Palm Propagation Problems

amarettoJuly 20, 2006

Greetings, all

I've been checking out this forum and its advice for a while, particularly on palm seed germination. A light finally turned on and I decided to join.

I've been trying to germinate seeds from my royal palm and another (not yet identified).

I've tried various combinations of:

- Seeds in different stages of ripeness (well, at least before the squirrels get to them). If I'm lucky enough to find one on the ground with a little orange, I grab it, peal it, and if it sinks in water, I plant it.

- Soil, moss

- Sinking in water for 24 hrs (with float test)

So far, all the seeds (about 50 of them), havent' shedded so much as a root, and it's been about 4-5 weeks now.

Any advice on how to pull this off will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

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bigdogg30

I don't know if Royal Palm and Canary Island Date Palm germination are similar but I just germinated/am germinating 30 CIDP seeds. I bought seeds off ebay and recieved them with the outer coat stripped off. I then placed them in water for 2-3 days at room temp. I put 4-5 seeds in a tupperware square with a top on full of straight vermiculite and after 4 weeks nothing happened. I put 4-5 in straight soil in tupperware w/ top on and soil slight moist and 3 of 9 had germinated in just 3 weeks. I then took the ones in vermiculite and substituded the vermiculite with a mix of soil and vermiculite and a couple of those germinated in about 2 weeks after I put them in the second mixture. I also put a mix of vermiculite and soil in a bag and put 3 seeds in there and put a little water in the baggie and I had the best reasults with this mix. I got the mix to be pretty wet and after 3 weeks 2 of the 3 germinated and both had good sized roots growing. (1 inch or more)
Another very important thing is a lot of heat for the seeds. I put them in my porch with no A/C and it heats up like a greenhouse.

Look at the link at the bottom and click on your Royal type and lots of instructions will be posted there from other people germinating Royals

Here is a link that might be useful: Royal Germination Tips

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 1:33PM
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mattyb1(10A San Diego)

Amaretto, I don't know where you live but it must be pretty warm area if you're picking Royal seeds off of the ground. You might want to try bottom heat @ around 90F-95F. Even if your day temps are hot it will cool down at night. The constant temp. of bottom heat usually helps alot. You can devise a small germination box using a lightbulb underneath or get a heat mat or something. Pay careful attention to the heat at first as you dial it in as not to burn them.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 5:44PM
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amaretto

Thanks Matty and BigDogg

This is great advice. Matty, I live in FLorida, zone 10. Would it be crazy to use my attic as a heat source? Maybe try BigDogg's approach using a mix of soil with moss in a baggie up there?

I don't know if that would be too hot. I've been using my garage so far. Maybe even use the top of my water heater.

I'm starting to feel real positive this time :-)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 12:47PM
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mattyb1(10A San Diego)

The attic is a great idea. So is the water heater. My water heater dosen't offer any heat though due to insulation. The more constant the better. In the summer, the attic is probably real good. But when it gets colder, the day temps will be nice but at night they will drop and you might not get stuff to germintate. I've used my car before. If you devise a small germination hot box, you'll really appreciate it. I've used small tackle boxes and tool boxes. Just put a night light in the bottom and put your seeds that are in baggies on the tray above.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 4:49PM
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amaretto

Thanks, Matty

I finally devised a tray with a lamp last night. I put my baggies under it. The temperature was warm, not hot, but I'm going to buy a thermometer just in case.

I'll let you know how this goes.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 1:49PM
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charbee(z10A FL)

Check out the attached link, I found it very useful when I first started. You said 4-5 weeks but some seeds can take 8 weeks to germinate. The attic is a BAD idea in the Florida summer. Temps up there can easily reach 125+ degrees!! Temps in the 90's work great. The garage has worked very well for me using ziploc bags with a loose peat/potting mix. Be patient. When I first started, I would check my seeds every other day only to be disappointed. I gave up!! A few weeks later I decided to check again, and voila!! germination.

Here is a link that might be useful: Geriminating Palm Seeds

    Bookmark   July 30, 2006 at 1:02PM
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amaretto

Thanks, all for your advice.

Bigdogg, thanks to your link, I now know I don't have a royal palm... I think it's a Oleracea. Well, it doesn't have the green crown.

