Germinating Strelitzia Seed

SAVeg(South Africa)September 5, 2003

Hi you guys!

As you might well gather I am quite new to flower gardening. My job entails working with vegetables, but I have developed quite a keen interest in flower gardening since we've moved into a house with quite a nice sized yard. There is a strelitzia in the garden from which I got 2 seeds, I got another 5 from a friend. I am however having difficulty germinating these. The temperatures are still quite low over here, so I don't know whether that has an influence. The seeds have a very hard seedcoat, which made me wonder if they didn't need scarification like Acacia seeds.

Thanks for your help in advance.


P.S. Delina to get a kappie op die "e", press alt and hold it in while typing 136 on the righthand numerical keyboard. Hoop jy kom reg.

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modjadje(Willamette Valley Zone 8)

Hi there, here is some info from that will help you ...
"For best results sow fresh seed in spring. Before sowing, remove the bright orange tuft of hairs attached to the seed (aril of each seed) and soak in a aqueous solution of ethrel at a concentration of 2000 ppm active constituent, for 48 hours. In practical terms this entails making up 6ml ethrel (39.5% active ingredient) to a litre of water. Sow in seedtrays filled with a well-drained soil medium at a depth of 1,5 times the size of the seed. A constant temperature of 25 C is most suitable for germination as low temperatures retard germination. Germination takes four to eight weeks. Seedlings should be a good size before transplanted (two to three leaves) into a well drained medium. Young strelitzia plants must be grown in shade, for the leaves tend to burn in direct sunlight. Regular repotting allows the young plant to develop rapidly. Restricting the root development retards growth. "

Also: "To increase the amount of seed most strelitzia flowers are hand pollinated at Kirstenbosch. This is done by gently scraping the pollen off with a finger or a stick, and placing it on the tip of the stigma of another plant. It takes a few months for the seed to ripen during which the green pods are often eaten by squirrels. To prevent this, the old flower heads are covered with brown paperbags after the flowers have been pollinated and the seeds start to develop. " Source: National Botanical Institute SA
Hope this helps. D

    Bookmark   September 5, 2003 at 7:41PM
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SAVeg(South Africa)

Thanks, I had no idea I've had to remove the orange tuft from the seed. I guess the ethrel treatment basically comes down to scarification, seeing that you can do the same to germinate Acacia seeds.
I'll get some more seed and star germinating them as soon as it gets a little warmer.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2003 at 1:19AM
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ompus(z10b, Miami, FL)

Ethrel is not scarification. Ethrel is a hormone that promotes embryo growth.

Scarification is a method for allowing moisture to penatrate a hard seed coat.

The goal is the same in both instances, (germination), but the methods are completely different.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2004 at 10:28PM
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i sowed my seeds but some little white bugs ate them...does anybody know where i can buy a few more? oh,...i'm from slovenia(Europe).

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 10:21AM
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Glad I found this forum. I got 10 seeds from Amazon, scarred them, then put them in the fridge for 2 weeks (these were the instructions!), then in an egg container (1 seed per hole), added potting mix, put them next to the kitchen stove for a warmer temperature (not too close) and watered regularly. 3-4 weeks later, still nothing... How deep do they need to be scarred ?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 7:20PM
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What can I use in place of the ethrell as I cannot seem to get this gauteng south Africa

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 4:50AM
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I also tried to find ethroll,but with no luck.So I tried my own method.Its actually quite simply and Ive germinated quite a few Strelitzia juncea's like this.

Boil some water.
Add aprox. 20ml Hydrogen peroxide(3% if I remember correctly) to a cup of boiled water.
Remove the tufts and add the seeds the water and peroxide mixture.
Leave the seeds in there for 10 minutes.
You will notice bubbles arising from the seeds' surface.
Be careful though not to inhale the vapours or get the peroxide on your skin or in your eyes.
After 10 minutes the seedcoat will be slightly thinner.
Sow the seeds in a deepish container fill with a germination mix or any "light" medium.
(Germination mix apperantly just has,as far as I understand,Indolebutyric acid in it which aids with rootgrowth post-germination).
Within a few weeks you should see small banana-like leaves emerging from the surface.

I think high humidity and heat are both vital for decent germination of Strelitzia.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 4:30AM
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