Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Time for a second seed sowing

The first sowing of seeds is now in pots and growing away healthily, although we watch out every day for fungal growth. If any is spotted then we use a copper based solution to eliminate it.

So, now is the time for a second sowing and the picture below shows more batches of seed that have been scarified and now soak in warm water to encourage them to germinate and start the growth process.

The Canna seeds are soaking up the luxury of a hot spa, sorry no spray jets, in a heated incubator that keeps their daytime temperature at 25 degrees Centigrade. Here we are trying to persuade the scarified seeds to pop-out their first growth, see the picture below, so that we can extract it from the heated water environment and pot them up into something more conventional.

Above is a germinated Canna seed, showing the original scarification at the bottom, and the white embryo bursting out, by pushing open the trap-door (hylem) in the thick Canna seed shell. This is why, when I am scarifying the seed, if I can't identify where the trapdoor is located then I nick the seed on the side instead. Probably that is the best policy anyway.

Once the seed has germinated we insert it into a peat pot, filled with a peat-based compost with added nutrients and wait for the shoots to show above the soil level, as per the photograph below.

To illustrate what is happening with the seed below the surface of the soil in the pot, we have a photograph of a seedlings that we raised in a test tube, which shows all the "below ground" action taking place while we wait for that first shoot. With very special seeds we always grow them invitro, as we always feel more confident in getting a result in a test tube. However, it too expensive to use for several hundreds of seedlings each year.


  1. Great stuff!!! Just wondering, on the labels, you've got the names of just one Canna variety - so are they open crosses where you only know the mother plant? As I understand that Cannas can't come true from seed?


  2. Well spotted, these are all open crosses, other that the Canna 'Purpurea' x C. 'Bengal Tiger' one.

    This is the cross that created the Australian Group of Cannas, and the seeds in the picture came from Bernard Yorke in Australia, the creator of this new Canna group.

    We want to explore the possibilities of this new group during this summer.

  3. Ahhh right thanks for the confirmation :)

    Sounds like exciting stuff, I look forward to hearing how they get on this season!