Happy (or Crazy) Germination!?
Have patience when it comes to germinating palm
seeds, and don't give up too soon. So advises Germany's Joerg Schuman
by Jörg Schumann, Rathausplatz 2, 09247 Röhrsdorf,
Chamaerops No.37, Winter Edition 2000
Acrocomia, a beautiful but spiny palm.
A few years ago I started growing palms. I had several
species, but only one of each species which I bought in some nurseries.
In 1990 I first collected some seeds of Archontophoenix cunninghamiana
and Syagrus romanzoffianum in La Palma/Canary Islands. I didnt
have any experience in germinating palm seeds at this time. The
success was a germination rate of 100 %. It worked! I wasnt
prepared for that, and found that I had more palms than I expected;
and so, this when I started to think about selling palms. Now, ten
years later, I can make a review of so many different experiences
in growing palms and in germinating palm seeds. As such, I decided
to share those experiences with others, and here I invite you to
take a look at what Ive discovered.
What is the most important thing you have to think
about when you want to germinate palm seeds? They must be fresh!
Or not? Most of you may say - what else?
Well, you may be right for nearly all palm seeds, because most of
the seeds will lose their viability after a few months, some even
after a few weeks. In my opinion most of the tropical palm seeds
will lose their viability faster than the seeds from cold hardy
palms. The reason for this could be that the sprouts are damaged
by cold temperatures when they grow more quickly. But is fresh best
all the time? My experience says not necessarily.
In 1997 I got some seeds of Acrocomia totai, a species
I was very interested in. No seedlings or young plants were available
at this time, so I bought some seeds from Toby Spanner. I had a
look at the seeds every week for a year after sowing. Nothing! Then
I lost my interest and put the seeds in a far corner, and after
some time I forgot about them. The seeds did not have any humidity
and were completely dried up by December 1999. By chance I rediscovered
the seeds after Christmas 1999, and since I felt sorry for the dry
globes, I poured some water over them, but I never really thought
that there was still life in them.
I dont know why, but after three weeks I had
a look in and - to my surprise - some seeds were germinated! I couldnt
believe that, after such hard times, the seeds were still good.
But one after another started to germinate. Apparently they liked
I remembered this event after sowing some seeds of
Licuala spinosa in winter 1998. Most of them germinated well after
some weeks, but some of the seeds didnt do anything. There
was a germination rate of 80%, and this was ok for me. After potting
the seedlings, I mixed the germinating substrate together with another
substrate without giving it much thought. After repotting a large
Pseudophoenix sargentii some time later, I saw that some sprouts
had come up from Down under. What was this? A couple
of weeks later it was clear: This was Licuala spinosa! After 20
Now I wont be surprised when some sprouts come
up next to my Carpentaria or next to my Johannestejismannia. Ill
wait a while and then it is clear. Here a seedling of Coccothrinax
miraguama, there a seedling of Arenga porphyrocarpa, and here a
seedling of Beccariophoenix...its full of suspense. From these
experiences I can tell you never to throw away your used germinating
substrates! The experience I had with Acrocomia should be the same
for Phytelephas or Parajubaea: It seems that they must dry out for
a longer time (Phytelephas for instance up to 3 years!).
Let me tell you two of the important things I learned
through all this: Dont believe all that is written in books
about germination times, and dont throw away the seeds until
they are really gone. Note these rules, and you will experience
pleasant surprises from time to time, and maybe even increase your
germination rates like I have. Maybe some of you have had the same
experiences, or completey different ones. Take a pencil or your
computer and write it down for CHAMAEROPS. Wed like to hear
about it. Happy (crazy) germination to all of you!
08-08-20 - 11:40GMT
|| What's New?
|| New palm book
| Date: 24-05-2004
of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft.
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| Date: 24-05-2004
has been published in the Members Area.
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by Mario Stähler
This german book tells you all about how to cultivate your palms in Central Europe. more...