Friday, 22 June 2007

Germinating Disa Seeds

In a search for more info on sowing Disa seeds I contacted Ed Merkle who kindly sent me details of his method of germinating seeds. He was very helpful in sending the following info that I hope he won't mind me sharing.
"I pollinated a cut-flower stem of Disa and it produced seed in about 5 weeks. As soon as the capsule started to yellow a little bit and looked like it was going to split, I took the capsule and sowed the seed.
I used New Zealand sphagnum moss for growing media. I took the moss and boiled it in distilled water for about fifteen minutes, to kill any moss spores or fungus. After cooling, I filled a 15cm pot about three-quarters to the top with moss, and firmed it down very tightly. I then sowed the seed over the surface of the moss. After sowing, I covered the pot with plastic saran wrap from the kitchen, and held it in place with a large rubber band. I placed the pot about 40cm below a pair of 40 watt fluorescent lamps. I put the pot in a shallow dish with about 2cm of distilled water in the dish at all times. Temperature was about 20C.
I saw seedlings growing after about 45 days and they reached about 1cm in about 100 days. When they reached this height I started picking out the larger ones and placing them in community pots of about 10 seedlings each. They reached blooming size in two years.
Hope this helps - Ed"

I will try this method and post here the results of my trial. I also read that in South Africa some growers use just sand. I purchased some aquarium sand recently so will try this too.
I hope to have plenty of seeds to experiment with - pics show pods ripening from various crosses and self-pollinations done over the past few weeks.

The Disa Safron that arrived in poor condition - described in an earlier post - seems to have survived its radical treatment. New leaves are beginning to appear. A second bloom opened on Orangeade but like the first, the pollens were damaged. However I used the blooms to pollinate with Brides Dream on the first and last week with Riette which I bought last weekend. Riette's pollens were separated from the plant onto the packaging so they had to be used.
Being a beginner with Disas I have little idea whether or not any interesting results will be forthcoming with the crosses I have made. At this stage I am just producing fresh seed to experiment with and if a nice plant results I will be doubly pleased.



Above Orangeade with a swelling seed pod and below Watsonii and Kewensis with seed pods nearly ready for sowing.



One of the Safron splits showing new leaves after the weak bleach treatment.

9 comments:

Njacko said...

I have 5 orchids; 4 phalenopsis and another tall one. I am leaving town for 8 days and was wondering if I can wrap the soil and pot with saran wrap to hold moisture in while I am gone.
The apartment is very dry...I normally water and spray pretty frequently at this time. Two have flower shoots coming up.

Thanks alot!
Njacko

Philip said...

You could sit your Phal pots on top of an upturned empty pot in an a bowl of water, so that the roots are not in the water (if they are planted in bark). The gradual evaporation of water should help with the humidity while you are away. I would guess that unless the flat is very hot, the phals should be okay without watering for a few days.

Best wishes
Philip

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