Friday, March 7, 2014

What is pelletized seed?

Cyclamen Metis Mini Flamed (Honestly I don't know the actual colour) Click here to see a slideshow of this week's Pungent Spec. load.

Hi Peter,
Do you know where I can purchase the petunia Blueberry/Lime Jam I have looked at every Bunnings store where they were supposed to be selling it but to no avail. Thanks for your newsletter each time I am looking forward to the Garden show to see what baskets are being shown this year.
kind regards

I'll ignore the reference to looking at Bunnings!  Petunia Blueberry Lime Jam (Sorry I can't find a pic) was a great idea from one of our seed companies in 2012 (you will quickly work out why I don't name them).  When we buy Petunia seed and many other seeds we buy "Pelleted" seed.  Pelletizing is a process where the seed is given a clay based coating that gives it  a uniform size & shape to make it easier to sow, especially when we use a machine to sow seed. What if 2 or more small seeds (like Petunia, imagine an undersized Poppy seed) were bundled in the pellet? Especially if they were carefully selected so that the colours matched or created a 'special' combination. That was the idea behind the Petunia Blueberry Lime Jam a combination of a rich, velvety dark blue (some might say purple) and a fresh, light lime green.  Sounds great, looked great, but unfortunately because of the variability of seed germination and vigour of the 2 plants we and other growers got an awful lot of straight blue Petunia pots. Unfortunately straight Blue Petunia pots don't sell anywhere near as well as fancy Blueberry Lime Jam colour combinations and a lot of plants went to Mt Scotsburn (our dump heap).  

Add to the growing issues the fact that the combination was one of the most striking innovations in Petunia colours in many years so all the growers jumped on the NEW product in 2012.  The seed supplier had so many complaints they pulled the variety off the market for 2013.  Long story, but that's why it can't be found.  Lesson? Always trial small batches, no matter how promising the NEW variety looks. We never know how many other growers will pick up the new item and we never know in advance what subtleties there are to growing a particular plant.

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