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Sowing tips for some species

See also Germination time

Growing coffee from seeds

Guava (psidium sp.)

You can buy a guava or grow it from the pit. The hard pits must he clean of the fleshy fruit, so after eating wash the pit in warm water and get it started right away. Cover the pit with about 1/4 inch of soil and keep it in a warm, bright place. The first shoots should appear in two to four weeks.

Avocado (Persea americana)

Part of the avocado's popularity is due to the tact that the pit is easy to get started. Put the pit in the soil or water base downward-that is, the broadest part of the pit. If in soil, don't embed the pit too deeply; cover it with about one-half inch ot soil. Be sure the avocado plant has sufficient drainage; although it isn't choosy about soil it is particular about stagnant water at the roots. The plant has a tendency to shoot straight upward, so once it is growing well, clip off the top to encourage side branching or it will get leggy and unattractive. Even so, you may have to stake the plant to keep it upright. Repot the avocado frequently (every six months), each time to a larger pot. Eventually you can transplant it into the garden and you'll have a handsome tree.

Mango (mangifera indica)

There are several ways of starting this plant. A pit can be started either by drying it first for a few days, by soaking it in water for a few days, or by nicking its edge with a knife. In any case, first clean the pit by rubbing it with a stiff brush. (Wear gloves if you have sensitive skin - the mango does not like to be fondled, it can cause a rash.) Set the pit on end with the "eye" up and suspend it (as you would an avocado) with toothpicks in water or in starter mix so that the bottom inch or two is in the medium. Put the container in a warm, bright place; sprouts should appear in a month. Transfer the seedling to rich soil outdoors. Firm the soil around the collar of the plant but do not bury the stem. Keep soil evenly moist.

Persimmons (diospyros sp.)

Germination is erratic and may take from 2 to 10 weeks. Put the seed in some sphagnum moss after you've eaten the fruit. Store the seed and moss in a closed bag in the refrigerator for ninety days. Then sow the seed, covering it with a shallow layer of soil. Give it warmth and bright light and keep your fingers crossed.

Passiflora edulis

Passion fruit can be started from seed as soon as the fruit is available. Plant seed in a light soil and provide high humidity and warmth (78 F). Germination should start in a month or less. When the seedling is 2 to 3 inches tall, put it in an individual pot. Keep it in a bright place with moderate temperatures, avoid extremes.

Albizias, Bauhinias, Colliandras and other plants of Mimosaceae and Fabaceae family

Seeds germinate well without scarification, but germination may be improved by immersing seed in boiling water for 3 seconds and then allowing it to cool and dry. Research has shown that seeds will germinate more readily if the seed coat is disrupted. This should be accomplished by either soaking the seeds in hot water for three minutes followed by soaking in tap water for 24 hours or by soaking in tap water for 6 hours. The seeds should be sown at a depth of 1-2 cm. Direct sowing is possible, but rows must be well-weeded for a few years. Another method is to raise seedlings in nursery beds for one year or more and then transplant them as stumps with about 25 cm root and 10 cm shoot.

Peltophorum africanum

To propagate Peltophorun africanum fresh seed must be placed in hot water and left overnight to soak. Sow the following morning in flat seedling trays or directly into black nursery bags filled with a mixture of river sand and compost (5:1); keep moist. Germination percentage is high; seeds take 3-10 days to germinate. Seedlings and young plants transfer well.

Tropical Bulbs

Bulbs should be planted at a depth where the "neck" is just under the soil line. If you feel you live in an environment that might be borderline for plant hardiness, you can probably get away with placing the bulb at a depth that has the "neck" about 1" below the soil line. When planting bulbs in groups, place them about 2" apart. If your bulb has living roots, dig the hole so the roots may be spread out. Just like spring bulbs, these benefit from a handful of bone meal per one or two bulbs in the planting hole. Water in thoroughly. They prefer a well-drained soil and full sunlight. They are quite forgiving with soil quality. Because most of them bloom in response to cycles of water deprivation and surplus, they are excellent for inducing bloom in potted culture, too.

To be continued...