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Discussions on how to propagate your plants sexually and asexually, by seed, natural division or leaf pulling

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By Bawesomer123
Posts:  34
Joined:  Tue May 08, 2012 11:52 pm
Hi all!

In an older post, someone said that they've had luck skipping the cold stratification process by using GA3 to speed things up. Would gibberellic acid work on temperate drosera and sarracenia seeds, so I don't have to wait four weeks and then a couple more afterwards for germination to occur? Are there any cons related to using gibberellic acid in lieu of cold stratification? Thank you!
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By ChefDean
Posts:  3033
Joined:  Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:44 am
Well, in my opinion (old school guy here), why not do it the way that the plants have evolved to do it?

WARNING! Science lesson to follow. Hit the back button now if you don't want to learn something.

Cold stratification is a time for the seed to absorb a little moisture and allow the outer coating to break down a bit, making it easier for the seedling to break out. The seed has "inherited" a very small amount of some form of gibberellin from its mother plant, and (long, boring, scientific story short) the gibberellin signals the seed to produce the enzyme amylase, initiating hydrolysis. Through hydrolysis, the amylase breaks down the starch in the seed to simple sugars that the seed can use for food to grow.

Since the seeds of most carnivorous plants do not have much starch in them to begin with, the break down of the seed coat is necessary in many temperate cp seeds.

That being said, it is possible to germinate temperate cp seeds with GA3, skipping the cold stratification. The GA3 will introduce more gibberellin to the seed, speeding up the hydrolysis process, but too much gibberellin will actually kill the seed. You may also want to consider scarifying the seeds to artificially break down the seed coat a bit.

In lab experiments with other types of temperate seeds (not carnivorous plants), the rate of germination is roughly the same, with cold stratification having a greater degree of success. Mind you these are experiments done in carefully controlled laboratory settings that likely had a hundred different test plots of seeds, each with a different level of GA3, with concentrations that may only vary by one part per million. Some may have been soaked in water overnight prior to the GA3 treatment, others went in dry. Some scarified, some intact.

After the GA3 exposure, the seeds are then sown, allowing the moisture from the media to be absorbed and hydrolysis to begin.

Pro: It could speed things up if you dont overdose them and the seed coat is thin enough to let the seedling break out.

Cons: You could easily kill the seed with an overdose. You might not introduce enough gibberellin to speed things up sufficiently. The seed coat might be too robust for the seedling to break out of.

So, back to being an old school guy, other than one being impatient, why not just do it the way the plants have evolved (over millions of years) to do it? Are you better than Mother Nature? Mother Bawesomer123?


(OK, that last part made me sound like a jerk. That's not the intention.)
Supercazzola, Matt, Bawesomer123 and 1 others liked this
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By Supercazzola
Posts:  412
Joined:  Sun Nov 22, 2020 1:57 am
I learned something in this post. Thanks ChefDean. This is exactly why I love this forum and its members. And why I buy from Matt and Leah’s store to support them and the awesome service these forums bring !
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By Bawesomer123
Posts:  34
Joined:  Tue May 08, 2012 11:52 pm
Thank you so much for the little science lesson and the breakdown of pros and cons of gibberellic acid!

I think sometimes it's pretty cool to say "screw you, mother nature, I'm gonna cheat a bit to get my way!" How we use artificial lighting, all the hormones and sterile conditions that are needed to propagate harder to grow plants using tissue culture, when we use terrariums and artificial bogs to grow stuff with specialized conditions; I don't think it is any different to use some little growth regulator to germinate some seeds being difficult.

It seems that @Matt was the one using GA3 to germinate seeds needing cold-stratification, but he stopped using it because sometimes the seeds wouldn't germinate for any apparent reason.
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By Matt
Posts:  22282
Joined:  Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:28 pm
Bawesomer123 wrote:It seems that @Matt was the one using GA3 to germinate seeds needing cold-stratification, but he stopped using it because sometimes the seeds wouldn't germinate for any apparent reason.
Yep, I've used GA3 successfully in tissue culture for germination of Sarracenia seeds. However, germination rates were lower than if I simply stuck the cultures in the fridge for 4 weeks after sowing the seeds in vitro, thus I now only do it the "old fashioned" way, which is always the best way to do things if you have the time to!!
Bawesomer123 liked this
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