Q: Dear Dave,
I have some old seeds of various unnamed C. pubescens varieties that I am going to try and start this February. Most are 6-8 years old, if I read the info correctly. Last year I had very poor germination with 3 Rocoto varieties and ended up with only 7 plants out of 100+ seeds. Do you think that C. pubescens require a different seed-starting technique than other species? Could the thick seed coat have anything to do with it? I only have 5-6 seeds of each variety and that is just not enough for me to experiment without some expert advice. Please help!
A: Hello John:
Yes, Rocotos are great. I have red and yellow ones (manzanos and canarios) ripe in my greenhouse. I think that your seeds are old and will not have good germination percentages. Seeds lose their viability over time, although this can be remedied by freezing the seeds. Seed banks use cryogenic storage. My young Rocoto seeds germinate very easily and quickly, so I don’t think it’s a seed coat problem.