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Scape Drying Up Before Seeds Finished Forming?

16 years ago

Hello all! I visit this forum frequently, but rarely post anything. It is so refreshing to see the community formed here!

I have an issue with my White Dazzler bulb that I hope someone can give me some insight on. The scape was doing fine and bloomed nicely but only had 2 blooms. Only 1 of the 2 blooms pollinated and started to produce seeds (or so I think). I've pollinated and made seeds before so this pod looks the same as when they formed on my other bulbs last year. Then the problem: the scape just started drying up for no reason. Please see photo:


I didn't change anything, move it or overwater it. The only thing I can think of is if I underwatered it?? Is it a lost cause now and does anyone have any idea what might have gone wrong? I would appreciate any insight you guys could offer to me.


PS I especially enjoy all the great photos. I am going to try to collect some of mine to show too!

Comments (26)

  • 16 years ago

    Hello Frank and welcome to the forum! =) I've had a couple of my scapes drying as well and I think there could be multiple reasons for it doing so. One of the reasons I think might have contributed to dry/dying scapes is that fertilization/pollination was not successfully completed and thus the swelling of the seedpods could not progress further and therefore -- dead, dried scape. The second reason I guessed could have been underwatering as I've been really scared about fungus-gnat infestations and have been watering light and keeping things on the dry side. The third possible cause I thought could be the problem was perhaps the bulb did not have enough energy/nutrients stored up to complete the process of producing seedpods. I also wonder if perhaps low humidity or overly dry conditions could also be a factor, perhaps too dry conditions could almost desiccate scapes? I'm sure others could help pitch in their remedies, experiences, reasons, and solutions. =) Hope to see more of you on this wonderful forum of friends.

  • 16 years ago

    Welcome, Frank! I pollinated a lot of hippis this season, and have lots of pods in various stages of growth... several of mine did the same thing as yours... just stopped growth and dried up, or "aborted". I think it might be due to some of the same reasons Paxfleur notes... I water on the lean side to avoid rot, as well as fungus gnats, but I think if it were under-watering, more of my pods would have aborted. I've harvested several very large, full seed pods from several different varieties of hippeastrum.

    I think there are probably several reasons that seed pods stop growth and abort... genetics, environment, lack of energy, putting energy into other growth (leaves or more scapes)... and I'm sure there are more reasons...

    I think the bottom line is... there are a lot of failures in breeding, whether you're breeding flora or fauna, and it's just all part of the grand scheme... I think even with the best of conditions, you can plan on losing some pods... it's Mother Nature's way of keeping the species genetically strong.

    Regardless of how many times I fail at getting a bulb to produce seed pods, I will still keep trying... you never know which time will be the winning time...

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  • 16 years ago

    Hey Frank! Welcome to the forum. I also pollinated a number of different flowers this year and had 2 or 3 different plants (out of a dozen or more) that aborted or simply dried up before seed pods completed maturity. I agree with Jodi's reasons why some are producers and others NOT. Still, for the odds I pollinate anything and everything I can to increase my chances of getting viable seeds. Looking forward to your input and photos!

  • 16 years ago

    As an addition to my above posting, I have noticed that it's the larger bulbs, or larger flowered varieties, that seem to produce the most mature seed pods... why that is, I'm not sure...

    I got the most mature pods from Limona, Red Pearl, Exposure, Picotee and Hermitage... I got one giant pod from Exotic Star... none from any doubles... as an exception to my rule, I got tons of mature pods from Pamela! Go figure!

    The more common varieties, such as Apple Blossom and Red Lion, gave me no pods at all!

    Mother Nature works in mysterious ways...

  • 16 years ago

    Generally these hybrids with big flowers (TETs) do produce seeds (approx. 30 - 80 per seed pod) after self pollination or dusting with pollen of other TETs. However, Appleblossom never did at least under MY husbandry, although its pollen is effectively working on other TETs!

    Some failures occur and the reason stays unsolved, yes.

