Index > Garden Blog

Date: 24 Jun 2018, Entry id: 1529837048

Growing tropicals from seeds.

From Kristi the Wizard of Rose: I grow many plants from seeds, both for my personal collection, and for TopTropicals. I receive many questions from customers who want to grow tropical plants from seeds. Some of them live in colder climates and try to extend growing season of their tropical collections by starting new varieties early in the year from seeds. These are a few tips that may be helpful.

Q: What do I need to do to speed up germination process?

A: Many factors affect germination. Considering you get fresh seeds (for example from TopTropicals) and Mother Nature gives them a good kick start, there are a few things that may speed up germination:
1) Scarification. Large seeds with a hard outer shell can be slightly sanded down just enough for moisture to get inside to wake up the seed during the pre-soaking. Be careful not to damage the seed. See example of Lotus seed scarification.
2) Pre-soaking. We recommend pre-soaking most of the seeds for only a few hours (3-8 depending on species. Some seeds are very sensitive to moisture and may start rotting if stay wet without air circulation. Small seeds, especially tiny ones like dust, should not be soaked.
3) SUNSHINE-S treatment. Adding a few drops of SUNSHINE-S booster when pre-soaking seeds increases their germination rate 3-5 times.
4) Temperature. Warm temperatures help germination. If grown indoors, put seeds containers or trays in the warmest spot of your house; you may use heat pads. Outdoors, putting them in full sun helps a lot, just don't let soil to dry out.

Use only special porous seed germination mix to provide air circulation and prevent seeds from rotting.

Q: Should I keep seeds in refrigerator before planting?

A: Do not refrigerate tropical seeds. Stratification (treatment with cold) works only for temperate species, and some subtropical (like non-tropical Magnolias)

Q: How do you grow eucalyptus from seeds? I tried a few times with no success.

A: The secret of germinating tiny seeds like eucalyptus is - to sow them on top of the moist soil surface (soil must be very fine and soft), without covering. Keep container covered with clear plastic, in bright light. Use spray bottle to keep surface moist but not soggy. I have a customer who germinates eucalyptus seeds using an old fish tank, covered with a glass. Perfect environment - bright light and moist all the time.