Have you Started Coonties (Cycads) from Seeds?

love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)March 11, 2011

I have two coontie seed cones. I have been searching around for information on the best way to germinate coonties from seed. Have you ever done it? How did it go? Please give me your tips.

Here are pictures of the cones - one with the flash and one without.



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I have started coontie and cardboard plants from seed. Be warned, it takes forever for them to germinate, and another forever for them to get any size on them. My ex was a "cycad expert" and this is what he did: strip the fleshy seeds from the pod. Soak them in a bucket of water overnight and the orange fleshy goop will come off. You will be left with hard seeds. He had a germination bed just for coontie and just threw the seed into it and covered slightly with soil. Then you just forget about them for about 4 to 6 months. Nothing will make them sprout any sooner. Apparently they must have a rest period before they will grow. Then one day, you will look and there they are! We transplanted when they were about 3 inches high. Good luck with yours.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 9:33PM
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I took another look at your seed pods and it's possible that you picked them too soon. Best to get them when they are bursting open and you can actually see the orange seed.
These may not be viable.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 9:41PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

You may be right. These coonties are half covered in oak leaves - they are really deep in oak leaves. I had to really move the leaves around to get down to the center to where the cones might be. I have a suspicion that the cone on the left is from a year ago (spring 2010). It was under such a thick layer of leaves that it never completely dried or dispersed. The one on the right appeared to be new and yes, I did twist it off to remove it from the plant. I bet I should have left it alone for a few more months.

Do you think the seeds from the dark cone on the left might be viable?

I am going to remove all of the oak leaves and clean up the coonties so that I may catch a cone at the right time in the future.

Thanks so much for the help!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 9:50PM
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My experience is the same as bunnyhouse and the advice about getting the orange stuff off is good. They take forever to grow but are really worth it.

I just walked out to take a picture of this coontie and seed pod so you can see what it looks like. This plant is about 3 feet by 3 feet and I grew it from seed. It took around 7 years to get to this size.

Good luck. I love coonties and they are expensive to buy. Probably because they take so long to grow.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 2:01PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

I wish you could have just heard my big "ohhhhhhhhhhh" when I saw your pictures. Now I get it. That's what they are supposed to look like. Thank you so much for taking the time to post photos - I really appreciate it. I may have a chance with the darker cone. I will go take a good look at it. I bet I have no chance with the light orange cone that I removed too early.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 4:29PM
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Carol - Just bend that cone a bit and see if the seeds are under the brown coating. You really can't hurt it at this point so just give it a go. The ones on mine usually break open on their own like that one in the picture.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 5:11PM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Carol, if you're coming to Silvia's get-together do you want any cardboard palm seeds? I took about 75 seedlings to Lori last year at her Tampa swap party. I cut my cardboard palm frawns back every year and find either tons of seeds or tons of babies, depending on how early in the spring I do it. I cut the frawns off Saturday and here are pictures I took early this morning.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 6:58PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)


Yes, I am planning to go to Sylvia's wonderful Garden Party. I am looking for a white linen outfit and large hat in which to sip my Mint Julep, er, lemonade. It would be fabulous if you would bring me a seed or two of the ZZ plant. I need to post an update on the coontie seeds but will leave that for tomorrow.

I posted my Swap List over on the Exchange forum Oakland Swap thread. Please let me know if there is anything I should set aside for you!

Thank you for your generosity!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 7:16PM
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