Ipomoea Seedlings


We've tried for years (unsuccessfully) to start Moonflower (Ipomoea alba) from seed. The seed requires either soaking or scarification. Amazingly, despite our failures, we had never tried soaking them. So, this year I ran an experiment. I tried starting them two ways---the first I soaked in water overnight and placed in a ziplck bag with a damp paper towel. The second I just put in a ziplock bag with a damp paper towel (that was how we sprouted bean seeds back in elementary school in order to learn about the parts of a seed--cotyledon and so on. I figured what the heck, it had to be pretty foolproof if they were using it in elementary school....)

Sure enough, not just did we have luck with the soaked seed--but every seed that I had put in a ziplock bag with a damp paper towel germinated. Some of them were soaked, some were not. Some were in the light, some in the dark.

Moonflower & Morning Glory starts
Didn't even matter. Eureka! As far as I can tell we had 100% germination. After they were sprouted I put them in a little bit of recycled potting soil (ie old..) in reused tofu containers (small, deep plastic rectangular trays for those who are not familiar with them). Worked like a charm, and when they got too big I potted them up to old plant pots that we had kept for just such an occasion.

Old tofu containers--make great seed starting pots

We started the process a little late in the season, so it might be september before they bloom, but with any luck they will. I think it's just about time to plant them outside, though. (I hope the chickens and ducks don't try to eat the little plants...)

Have you ever had much luck with Ipomoeas from seed? (we started some 'Grandpa Otts' morning glory this year too.)


    On July 1, 2009 at 4:15 AM Anonymous said...

    I've never started Ipomeoeas, but I do remember starting seeds that way in elementary school! I think ours were sunflower and pea seeds.... sometimes those early methods are the best....


    You know, I just wish I'd thought of that a few years earlier...so true...

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