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Re: Vallisneria seeds

Mike Brown asked:
"I was wondering if these could be seeds, and if they are could they be

Mike, are the seeds enclosed inside fleshy fruits (small ones)? I've never
seen the actual seed pod of a Vallisneria, but Dave Wilson sent me some
seeds of V. nana that he collected in Australia.

Here is the entry from my notes at the time I sowed the seeds -

"Individual seeds were extremely tiny, relatively long and slender in shape
and were removed from the water using a sterilized glass eye dropper and
evenly distributed to the media surface of the appropriate propagation

To germinate the seeds, I'd recommend that you get some fine grained silica
sand (the finer grained, the better) and a couple of translucent "freezer
containers" that can be sterilized - I just boiled the sand and containers
for 20 minutes and then allowed both to cool before I proceeded. The reason
for the sterilizing is to cut down on the possibility of fungus invading the
flats and killing the seedlings - I had major problems with fungus and mould
in a couple of flats. Saturate the media (sand) with water (don't use
distilled water, medium hard tap water should be fine - if you wish to, add
a drop (1 drop will be enough!) of liquid fertilizer to the water you use to
saturate the media). Distribute the seeds as evenly as possible and then put
the covers on the containers. I placed mine under fluorescent lights (12
hour photoperiod). The seeds started to germinate 5 days later. The
seedlings were tiny.

Once you have gotten the seeds germinated (its relatively easy), very
carefully add water to each flat to make sure that the developing seedlings
are kept submerged (be careful how you add the water - you can uproot the
seedlings very easily at this point - I used an eyedropper). The tiny-ness
of the seedlings is why I recommend fine grained sand as a germination
medium - they tend to get "lost" in something the grain size of Flourite. It
will help to make sure that the water you add has some _very_ dilute
fertilizer and lots of Ca and Mg in it.

Once the seedlings have achieved some size - and this might take a while (I
started mine in mid August, and the seedlings are still really small), you
can transplant them into a substrate with a bit more fertility (I have mine
growing in Flourite now). You'll need a pair of very fine tippped tweezers
to pick out the individual seedlings and maybe some toothpicks to make your
"planting holes" to accept the seedlings.

There are a couple of things you should AVOID - stay away from commercial
potting soils as a germinating substrate - they are usually too rich and the
undecomposed organics in them can give rise to moulds and fungus that can
wipe out your flat of seedlings. Stick with well diluted inorganic liquid
fertilizers. Don't try to enrich the flats with CO2 - the few flats I tried
this on when skanky and I almost lost everything because of the drastic pH
drop caused by the CO2 (there is only a small amount of water in the flats
and thus a limited amount of buffering capacity).

I did find a reference which said that Vallisneria seeds lose their
viability after about 2 months, so it is probably best to sow all that you
have now.

Good luck,

James Purchase