to stratify seeds
HAVE a packet of aquilegia seed. The instructions on the packet
say the seeds need "stratification" to germinate. What does this
of some plants won't germinate unless they've gone through a period
of cold weather. It's a form of dormancy which prevents the seeds
from germinating in autumn, putting their tender seedlings at risk
of being killed off by cold winter conditions.
Stratification is the
term used to describe how to trick the seeds into germinating when
you want them to. Mix the seeds with damp sand in a sealed plastic
container and leave for around 24 hours at room temperature to allow
them to soak up moisture. Then put the container in the fridge and
leave for 4-6 weeks. Check them every week or so and shake the container
to aerate the mixture. Sometimes they'll actually start to germinate
in the fridge - if this happens sow them straight away, sand and
all, and put in a sheltered spot to germinate. Otherwise sow them
after a month or so.
I've found that aquilegias
often germinate quite well in spring without stratification. You
could try direct sowing some and stratify the rest to see if it
makes any difference. Good luck - let me know the results.
Gardener, Issue 136, 2003, Page 35
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.