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Baobab.....Braiding/Plaiting

Posted by BronxFigs Zone-7b (My Page) on
Wed, Nov 21, 12 at 18:51

Love the shape of these trees, but can't wait for centuries for this to happen. I plan on growing some seeds, and then when trunks are long enough, I plan on braiding the thin stems together to create a wider, fatter, composite "trunk". If it can be done with Adeniums, Ficus, Hibiscus, and with "Money Palm" (Pachira aquatica)...then it can be done with Baobab...I think. Hopefully, over the years, and with good cultivation, the individual stems will fuse into one, much fatter trunk. I will train branches to resemble those that grow from the top of the Baobab trees. That's the plan.

I have had success growing Cyphostemma. Can Baobab be grown just as easily?

Please, jump in with some thoughts, comments, and suggestions. Seeds are cheap...specimen Baobab are not.

Frank


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Baobab.....Braiding/Plaiting

Small plants and copper wire, but beyond that I don't know about braiding.


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RE: Baobab.....Braiding/Plaiting

cactus...

I have a feeling that I will be on my own trying this technique...which I will try. Thanks for the input.

I'm hoping for the results to look like these common, "Money Palms" that are in any garden center.

I'll never know until I do it.

Frank


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Can anyone provide the name(s) of suppliers of imported specimen Baobab that have gone training as bonsai. I just saw a video, on You-Tube, and it shows a tour of a nursery in Africa where hundreds of Baobab are being trained to develop short fat trunks, and a spreading root system. These plants are being sold, but the video is narrated in French, and it's Greek to me. Check: "Baobab bonsai au Senegal" to view these special plants.

If you know any links that will get me to suppliers...please let me know.

Thanks,

Frank


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Frank I don't know about plants but I've purchased baobob (and other) seeds from this vendor. The seeds were fresh and had a high germination rate.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rare Exotic Seeds


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Frank -

I purchased an Adansonia digitata bonsai in training from Jim Smith years ago. Not sure whether they still have any, but here are couple of pics of what they had back in '07:

Not cheap, but these are not easy to find around here. The nursery is in Florida, see link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jim Smith Bonsai


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Sorry I took so long to comment on the latest postings. I was too busy adding on a few more tons from the annual, Thanksgiving glutt. It looked like "feeding time at the zoo"! (The doctor will be not thrilled when he weighs me again...not thrilled at all). : )

TT...The plants are just great! Now, I will spend more money that I don't have! You know me Tom...

Thanks for the seed, and plant links. Tonight, I'm going shopping.

Thanks for all the help.

Frank


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Just remembered....

Baobab seed sources:

Try: "J.L. Hudson" cheap source for many seeds. Adansonia digitata approx. (1 ounce)/56 seeds $9.00

"Sacred Succulents" lists many Baobab species.

Happy hunting.

F


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My enthusiasm has just taken a nose-dive. A member posting information on the Xeric World Forum basically cautioned that this plant material can be quite difficult in New York City climates, and that the Baobab might not break dormancy in North America. I'm not totally sure just why this might happen to Baobab...but, if this is accurate, or happens often, I rather not waste my time raising seedlings if they will ultimately fail, or worse...not thrive. I'm 62 years old...tick-tock.

So...the dilemma is: Do I proceed, or do I forget this braiding experiment? Is growing a Baobab in cooler, shorter summer, climates -like found in NYC - the kiss-of-death? Are Baobab difficult to over-winter?

Honestly...I thought this tree would be as easy to grow as Cyphostemma juttae. I guess I was wrong.

Yes, no...maybe so?

Frank


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Frank -

I have been growing four baobabs (3 Adansonia digitata and one Adansonia grandidieri) for several years now in MA. I have been growing my first one since 2006.

I find them no more difficult than any of these 'plants of ours'. That is, as much heat, water, and sun as they can get in the growing season...bone dry, cooler dormancy in the early fall through early spring.

T


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Not break dormancy in North America?!?!

Here are mine in May 2011...the first tree in the back on the left...and the last two on the right (right before the euphorbia bupleurifolia) are both baobabs...

T


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Holy Crap!....I went to sleep feeling like the winds went out of my sails, and then when I woke up, and went on this forum, I read the last postings...and I'm back in business!

