Propagation of Alocasia robusta from seeds

treefern(Z6 Vienna)March 31, 2005

A community friend begged me to post an inquiry. I hope that one of those specialists in this net could answer his question.

thanks

Peter

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Dear members,

I have to requested help about the propagation of Alocasia robusta from seeds. I'd received the seeds some time ago. When they arrived some fungi grew on the humid seeds. After removing and treating the seeds with a fungicide I planted them into sterilized coco peat-Perlite mix (1:1) and kept them slightly humid at 20-25°C. After two weeks all of the seeds were rotted. Amorphophallus seeds from the same source where kept under the same conditions and germinated quite well. I would like to try it again with A. robusta. But beforehand I would like to know if someone here has made experiences in germinating Alocasia seeds. Is it at all possible? If yes, what are the perfect conditions for successful germination? Where can I get good quality seeds? I had mine from http://www.borneo-palm-seed.com

Thanks a lot for your help in advance.

Best regards

Frank

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Community/Discussion group: http://www.baumfarn.at/treefern (http://www.baumfarn.at)

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lariann(z10 FL)

Frank,

I have had a good bit of experience germinating Alocasia seeds, so I will address your questions. Alocasia seeds are very easy to germinate, provided they are fresh. By "fresh", I mean that you remove them from the berry yourself and plant them immediately. Unless the supplier ships them moist, the drying out in transit will render them non-viable. I've had that happen with two different shipments of seeds, one of which was A. robusta. Some countries balk at allowing moist seeds out, but getting dry seeds is no better than getting small pebbles as far as the likelihood of getting plantlets is concerned.

I got some Alocasia seed from Sumatra Flora (Troy Davis at http://www.sumatraflora.com) and he shipped them to me moist, with excellent results. Some were beginning to germinate on arrival, and all of them germinated well.

I do not recommend getting Alocasia seed from anyone else unless you can be sure that they will be shipped fresh and moist; you can only ascertain that from others who have had success with a particular supplier.

Hope this helps,
LariAnn Garner
Aroidia Research

Here is a link that might be useful: Aroidia Research

    Bookmark   March 31, 2005 at 12:42PM
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Neil_London(Z10a)

Hi Frank,

Here are some Alocasia robusta seeds that have recently been germinated.

I got a load of seeds twice from www.malesiana.com at the end of last year. One thing I found is make sure you donÂt try and geminate them too hot, to they will just rot. The best temperatures are 20-22°C at nights and 27-28°C in the days.

I found starting them off in pure perlite that is just moist, but not soggy, so the perlite is still free and not sticking together, but still has some moisture. I soaked the seeds in a mild copper based fungicide, called ÂCheshunt CompoundÂ, not sure were you live, but there are many copper based fungicides that will do the trick. They were then placed in a large zipper bag with pure slightly moist perlite, and put near a radiator, rather then a constant 24-hour heat source like a heated mat, propagator, or airing cupboard. The heat fluctuations do help with germination a lot. Once the tiny new shoot shows even a little as a white dot on the seed, I planted them out before they differentiate up from down in ordered lines in 50% perlite and 50% loam based seed compost about 8mm deep and 1cm apart in a plastic container, that then sat in a large plastic zipper bag for humidity. I also gave them bottom heat, and kept my eye on them, and they all (yes all) came up, and I had 100% germination with this method.

The most important thing is 1. Fresh seed. 2. Plenty of free air and oxygen around them, especially the root area. 3. Constant mild heat, but never too hot. 4. High humidity at all times.

The only disappointed thing that I donÂt like about Alocasia robusta is itÂs constant need for high humidity. It seems to intensely hate low humidity, and so is very difficult to get to a large size unless you live in a humid climate or have a big greenhouse/conservatory that has good climate control.

Anyhow, good luck, and let us know how you get on, and post some pics.

