In the summer of 2006, John Blagg of Neelyville, MO, was
inspired to try making and growing waterlily seeds. Already a
grower of several hardy waterlilies, he acquired N. 'Madame Wilfron
Gonnere' and N. 'Mayla', known to be good parents, to experiment.
He had questions we couldn't answer regarding hardy waterlily
seed germination. We asked him to provide the results of his
experiments and he has done so!
When is best time to plant hardy waterlily seed and do I need
to give them cold treatment to break dormancy? I have planted
them in a tub of wet soil and placed them in cooler conditions
just in case cold is required.
I am growing two lilies from your
list of pod parents to use just for this purpose. I picked
two which had been crossed before to ensure seed (N. 'Mayla'
and N. 'Madame Wilfron Gonnere'). I got one exceptional
seed pod from N. 'Mayla' (no undeveloped seed at all and
about 40 seed developed) and a total of four pods. I got one
good pod from N. 'Madame Wilfron Gonnere' (good set but
not as good as 'Mayla' about 30 seed set but a lot of undeveloped
seed also), and a total of two. I cannot tell pollen parents
as it is a natural occurrence but I am excited to see what grows
out of these.
I would like to report seed are germinating very nicely although
a little slowly and sporadically from both pod parents. I already
have 20 seedlings, five with floating leaves and many more in
I germinated seed both covered up to 1/8 inch of soil and
on top of soil with no cover at all. I have not found any difference
in resulting germination light or dark. Seed germinated without
a dormancy period within a month of collection and are still
germinating in spurts. Seeds were planted in container 1 foot
deep with 5 inches of water cover to start, placed in south window
indoors with a 125 watt compact florescent growlight to supplement
on cloudy days and to extend day length. Addition of extra "day
length" from the light resulted in more seed germinating
at the start. The extra light will be continued through the winter
to speed maturity for quicker bloom results.