
his method for Hellebores, and you could follow that with some success
if your seeds are not too old.  Bill and Harvey (the Skids) are on this list
now, and they are expert seed starters, too (using coffee filters).

Don't hesitate to try the germination of difficult seeds.  If you are successful,
even with just a single seedling, you are rewarded with all of the joy of
"making babies" and almost none of the pain or expense.  It is always a
thrill for me to find a communal pot full of seedlings when I open the
door of the seed refrigerator.

(making babies, full time)