  • 16 years ago

    My remedy for saving some few seeds is the following: when I realize that the scape begins to dry, I cut it and hang it in a warm place, provided that the capsule is at most circa 2/3 ". Smaller surplus capsules I cut away.
    This scape with a 5 1/2 weeks old capsule was hanging 2 weeks head-under (3 1/2 weeks after pollination the scape began to dry).

  • 16 years ago

    TY, That is both curious and interesting. Let me wrap my brain around find a failing scape that has a promising pod, you then cut the scape and suspend it and the pod upside down?? This is very interesting. Have you had success with developing viable seeds this way?

    Hans help me, am I asking this right? I find this very intirguing. I am anxious to learn about the success of this treatment!

  • 16 years ago

    Thanks for all of your responses!

    Paxfleur: Thank you for the warm welcome! I look forward to becoming a part of the community! I have done the same by watering very sparingly so as not to encourage any gnats or rot. The humidity and dry air may also be the culprit that I hadnÂt thought of.

    Jodik: Thanks for your response and I have thoroughly enjoyed touring your Âjungle on many occasions! It is quite a treat to see! If I had the space, mine would most likely look very similar! I like your thinking and I will just keep trying until I succeed! Mother Nature does work in mysterious ways! This was my only white one thoughÂthere is always next year!

    Cindeea: Thanks for your reply and I have also very much enjoyed seeing your posts and photos of the Âpretty facesÂ! I look forward to sharing some of my proud photos soon as well!

    Haweha: Thank you for your input. It seems you are one of the resident experts here and I am honored to receive some of your vast knowledge. There are so many variables that could have gone wrong that one could never be sure exactly what went wrong. I will keep trying!

    Ty: Thank you also for your input and the photo. I am with Cindeea on this one. I too would like to know if this method would continue to produce seeds? I just noticed that one of my Red Lion scapes with 3 promising looking seed pods is starting to dry up as well, but it has only just started. If I were to go ahead and cut it off and hang it upside down, will it continue to make the seeds? Also, I read somewhere you could cut the scape off and fill it with water to make seeds, but you would have to replace the water each and every day. Have you ever heard of this treatment?

    Thanks to all of you for the input!


  • 16 years ago

    Yes, I had success sometimes - most times - but only very few viable seeds can ripen out.
    The shown scape and capsule (pollination 11.28.2007) was 'ripe', will say the moment when the green capsule did became dark and shriveled (it will not open himself)was on the 1.18.2008. The success is shown here:
    Only the three marked seeds had good touchable embryonal nucleus. It's too early for knowing if the seeds were really viable.
    The water method was only successful with a freshly broken scape in my experience. Best would be a combination of water and hanging upside down perhaps, but I didn't solve the technical problems yet. In my little laboratory I have some stretchable wax film for covering the test tubes. Next time perhaps I will try.

  • 16 years ago

    Thank you, Frank... I have enjoyed sharing my little jungle with everyone!

    You are lucky that you got a White Dazzler that was properly labeled! I bought two bulbs that were labeled White Dazzler to use as the "white" in my breeding program... one turned out to be Minerva, and the other leafed out instead of blooming, so I'm not sure what it is! You may not have gotten seeds from your White Dazzler, but at least you know you have a white flower to work with next bloom season! I will have to try again from the beginning... purchasing!

    I would think that the upside down method of salvaging a single seed pod would work to some extent... as long as the pod were already of some size and girth, it could finish it's growth to maturity in this manner... I would use this method if the pod were a special cross I had made that I needed to save for my program. As Thys shows with the photos, only a few seeds with embryos will result, but it may be just enough to grow the offspring desired.

    Very good pictorial, Thys... thank you for sharing this idea!

  • 16 years ago

    It was only 'Exposure' X 'Florence May Maguire' - though I am happy if they grow.

  • 16 years ago

    Jodik: That is funny that you say that because the White Dazzler bulb I have is the third attempt at actually getting a true white one too! One of mine was also a Minerva and the other was a white with red lines in the center. It was very pretty, but not pure white as intended. It seems to always be a surprise to see if you will actually get what you think you bought!