Regards,

Neil

PS. You might get lucky, and get a few ones with weird leaves, (I have a few), and they may turn out to be real stunners and unique when they are a bit bigger. IÂm also hoping to get at least one that might be more tolerant of low humidity, as it would be a much more popular plant than the basic species.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 2:54PM
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FrankBln(Berlin DE)

Dear group members,
now I am also a member of this group. I originally wrote this post and Peter was so kind to put it here.
Thanks a lot for your replies. They are very helpful for me. In the meantime I have ordered A. robusta seeds again. From Malesiana and from Sumatra Flora. Actually I did it the same way as Neil described, but none of them germinated. Maybe I kept them to wet - I will try it in pure Perlite (could Vermiculite be an option?). But as I mentioned the seeds already arrived overgrown with fungi...so probably they were already dead....Neil, your Alocasias are very nice. Hope I can provide the same pictures in the near future.
As a fungicide I use a sulphur compound that works very well with the germination of Cycad seeds, which are very sensitive to rot and fungal attack.
Neil, how long did the seeds take to germinate...?
Thank you both for your help and best regards.

Frank from Berlin, germany

P.S.: The high humidity could be a problem, since I don't have a greenhouse (yet). :-) But have some experiences in growing plants that need high humidity (e.g. Treeferns)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 5:32PM
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Neil_London(Z10a)

Hi Frank,

Sorry to hear your seeds arrived infected with mould. I would not use vermiculite as it tends to get a bit soggy after a while, and also sticks to seeds restricting the airflow and oxygen. Once you have soaked your seeds in a fungicide solution, make sure itÂs not too strong as this can inhibit germination. I donÂt know what affect sulphur has on them, as I only used a copper based one. Make sure the seed is dry looking when you put it in a large zipper bag with some perlite (not too much), and make sure the seeds can move above without getting stuck to the perlite, and make sure they donÂt look wet and shiny. If they sick, itÂs probably too wet, and you may invite rot or asphyxiation. Ensure the bag is 95% air, and 5% perlite and seeds, and refresh the air each day by simply blowing into it. Quality food zipper bags (the ones with the reseal strip) are best as they can be inflated like a small pillow with air, and sealed airtight, and you can see whatÂs going on inside.

As for germination times, the first ones of mine germinated within a few days, and all within three weeks (about 40 seeds). I took out the germinated ones immediately, before they differentiated and formed a shoot and root, (as they form a small nodule first at the side of the seed, then decide where up and down are, and then divide into a shoot and roots, so be careful you donÂt sow the germinated ones too late or you may plant them upside down!). I planted them up in a perlite/loam mix, with little water, they were sealed and so the humidity kept them going for a while. Make sure you do not over water, as this species is quite fussy and temperamental, and can rot off or suffocate if the roots do not get enough oxygen and airflow. Once the seeds have soaked, they will not need any more water and cannot absorb anymore until they start growing. As long as the air is humid they will be fine, and wonÂt dry out, they do not need to be wet, or in wet perlite, but just a little moist perlite and free flowing, not sticking together.

The only thing I can think of is make sure they are not cooked at high temperatures. They will easily geminate at 20-27°C, and keep the air fresh each day in the bag.

ThatÂs about it Frank. If some of your new seeds have mould on them, this may not be a bad omen, as it is sometimes just the residue of the seedÂs flesh that has not been cleaned off properly, and not internal rot. Make sure you wipe off all the mycelium (white/grey cobweb filaments) and give a good soak in a fungicide mix for a few hours before sowing, and make sure all your bags, perlite, and water are all clean and hygienic, and you should have too many seedlings to know what to do with in a few weeks! At least when you have lots of plants, you can experiment with all sorts of growing methods, and tolerances.

Good luck!

Neil

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 12:45PM
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Albert_from_Belgium(z7b/8a Belgium)

Hello all,
I already read this forum for a long time, but registered just today.
Today I received 20 seeds of Alocasia robusta from www.malesiana.com and I am going to germinate them in pure perlite. I really hope I can get same succes as Neil and LariAnn. I will let you know about my success rate.

Best Regards,

Albert Belgium

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 9:50AM
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FrankBln(Berlin DE)

Hello Neil,

thanks again for your very detailed protocol....
I now will get seeds from Sumatraflora and few seeds from malesiana.....I will report on my success or failure...
Thanks
Best

Frank

P.S.: Hello Albert, nice to meet you here :-)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 11:21AM
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