(Growing conditions) White sage

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My various attempts to germinate the white sage seeds spanned more than a year, from some time in 2009 until now.

To date, I have tried a few methods, all of which did not produce any results until my latest attempt:
1. I have tried my traditional method of heating/warming the seeds up in a metal container filled with vermiculite, and placed on top of an aromatherapy burner, but the seeds didn’t germinate;

The pink paper is the seed primer, filled with the chemicals found after wildfires, which helps with wild plants' germination

2. I have sowed the seeds into transparent containers filled with pure vermiculite and maintained the humidity of the container at a level suitable for most other germination of seeds; this method sometimes made the white sage seeds sprout, but they always rotted within a day or two after that if not quickly transplanted; and even if they were transplanted at this stage, sometimes the seeds dried up in their new environment anyway;

3. I have bought seed primers and soaked the seeds in the chemically-infused water, to no avail;

4. This is the method which has finally worked, and I came upon it through laziness and a mistake: I soaked the seeds in water which came up to about twice their height, and I left the seeds for 36 hours. For the first time, because of my laziness (I’d originally intended to soak them only for 24 hours), the water level evaporated until the seeds were only moistened, but out of the six I’d soaked, two had sprouted. I sowed all of them, and another seed sprouted a few days later.

The rightmost seedling is the one which looks like it has a rotting stem

A few days ago, I tried this method again. I soaked all the seeds for two days, and then sowed them into a well-draining soil mix, and then covered the mouth of the pot up with clear plastic bag. For now, one out of six seeds have sprouted.

Since the white sage is a desert plant, I mix soil with a lot of volcanic sand, and water the seedlings sparingly every day. I’m still experimenting with the amount of water to give, since there is one seedling which, though growing, seems like it has a rotting stem close to the soil’s surface, while the other two are more or less fine.

Once the plants grow to larger sizes, I intend to treat them like I’m treating my sole white sage plant now, by giving them the full morning sun, and watering only twice a week.

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(Germination) Seed primers

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Ever bought so many seeds from trusted and reputable sources with high hopes of them germinating, but after many days, the seeds remain dormant and even grow fungus? And ever wish you knew exactly what was wrong even after reading and reading the germination instructions and wondering what was missing?

I sure have.

Friends have given me many types of seeds. I’ve joined in mass orders where the seeds bought are from sources which have typically allowed for high germination rates, or easy germination. Yet, the seeds don’t sprout for me, no matter what I do: putting them in a closed container on top of the fridge to add warmth; putting them in closed containers in direct sunlight; heating them up using tealight candles before sowing them. Nope, nothing works.

Then, I was advised by people on Folia to try out seed primers.

If you do a Google search, you will simply get a minimal number of links to sites which provide sale of seed primers, no matter whether in machine form, or in pre-treated paper form. But what do these do?

The FineBushPeople website gives the clearest explanation of what they are: Many wildflower seeds are dormant and need very specific conditions for germination. The smoke seed primer solution contains a combination of natural substances that overcome dormancy and stimulate seed germination. The degree of germination success varies with the species, but on average, treated seeds give at least twice the number of seedlings that untreated seeds do.

So well, I just got my seed primers, and am currently testing it out on twenty-five seeds of four species, all of which I’ve had no luck germinating using any of the traditional and typical methods. These seeds were given to me about a year back and have been kept in the fridge.

I added 12.5ml of water to 1/4 of the seed primer disc and have soaked the seeds in it. Tomorrow, I will sow them in pure vermiculite moistened with water and sealed in a clear container.

I shall update when/if I get any action from the seeds.

(Germination) Using heat

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For those of us who live in high-rise apartments and don’t get enough sun, germinating seeds might pose a problem. After learning of a fellow gardener’s success in using heat to germinate her seeds more quickly, with a higher germination rate, I became inspired and set out to do the same. You can use anything from a heating pad, to your CPU, to your fridge’s radiator. But my favorite method is to use tea light candles and an aromatherapy burner.

For this, you will need an aromatherapy burner, tea light candles, small metal cans (preferably with lids), vermiculite, and small pieces of paper.

Fill the tin with some vermiculite. This is to buffer the intensity of the heat so that the seeds are warmed up but not cooked.  The pieces of paper are to hold the seeds so that you don’t need to dig for them amongst the vermiculite.

Fold the piece/s of paper and then bury them in the vermiculite. Place the lid in such a way that there is a small gap for the heat to be released. Light the candle and place the tin on top. (This picture is an old one; please don’t follow it and cap the lid so tight – you’ll cook the seeds instead and they won’t germinate at all).

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