05 May 2011 20:27:57
Alstroemeria 'Ligtu Hybrids'
I just love self-seeders. It is such a bonus when a plant you like pops up in unexpected places.
Last year I went through Christopher Lloyd's book 'Succession Planting for Adventurous Gardeners' with a fine tooth comb, paying particular attention to the chapter on self-seeders. I sought out and ordered a lot of his recommended seeds.
Anyway, one of the self-seeders, recommended by Mr Lloyd was Alstroemeria 'Ligtu Hybrids'. I was delighted to find Chiltern stocked them.
Now, it seems to me that self-seeders, by definition, should be easy to germinate so I was quite surprised to read the complicated instructions for germinating these Alstroemeria.
It couldn't be right! How could something be a self-sower if you have to soak it first, put it at 30º for 3-4 weeks then 5º for 3-4 weeks then 21º to germinate. Besides my heated mats don't even reach 30º!
I soaked the seeds and put them on the heat, full sure that they would germinate in no time. But a month later, I had to admit defeat and resorted to a regime of fridge and heat mats for the next 77 days. I was about to give up when... they germinated.
So, how on earth are these supposed to be self-seeders? But, I suppose, Verbena bonariensis, also an acknowledged self-seeder, is hard to germinate indoors. I guess Mother Nature still has a few mysteries up her sleeve.