    Well, my Red Lion scapes producing seeds started to dry up as well. What is the deal?? It was painful, but I went ahead and cut them off and hung them up filled with water. They were going to die anyway, so this way they MAY actually finish making some of them...who knows! Now can someone tell me if I am correct that the water must be refreshed every day? I just know I am going to forget and ruin the entire process if this is an absolute must.

    Here are some pictures of the Red Lions before:





    And now the aftermath:




    PS I tried for almost an hour to get the vertical images to rotate on here, but for some reason they just won't. They are correct in the photobucket album, but not here...sorry. If anyone may know about that too, please do tell the secret!

  • 16 years ago

    Frank, thanks for sharing the photos. If you have cut the scape and put it on a table of floor, it really doesn't matter which way is up. :-)

    But if you really want to flip it, how about using an image editing software and flip it? I am emailing you a flipped version. Maybe you can try uploading it to photobucket again and use it if it shows the correct way.

    I think what happened was you flip the camera one way. Could it be you are left handed so you turned the camera differently from most of us? It looks like the image file contains the tilt information so photobucket turned it correctly for you. A browser probably doesn't do it so it is turned the other way.

  • 16 years ago

    Frank, why did you cut the scapes off? I don't see that they started dying. You have better chance getting viable seeds if they remain on the bulb.
    If you cut them off though, I would put them in water instead of hanging them upside down. They visibly are still green and alive, so they could benefit from sucking up water and nutriens. Thys' way of handling the scapes is for dying and drying scapes only.

    Your pictures are the right way on here. You just have to refresh your page to see them, because your explorer shows you the first saved version that you downloaded on your computer.

  • 16 years ago

    Soultan: Thanks, I couldn't figure that one out! I refreshed and sure enough, they are right side up now.

    I cut them off because they were drying up at the bottom and not solid like they have been in the past. Also, the scape that just dried up and died on my White Dazzler started its journey the same way. I have left one on there just to see what it may do, but it has now fallen over... I just don't know if I will get any seeds this year!


  • 16 years ago

    It's unfortunate, Frank, but such is the way of Mother Nature... She makes certain that only genetically strong species survive and procreate... of course, human intervention can change that to some extent...

    As I said earlier, I allow whatever happens to happen... if they live and ripen, that's great... but if they shrivel and abort, I simply chalk it up to nature being what it is... and I try again next time... the only time I think I might intervene and try to save a seed pod would be if it were a very special breeding I wanted seeds from... such as an expensive or rare species that I wanted offspring from.

    Just recently, I lost pods from Charisma... I had really hoped for seeds from that pollination, but for some reason unknown to me, Mother Nature had other plans... perhaps there would have been a genetic problem with any offspring... who knows?

    It's the same when breeding canines, as we've done for over 25 years... some pups are born dead, or after being born the mother pushes one away and refuses to nurse it, signaling that there's something wrong with that one... and even if they all do survive and are able to nurse, there may be one or more that require human intervention to remove from the genetic pool... it's never easy, but the pool must remain strong, and responsible breeders know this and act on it. We must emulate nature because we have changed the natural selection by breeding how we want.

    Plants are a bit different, but still... the idea is to breed genetically strong plants that will give us the characteristics we desire.

  • 16 years ago

    I just had a scape with Pink StarXTop Choice seed pod that did this. Bummer!!! 3 1/2 weeks old from pollination. I don't know if I can save it. I have had TOTAL failure with all cut scapes put in water. Maybe I'll try Thy's method and pray more.

  • 16 years ago

    It was Pink Diamond X Top Choice. The ONLY seedpod that formed in that scape. Oh well...

  • 16 years ago

    That would have been a nice cross, Maria...

    I've noticed that I've had more success with my larger flowered hybrids than with any others... and my best seed producers so far have been Limona and Pamela.