I saw the photos and the plants are just perfection. What a set-up!

I am very encouraged about trying to grow this plant material in NYC. Seeing the results that you guys have had with this "difficult-to-keep-alive" plant has made me decide to place my order for seeds.

Thank-you Tommy T....I needed that! Next...seeds for: Adansonia digitata, and A. rubrostipa

Frank
Bronx,NYC


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Tom your bonsai's and caudiciforms are fantastic!


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  • Posted by whip1 z5 ne Ohio (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 24, 12 at 9:16

Tom,
I knew you had a nice collection, but I had no idea it was like that! I love the deck and sunning tables too!


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Thank you for the compliments...unfortunately, at the end of November (in Metrowest Massachusetts) my collection is no longer sunning on my deck ;-(...

Cacti in the garage...leafless baobabs in my sunroom...other succulents in my south-facing windows...whatever it takes, right?

Tom


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Oh Tom, WOW! I don't have words for what you have. You almost beat our Bonsai
shop out! Nice!
I guess I should come to you if I should ever need a mentor:-0)

Frank...Hello! I am glad to see you doing well and posting. Now, the Clivia and Figs are taking back seat?lol I hope you find a few of these.

Mike


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Mike....

Yes, still alive and kickin'...but, only slower these days.

Yes, growing Clivia is like watching paint dry...and my fig trees are done for the season. Lousy year for the figs...too cold, then too much rain.

Just ordered some seed for Baobab rubrostipa. Hope they germinate, and, grow. Then I'll do the twist...not the dance either.

Either I will post photos of the failures, or, the triumphs. Having never worked with this plant material, the results of the braiding/twisting trials is anything but predictable. I will probably braid the stems as they grow, and might even constrict the caudex trunks to some degree, so that they could blend into a fatter, single, lumpy, trunk. Who knows?

The whole effort will be interesting...for me, anyway.

Frank


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Frank, are you going to germinate and grow your seeds this winter or wait until spring/summer? I've been reading these posts and gotten kind of interested in growing and clumping some myself. I am always up for crazy projects :) I have grown some baobab trees from seed before but they never made it beyond 10 inches. Can't remember why, but I have a vague feeling I grew them in winter. And keeping them indoors and in artificial light is just never the same as Madagascar :) The seeds aren't that expensive so a failed early start is not going to be costly. And a successful early start will make them big and nice by the end of next summer.


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robinpla...

With the dreary weather that is typical of The Bronx, NYC in Jan. and Feb, I figured that I would try starting the seeds in late-March....early-April...hoping that the seeds will germinate, and do some growing until the weather warms up, then they will go outside for the summer months. If I get good growth in the hot months, I will start the braiding process as the stems lengthen, but before they lignify, and get too stiff to bend. Honestly, I would love to germinate the seeds earlier, but the dark, days might cause the new growth to etiolate and be weak.

I have never attempted this kind of training, and it's a learn-as-you-go project for me. I can smell failure, but I may be pleasantly surprised by the results. I think if this whole shebang fails, it will be because I can't meet the cultural requirements of the Baobab...but, I'm not afraid to experiment. There is no down-side...either it works, or, it doesn't.

I also like to embark on these kind of "crazy" projects. I just wish my climate and growing conditions were more favorable to ultimate success. You are in Zone-10b...what's the problem? For you, this should be something to be attempted, especially since Baobab seed is so cheap, and available. GO FOR IT!

Check J.L. Hudson seeds: ....1 ounce Adansonia digitata (approx 56 seeds)...$9.00 + S&H. Cheap!

Frank


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Frank, I ordered 3 packs of baobab seeds today from the website suggested. $10 total including shipping and tax. Not bad at all. Complicated order instructions, but, I think I got it right :)

You'd be surprised how vegetation stops growing even in zone 10b. 10b is the first zone that doesn't really get frost, but it can get pretty cold at night. Plants that naturally go into dormancy will certainly follow that path in this zone too. Baobabs are dormant 9 months of the year, so I'll have to artificially trick it into thinking it is time to grow. I doubt it will like 10b winters :)

I braided and clumped ficus trees a few years ago. It has been pretty easy and successful. One ficus (actually three together) I tied together with electric ties and left on for a year. They fused easily. Another I braided together and tied together with cotton strings. It also fused good. They are growing in bonsai pots so their growth is stunted. I wish I had the space for large nursery pots. They would have been much further along towards nice bonsais at this point. But...that's the price of being impatient :)

I pulled out a heating mat from the garage today because I am rooting a cactus and germinating some seeds. It'll come handy with the baobab seeds too. It's a cheap investment if you want to start yours early too.

