Re: [gardeners] Decaisnea fargesii

Cheryl & Erich Schaefer (
Fri, 16 Jan 1998 13:21:24 -0500 (EST)

>From: Cheryl & Erich Schaefer <>
>>>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
>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)

Demystifying the process is much appreciated. I don't usually shy away from
trying to germinate new things and, you are quite right, it is a joy to see
seedlings pop up, a miracle I never tire of. I have several Kentucky Coffee
Bean trees, African violets, an unidentified small tree from seed brought
back from Assisi, etc., all because I wasn't afraid to give it a try. I
pinch seeds wherever I go. It's very rewarding and something I wanted to do
ever since I was a little girl. I envy you "making babies full time" as the
satisfaction of making these babies lasts far longer than making babies
used to. :-)))

Cheryl Schaefer
Zone 5 in the fabulous Finger Lakes of NY