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italian arum seed question

Posted by newbirdman 7 b NJ (newbirdman@aol.com) on
Sat, Jul 16, 05 at 7:03

Hi everyone . I hope I'm in the correct forum . I have a question about the seeds on Italian arum plants . I've had these plants for about 6 years now and still dont know this about the seeds . I try to let the seed pods turn red but the squirrels love to eat at the stem and seeds . Once they bite the stem , it falls over and dies but the seeds turn red before rotting and leaving the seeds behind . Are these seeds good to grow new plants or do they have to ripen on the stem ? I've been just pushing these seeds into the dirt for years but compared with the amount of seeds I get , I only have a few new plants shooting up . Now I just found 5 stems loaded with seeds on them that fell over . Can I just stick these somewhere inside the house and let them ripened so the squirrels dont eat them ? I was thinking maybe in a vase of water for a while . I figure its worth a try . Rick


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: italian arum seed question

I have the same arum growing in my yard. The seed pods always fall over when they are turning orange. I usually just cut them off and throw them away but this year I am going to try to save them. I'm not sure what the germination rate of these seeds are.


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RE: italian arum seed question

I do not know what the rate of germination is, but here is info I found quickly on the net:

"If you want to try growing them from seed, harvest the berries when they are bright red. They seem to take forever to get to this point. If the stem is damaged and the stalk falls over, or birds start to get after them, go ahead and harvest, but it is best to leave them on the stem until they start to fall off by themselves. This means the seed is ripe. It should be a light tan color.

Clean the seeds from the pulp by squeezing the seeds out and rinsing off any pulp that adheres to them. It's best to wear those thin surgical rubber gloves when you do this, to protect your hands from the calcium oxalate crystals in the pulp. You don't want to get the pulp on your lips or in your eyes as it is an irritant.

Plant the seeds immediately. I've made the mistake of letting the berries dry out and had zero germination. If immediate planting is impossible, put them on a barely damp paper towel, fold the towel over them and place them in a plastic zip lock bag. Put the bag in the refrigerator until you can plant them. Either put your pots in a cold frame or leave them outside, covered with screening to keep out debris and critters. They should germinate in the fall, but may take a full twelve months, so don't throw out the pots too quickly.

The seedlings don't look anything like the mature plants. The leaves are small -- about the size of a teaspoon -- and plain green in color on short stalks. The next year they will look much the same, but a little bigger. The following year they will start to have the arum shape and show faint marbling. Each year they will get larger, more numerous and more strongly marked. It will take about five years for them to reach blooming size.

You can also increase your stand by separating the baby tubers, but they, too, will take several years to reach blooming size. The pea-sized babies are attached to the mother tuber. Do this in summer while the plants are dormant."

Susan


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