Robin


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Robin...

Just read the good news in your last posting. All you...we...could do is try it. Failure with growing plants is not new to me. I killed the best that money could buy! My climate stinks, and the growing season lasts for about 2 good months, and then, that's it!

Surely, in 10-b there has to some ways to "fool" the plants into a more extended growing period....

Interesting to read that you successfully fused Ficus. The manipulation of some plant material can be very interesting. I'd still love to know how those "Money Palms" are braided together. What the Adenium Nurseries do with this plant in Thailand is nothing short of amazing. You-Tube is full of Adenium videos that show training techniques. Of course the climate has a lot to do with it. The plants grow almost year round, and the results come a lot quicker for them, than for us.

Good luck with the Baobab seeds. Keep us informed.

Frank


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I have a couple of Adansonia digitata that I planted back in 2008 growing indoors here in SF. They aren't bonsai, but also aren't very large.

I water them sporadically and don't do anything special over the winter, although winter here isn't really winter.

I don't see why you couldn't braid them if you wished, but the growth rates of my three plants are very different. They all seem to break dormancy around November for some reason.

Over Thanksgiving I went on a seed gathering expedition and have a ton of A. digitata seeds now, so if anyone wants some just let me know. I haven't had a chance to plant any yet so I can't vouch for their viability.

-Ryan


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To all growers of Baobab...some questions:

When the Baobab goes dormant and is not watered for months, does the main stem go limp to the point to where it could be pliable enough to be bent, and braided? This point is key to the success of this experiment.

Adenium can be braided ONLY when allowed to dry out. It is at this time, when the tall main stems become pliable enough to be manipulated without cracking, and even then, you must be gentle. This braiding/weaving is done in the dormancy period also. Once the plants are again watered, forget the attempts at further braiding. The turgid stems will crack for sure.

Thanks for any comments.

Frank


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Ryan--could you email me about the seeds?
Your address isn't on your page.
Mike


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BronxFigs, adenium seedlings are completely different from the baobab seedlings. The adeniums are plump and succulent while the baobabs are just thin woody seedlings (for many years). The idea of braiding adeniums is a little crazy to me, although I have seen pictures of it. Braiding baobab seedlings should be a whole lot easier,...in theory :)

My baobab seeds just germinated. Last time I tried germinating baobab seeds they had a hard time getting out of their shells. Yes, they sprout, but the shell is so hard the seed can't break it and get deformed. This time I tried the boiling water technique so hopefully the shell is a softer than when I tried it last time. (I also tried soaking them in Epsom Salt, but they haven't germinated yet.) Next time I will try to score the seeds before pouring boiling water on them. I'd say, at this point, that is the best technique to successfully germinating them.


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robinpla...

Thanks for telling me this about the Baobab seedlings. Adenium are difficult to braid/weave, and one will have no chance unless the stems are limp and semi-dehydrated.

I'm glad to learn that there might be more success with the thin, woody stems of the seedling Baobab.

"As the twig is bent, so grows the tree".

Twenty minutes ago, I just received a Baobab seed order from Sacred Succulents. Now, the fun begins...and the waiting game commences.

Thanks for all the input.

Frank

PS...I will also try this plaiting/weaving technique with some Moringa ovalifolia seedlings.


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My seeds sprouted in three days. I keep my seeds in a glass container with a wet paper towel under and over them, quite wet. I am also using a heat mat, cozy 80 degrees or something. It would be a good investment living in the north east if you want to grow yours NOW. And who can ever wait for spring?? :) Not only will it help germination but also give your seedlings an extra push.

I pinched 5 new seeds today with pliers and carefully nicked the crest of the seeds with the sharp pointy edge of a box cutter. Then poured boiling water on them. Let it cool and then put them in container with wet paper. Will let you know if that turns out to be even more successful.