    I think perhaps certain varieties are more fertile... also, there might be individual bulbs that are just healthier, more mature, and feel the need to reproduce...

  • 16 years ago

    Booo hooo hooo....another scape drying out here. And it's a Chico...Sniff sniff sniff!!! Why, why, oh why does this happen? There has got to be a way to save them specially when the seedpods are still like 3 weeks old.

    Spring/Summer of 2007, I did Thys method on my L. Dazzler scapes. I poured fresh water inside the scape everyday. The seedpods and the pedicels grew for a week or two. But the scape continued to dry up but slower than if it was left attached to the bulb. Finally the whole scape dried up to the point where it connects to the pedicels and the seedpods did not get to mature enough. I think if the seedpod was more mature like at least 5 weeks old from pollination, it would have made it.

    I just emailed these thoughts to raydio. It is not the water that is poured inside the hollow part of the scape that feeds the seedpod. It is the water/fluids in the scape walls that feeds them. So if we could maintain those scape walls fed, the seedpods could have a better chance of making it.

    Do I make sense here? Any other thoughts?

  • 16 years ago

    Yes. And the scape intakes the water through the cut at the bottom when you place it in water, so you have to do a fresh cut on the bottom every day. This way my seeds matured on my broken down scapes.

  • 16 years ago

    It makes perfect sense, Maria... a stem only intakes moisture and nutrition through the walls, so placing a cut stem into a glass of water and refreshing the cut every day would work best... and refreshing the water, as well... I would also keep the cut end trimmed on an angle so it had more edge exposed to the water for uptake...

  • 16 years ago

    Well that scape with Pink diamondXTop choice just turned yellow and mushy...yuck!

    I will cut up that drying scape of Chico and try the "scape in water method" AGAIN and cut the scape every day. The seedpod is just 2 weeks old, that would be a lot of!

    I just harvested my first seeds for 2008 the other day. Yayyyy!!! Pink StarXJade Serpent (18) and Jade SerpentXTop Choice (18). I did PStarXJS last year and has only given me one seedling. I hope I get more lucky with this batch.
    Jade Serpent IS very picky with it's partners and I have a lot of pollination failures with it.

  • 16 years ago

    My Jade Serpent didn't produce many flowers... it did the same as my Misty and Vesuvius... almost all the flower buds dried up and died before they got a chance to bloom... I'm still not sure why... Jade Serpent was able to open a flower or two, but I didn't pollinate them... it wasn't growing properly, so I didn't think it had the strength to produce seed pods. I'll try again next year, and in the meantime, those bulbs will go out to the garden to recharge for next time.

    I'm happy for you, harvesting your first seeds of the year! I've been harvesting for a while now, and I'm swamped in seeds! This is so awesome! So far, Limona and Pamela were my best seed producers! Tons! They were both selfs... I'm currently floating some of the Limona seeds, and I see little roots starting to reach down! Yippee!

  • 16 years ago

    Yayyy for Jodi! Isn't it so exciting? Good that the floating method worked for you. I do not get so lucky with it. So I'll just stick to my "doughnut greenhouse"!

    I just cut 3 scapes today and placed them in a glass with "lizalily's formula". In just a few hours, I have already noticed the drying scapes fatten up a bit. I hope they hold on till the seedpods mature. They are still so young, just 2 1/2 to 3 weeks old.

    Lizalily...I was just wondering about the white vinegar in your formula. What does this do to the cut scapes/flowers? I have different kinds of vinegars, does it really have to be white vinegar? I have a confession to make...I used sugar cane vinegar instead. I don't use white vinegar and that was the whitest vinegar I!

  • 16 years ago

    It's very exciting, Maria! I'm using the same type of containers you use, only mine are a bit smaller... I saved a bunch of them from potato salad and fried chicken pieces bought in the deli section of our local grocery store! The lids are attached on one side, and they're perfect for seed starting!

    I hope the "Lizalily" formula works for you, and your scapes continue to allow the seed pods to mature!

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