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Germination instructions for palms
Germination instructions for cycads
Germination instructions for bananas, heliconias, strelitzias, aroids, gingers and screw pines
Germination instructions for agave, yucca and related plants
Germination instructions for tree ferns
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germination comments:
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We need your help! To add to rarepalmseeds.com as an information resource for the palm
community, we would like to collect your experiences on the germination of palm seeds and other seeds. This will become an invaluable knowledge database for everyone! The more responses we receive, the more representative the information will be. So, if you have germination experiences to share, please fill in the form below.

By submitting your comments you automatically enter to win one of 4 vouchers for seeds worth Euro 50 / Euro 75 every year. The winners will be chosen once per year and will receive the voucher by e-mai. They can then select any species listed on our website. Submitted comments will be published on our web site. You can submit comments on as many species as you like. The more submissions you make, the greater your chances are of winning!

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Seeds from this species ...

...are easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
This plant does not deserve its reputation for difficult germination. Seeds must be FRESH for success. Results of almost 100% can be obtained. The fresh seeds are soaked in water for a couple of days after some gentle scarification with a steel file - well away from the three pores.Place in a sterile medium -vermiculite is better than perlite and place where the temperature will not go over 27C (81F) Expect first to germinate within three weeks and the rest to follow within two to three months.They need a deep container as the taproot is up to 15cm long.
Submitted on 11/30/2001 by Adam St.Clair

   
   
 

The winners
2001: Jim Murphy, Dennis Lutge, Mike Jamison
2002: Jens Bluetling, José M. Zerolo
2003: Patricia Mary Boyle, Sergei Leonov
2004: Rob Stacewicz, Patrick Jacklin
2005: Betty Jones, Chris Wolfe
2006: Markus Michel, Vincent LeJeune, Ricardo Sànchez Vàzquez
2007: Ignacio Urzúa, Vida Sopheap, Gary Fisher, Anton
2008: Anthony, B. Jung, Vida Sopheap, Marco Witt
2009: Justin, K. Kuné, E. Ulaszek, Ramón J.
2010: Matt Weiss, Dr. J, René Bosshard, Jesse Blenn
2011: Angelina Chamizo Checa, Le Page, Federico Minghetti, Jean-Luc Delorme
2012: Mike Organista, Marlena Fairbourne, J. Hamilton, Adam Grant
2013: Giorgio Resendiz Brun, Héctor Pérez Macías, Thomas Bach, Roberto Curion

The winners for 2014 will be selected in January 2015.

• Winners will be selected once a year from all comments rarepalmseeds.com receives via its website within this 12 month period.
• To ensure a high quality of comments we reserve the right to exclude comments that are only a few words long or identical comments submitted several times for different species.
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  germination instructions for palms
 

The following are general tips that will work for all species.

If the seeds appear dry, soak them in warm water for 1-3 days. For sowing, use peat, cocofiber, or similar media. It should be moist but not wet. Take a fistful. If you can just squeeze a couple of drops of water from it, then it is about right. If you can squeeze more, then it is too wet. If too dry, add a little water and try again. Mix the seeds with the moist compost and place into a clear plastic (ziploc) bag, label with species name and date, and seal.

No light is required for germination. Tropical species such as Licuala, Bismarckia or Cyrtostachys require heat, around 30°C/90°F. Temperate species such as Trachycarpus, Ceroxylon or Parajubaea will germinate at lower temperatures, and heat may actually prevent germination. You may want to check our website for individual requirements.

Check weekly for signs of activity by looking for white roots through the plastic. Ensure that the medium does not dry out. The seeds can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years (or more) to germinate; however, most will sprout after 4-6 weeks.

After the seeds have sprouted, plant each in a tall, narrrow pot using a well-drained medium, label, and place in ample light, but not in full sun. Aim to keep the soil moist (but not wet) at all times, feed and pot on as required.

More information can be found in the species archive and in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). We also recommend consulting one of the many books on palms available through this website, as well as articles on germination in the various Palm Society magazines. See links below.

For more precise and exhaustive germinating instructions also check out our booklist!

 
  germination instructions for cycads
 

The following are general tips that will work for all species.

If the seeds appear dry, soak them in warm water for 1-3 days. Desiccation may result in the seeds moving around in the shell when shaken. This does not affect their viability. Most cycad seeds sink in water, which is an easy way to check their viability. Seeds of some species though float naturally, such as Cycas thouarsii and C. litoralis.

For sowing, use a free draining mix of peat, cocofiber and sand, perlite, or similar media. It should be kept moist but not wet. Fill a pot and bury the seeds only halfway in the compost. Cover with clear plastic and label with species name and date. The baggie method, as recommended for palms, will also work but seeds should best stay on top of the compost.

No light is required for germination. Most cycads germinate best at temperatures between 25 and 30°C (75 to 90°F). Check weekly for signs of activity by looking for white roots through the plastic. Ensure that the medium does not dry out. Most cycads will sprout after 4-8 weeks.

After the seeds have sprouted, plant each in a tall, narrrow pot using a well drained medium, label, and place in ample light. Species from drier habitats can take full sun from early age. Aim to keep the soil moist but never wet, feed and pot on as required.

