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Copyright © Frank Glavin

Copyright © Tobias Reichert

Copyright © Tobias Reichert


Ensete livingstonianum (= Ensete gilletii)

A rare, smallish Ensete from the highlands of western tropical Africa to Malawi, where it is said to grow in grasslands between 900 and 1100 m (2900 to 3600 ft.). During the dry season it can die down to the large corm. In cultivation it has been virtually unknown.

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germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Soaking for 24 to 48 hours in lukewarm water and sowing warm (25-30 C) resulted in good germination. The plants are growing well, but as all Ensetes are relatively difficult to overwinter in a cold climate (Z 7). Keeping them dry should be the trick!
Submitted on 23/01/2010 by Remko

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I purchased these seeds and due to renovations did not bother trying to germinatethem for over a year. I put them in justmoist peat moss mix and kept them between86 and 92 deg. F. Within 5 days the first sprout was showing, within 8 days 3 out of10 had sprouted. Unbelievably easy to germinate and amazingly fast. Even thoughthe seeds were sitting around for a longtime prior to germination they were the easiest banana seeds I ever germinated. Excellent choice for the first timer thatwants to try growing banana plants from seeds.
Submitted on 30/08/2009 by Chris Wolfe

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Simply add water!!! :-) Honestly! 30% germination during the first month without any problem. Musa and Ensete never germinate all at once, so this is a pretty good result.
Submitted on 29/10/2008 by one of our visitors

... are easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
The 10 sds were soaked in water for 3 days with daily water change. they were then sown into a clear plastic container with moist commercial seed mix. The day temp was around mid 100F and the night temp was 80+F. The first 5 shoots came up in 30 days! 2 more followed a week later. I am leaving them in the 'com' pot wrapped with a clear plastic bag to see if the other 3 sds will sprout. Thanks Toby, for making such a rare plant available. I am sure I am the 1st guy to germinate them in Malaysia.
Submitted on 12/09/2008 by Tog Tan, Malaysia

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
These Ensete seeds don't seem to need heat in order to germinate. Seeds were soaked for 36 hours, changing the water every 12 hours or so, and then sterilized in a 10% bleach solution for 10 minutes. I sowed 100 of them in a plastic box (with lid), and the media was 75% coco coir, 25% perlite. I sowed them on top of the medium, and gently pressed them in so that half of the seed was buried. I had no room on my heat mat, so they had no heat for the first 2 weeks (ambient room temps at about 72F). However, I had my first sprout in 13 days! Quickest germination from any banana for me so far. Since then, 21 more have sprouted in less than a month, and I expect more to follow (which is why I said up to 3 months... it can be much sooner!). Seedling growth is vigorous, as with all Ensete species. My heat mat is on for 8 hours, 16 off.
Submitted on 09/09/2008 by Frank Glavin

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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