Light and Germination

While researching strawberry germination I ran across references to the effect of far red light on germination. The reference says that far red light inhibits germination of lettuce but enhances strawberry germination. I filed it in the back of my mind. It was in the file named “How can that be possible?”.

In a recent test, I was looking at a variety of germination aids. I do germination trials in petri dishes. All the petri dishes for the trial was placed under the lights we use to grow indoors. It so happens that we are doing a light test at the same time. We are alternating LED lights with single tube T5’s that have 2700k bulbs (these are REALLY far red, around 1073 nm if my calculations are correct).

Normally I don’t even look at the petri dishes for germinating seeds for 6 or 7 days. After years of experience this is the earliest that I’d expect germ. I do check the dishes to make sure they have not dried out though. Low and behold, I started seeing germination on the 3rd day. Not just one seed here and there, but dozens of seeds from most of the selections (varieties). It then dawned on me about the far red lights. The germination tests had accidentally been exposed to conditions that were not planned out.

Since then more online research has uncovered some pretty interesting info. It seems that most references to the far red spectrum mean around 700+ nm. I have some 4100k T5 bulbs that I’m going to try another germ test, this one with fewer surprises, hopefully.

I will also mention that I allowed the germ tests to finish under these lights. It turns out that almost all selections had excellent germination and that germination was complete in 2 weeks. This is about half the time we allow for these tests. There are always straglers. Not only did the lights affect the onset of germination, it accelerated it. One should not jump to conclusions like this after one trial but I now have enough info to warrant more testing.

Pineberry Seeds

It seems that the number of questions about pineberry seed are increasing and the frequency of those questions is increasing as well. Pineberries are hybrids. Their genus is Fragaria but the species is ananassa. It is not a good idea to save seeds of hybrids unless you are a plant breeder. Seed of hybrids will NOT produce seedlings that are true to the parents. You might get a plant or two that are similar to the parents but you will have to plant perhaps thousands of seeds to get one.

I have seen sellers on online auctions selling pineberry seeds. Someone told me on Facebook today that they ordered some of these seeds. When the order arrived the seeds were market ‘White Soul’. This is a selection of Fragaria vesca, a completely different species of strawberries. They are the same genus but that’s where the comparisons end. They grow totally different and the fruit is totally different in size, taste, aroma, etc.

I have noticed online that some sellers are listing ‘White Soul’ but showing a picture of the fruit of pineberries. Buyer beware!!

We do not save pineberry seeds and we don’t recommend that anyone saves or sells them unless the seeds are going to be used by a legitimate plant breeder.