Is there a difference if my heat source (bulb) is on the top?

I've been playing around with the distance of the bulb. I now have it at 93 degrees day and 91.2 degrees at night, but the heat is coming from top. (using baggie with sphagnum moss)

oh, and how humid/wet? I dipped the moss in water for 30 seconds and sqeezed it out til it was just humid, then dropped the seeds in and sealed.

Thanks

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 12:55PM
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amaretto

Not so much as a hint of a root yet (sigh). Its been a month so far... Gee I'm not good at this

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 1:18PM
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orchiddude(+7b ALabama)

Give it time it will happen. Some times these things take forever.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 10:15PM
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unautre(8B San Antonio TX)

A couple of techniques that aid germination, from what I've gathered on Internet. I'm not very successful myself at germination.

1. Some seeds need to be dormant and even dry out a couple months before. So after removing the fruit, just let very fresh seeds sit idle for a couple months. Maybe spray with neem oil at the beginning to reduce chance of fungus. or be ready with a neem solution if fungus appears on the drying seeds. I read I should do this with my just harvested Butia capitata seeds.

2. scarification. some seed coats are both very hard and impermeable. The impermeability means moisture will require a long time to penetrate the seed coat to spark germination. scarification is a fancy term meaning opening a shallow hole, scratch, or surface slice or two in the seed coat to allow moisture to penetrate. Don't injure the embryo end of the seed where germination starts.

3. another aid to both moisturizing and germination is a teaspon of Potassium nitrate added to the soaking solution, which itself could be warmed to 90F. K. nitrate, aka saltpeter, aka stump remover, helps break down the seed coat (is why it's used a stump dissolver) and
enrich the solution to spark germination. When I mentioned this technique to a nurseryman, he said yes, that works but some people just use a bit of 20-20-20 in the soaking solution, and he was talking about any kind of seeds, not just palms.

4. for tropical seeds, steady elevated heat of at least 85F also helps provide energy to speed up the germination process. Some seeds can withstand over 100F. Some temperate palm seeds don't need the elevated heat.

5. patience!! :) some seeds take many weeks or many months to germinate.

6. safety in numbers. Never depend on one seed alone to germinate, use 10 or 20 or several 10s. Some will germinate, but some of those will not survive moving from the germination medium to planting, and some of those will then die after planting.

I haven't been real successful with germination, so when I come across some palm seedlings I really want, I pay a bit extra for the seedlings vs the seeds. I bought 30 Christmas palm seedlings, planted them, treated all identically, and am down to about 5 seedlings that are finally thriving. Survival of the fittest?

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 2:09PM
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amaretto

Thanks, orchiddude and unautre

Great advice. Seems every week I get the slightest satisfaction with my projects. one of my 50 date seeds just showed a little white tip (root maybe). I'm attributing my impatience with my inexperience. Once you know how long it takes, you know how long not to expect anything ;-)

I will keep you posted with my progress

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 5:14PM
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jetstream(Z9b)

Since you're in Fl Zone 10, heat is definately not you're problem. You might not have enough moisture. I would skip the baggie method and just plant them in a pot. Cover the seeds with a half inch of soil, keep moist and in a shady spot. You can cover the pot with burlap to hold in extra moisture if needed...Z

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 10:43PM
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amaretto

Thanks, Z

I just pulled the date seeds I had in the baggie, which were placed on Aug 06. Out of 21 seeds, 20 were presenting roots of up to 2 inches! I moved them to pots using 1/2 seed starter, 1/2 garden soil. I'll let you know how successful I am at getting sprouts. From my research, I am expecting them in 3 weeks.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 3:27PM
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amaretto

Well, here's an update

My patience paid off. I now have about 70 date palm seedlings, 4 out of my 15 or so (palm not yet identified), have germinated, and one of my mexican fan palms as well. I'm calling this a success.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 6:21PM
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flound_1129(10a/sunset17 CA)

adding to what Andy said above -- I don't buy palm seed anymore because of poor germination.. If I happen to see a palm with ripe fruit on it, I'll grab some seed because I know it is fresh. I have had much better success with seed I've gathered on my own than seed I've purchased.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 9:13PM
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