More information can be found in the species archive and in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). We also recommend consulting one of the books on cycads available through this website.

For more precise and exhaustive germinating instructions also check out our booklist!

 
  germination instructions for bananas, heliconias, strelitzias, aroids, gingers and screw pines (pandanus)
 

The following are general tips that will work for all species.

If the seeds appear dry, soak them in warm water for 1-3 days. Pandanus seeds will float, all others should sink in water. For sowing, use peat, cocofiber, or similar media. It should be moist but not wet. Take a fistful. If you can just squeeze a couple of drops of water from it, then it is about right. If you can squeeze more, then it is too wet. If too dry, add a little water and try again. Mix the seeds with the moist compost and place into a clear plastic (ziploc) bag, label with species name and date, and seal.

Place seeds in a well lit spot but out of direct sunlight, at temperatures between 25 and 30°C (75 to 90°F). Most bananas benefit from hot days and cooler nights for best germination.

Check weekly for signs of activity by looking for shoots. Ensure that the medium does not dry out. The seeds can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a year (or more) to germinate; however, most will sprout after 4-6 weeks.

After the seeds have sprouted, carefully transfer to a pot, label, fertilize and place in bright light, but not in full sun. Aim to keep the soil moist (but not wet) at all times, feed and pot on as required.

More information can be found in the species archive and in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

 
  germination instructions for agave, yucca and related plants
 

The following are general tips that will work for all species.

For sowing, use a gritty mix of peat, cocofiber, vermiculite and perlite, sand or similar media. Fill shallowly in trays or pots and sow the seeds on the surface. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil, about as thick as the seeds are. Label with species name and date. Do not cover with plastic or glass.

Place trays or pots at temperatures between 25 and 30°C (75 to 90°F) in a brightly lit spot but out of full sun and keep slightly damp but never wet. Seeds will sprout reliably after a few days or weeks.

When the seedlings are well established, plant them in individual pots, using a very well drained medium, label, and place in bright light. Once rooted, with few exceptions, they can take full sun in all but the hottest climates. Feed and pot on as required. Excellent drainage is essential for most Agaves and Yuccas.

More information can be found in the species archive and in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

 
  germination instructions for tree ferns
 

The following are general tips that will work for all species.

Like all ferns, tree ferns produce spores not seeds. These spores are of microscopic size and will produce a translucent moss-like growth called a prothallus a few weeks after sowing. From this, the actual plants will grow. Reproducing ferns from spores requires patience and very clean equipment to avoid infections with bacteria, fungus or mosses.

A nursery tray or similar plastic container is best for sowing spores. Plant pots are usually too tall. Fill the tray with a few centimeters of substrate such as peat, sphagnum, perlite or a mix from a bag. Cocopeat often has a high salt content that may damage the plants and is not recommended. The easiest option to sterilize the mixture is by pouring boiling water over it. The downside of this method is that you cannot assure that the entire substrate was thoroughly heated through and usually it will be soaking wet when it should just be moist for sowing the spores. More effective is placing the entire tray in a microwave and heat through until steaming. To be even more effective, let cool and repeat the process.

Once cooled, sparingly sprinkle the spores on the surface. Bad results often come from sowing the spore too densely. Cover with a sheet of glass or plastic wrap, leaving a very small gap for ventilation, and place in a well lit spot but out of direct sunlight as that could overheat the container. Keep at around 20°C or a little warmer for lowland tropical tree ferns. You should see some condensation on the cover.

After a few weeks you should see the prothalli forming. The first tiny fronds should appear a few weeks or months later. Allow a little more air in through the cover to harden the plants off a little. When they are big enough to grab, pot them up in a free draining, humus-rich mixture. Keep them covered and slowly harden them off to outside conditions.

More information can be found in the species archive and in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

 
  links
 

Palm Seed Germination by Alan W. Meerow, University of Florida
A Practical Guide to Germinating Palm Seeds by Jeff Marcus & Ken Banks, USA
Germinating Jubaea by Michel Lambreghts
An excellent 'How to' article about the tricky business of germinating the seeds of our biggest palm, Jubaea chilensis, together with the very best Jubaea photo we've ever seen.
Early Conclusions on Germinating Parajubaea by Angelo Porcelli
The Cycad Pages by the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

The following articles are only available to members of the European Palm Society (you can easily join online):
Germinating Palm Seeds by Stefan Mifsud
Not before time, an article telling you what you've always wanted to know about this ancient craft. Step-by-step instructions.
Trachycarpus oreophilus - The Thai Mountain Fan Palm
Restricted to a tiny area in N. Thailand, it's turned out to be as difficult to collect good seeds as it is to germinate them. May be a while before this one is available at your local garden centre.
Happy (or Crazy) Germination!? by Joerg Schuman
Have patience when it comes to germinating palm seeds, and don't give up too soon. So advises
Germany's Joerg Schuman

Need to know more? Ask other palm enthusiasts on the International Palm Society Message Board
It's the best place to get answers to your questions about palms. Lots of experienced and knowledgeable palm enthusiasts, authors and experts frequent this board.

Haven't found the seeds you are looking for? Check out Karen Platt's book "Seed Search"

   
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