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Cleaned off the dead leaves...rewire a little (get better sound that way ;-)...maybe a new pot in the spring:

Tom


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robinpla....

Thanks for the germination tips. The seed coating seems very hard, but now you told me what to do to get the seeds to germinate I will try your method.

Yesterday, Moringa ovalifolia seeds came in the mail. I have successfully germinated these trees in the past, but never attempted to plait the stems. These seeds coats are far easier to open. The same fate awaits these trees also....braided Moringa.

TT....

There's noting that I could say, except just beautiful! What a tree, and incredible shape. Amazing what a little training can do to create the illusion of a large tree. I blocked out the pot with my hand....and the tree looks like a forest giant.

Thanks for the suggestions.


Frank


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Tom, what's the age of that baobab you think? It's beautiful!


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My braiding experiment will come to a screeching halt without seedlings. I just got 8 seeds from 'Sacred Succulents'.... Adansonia rubrostipa....And would like to get these seeds to germinate.

However, the seed coat is like a rock! I tried filing through the coatings with an emery-board, but I've barely made a dent. Will giving them the boiling water treatment soften the seed coats? My concern is that the seeds will rot if they get waterlogged...or worse, boiled to death. I've read that the coating of the seeds is weakened from digestive juices in side Elephants, etc. Can a vinegar soak help? I'm in virgin territory here folks.


I wonder if I could rig a substitute for a heat mat by placing a low-wattage bulb inside a cardboard box that's just big enough to support a flat, plastic container, in which I will sow the seeds? The bulb will be just for some bottom heat.

Suggestions????

Frank


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I've used a Dremel with a sanding drum on tuff seeds...
Mike


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Robin -

As far as age, I cannot say for sure. I have had this plant since early 2007...

Glad you like it!

Tom


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I would order a lot more seeds. I get a feeling from reading online that even with the best conditions the germination rate is on the lower side. I have soaked 15 seeds and 4 has germinated. I expect a few more to germinate of course, but with only 8 you may only get 4. Past experience is that they germinate ok, but then the first leaves never get "birthed" properly because the shell is so hard. (I got like 50 seeds and shipping for $10. Just order a bunch. You will need quite a few seedlings to braid.)

You will not kill the seeds by pouring BOILING water on them. The shell will soften, and if you leave them between wet paper towels for a few more days you can cut the seed shell a lot easier.

I managed to prick the shell along a line using the tip of a box cutter, while holding the seeds with pliers. Cutting or sawing is impossible. I have tried a dremel in the past but don't recall that being very successful. If you have one, try a couple of seeds.

In the past I have put plants on my stove that had pilot burners. That was enough heat to make them happy. There are other solutions like Christmas lights. You could even just keep a normal light close to the seeds to get some heat. Many solutions for sure. The commercial heat mats can be expensive. But oh so practical and good and safe :)


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Germination tips: Thanks.

I will order some more seeds for experimenting from J.L. Hudson. The seeds are pretty cheap, and I will have back-ups, just in case.

I also have one of those Dremel kits, that come with all the bells and whistles, and plenty of mini, sanding drums. First I will try the boiling water soak, to soften the seed coatings.

If I could rig a heated germination container, I will. I rather spend the money buying seeds, but the heat mats are always nice to use if one is available.

Question:

If the outer shells soften to the point where they could be pried/picked opened enough to expose the inner seeds, should I try to remove all of the hard outer shells, like I was peeling a Pistachio nut?

Thanks for helping.

Frank


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You certainly don't have to pour boiling water on the seeds for them to get soft. It just speeds up the process and aids in the germination. The instructions on the package I got was "nick and soak", so boiling water is not necessary for success.

Any water-soaking, whether boiling or not, will make the shell soft enough for the seed to break through. Some will probably make it to a seedling without any intervention. But from my experience the first leaves get stuck inside the half cracked seed and eventually wilt/rot/mold and kill the plant. And also from my experience some don't even sprout or crack the shell. So when you see that a seed is struggling you may want to help it by peeling away the shell. It should be soft enough that you can peel it with your fingers, or using cuticle scissors, or pincers.

The reason you'd want to nick/score the seeds before soaking is so that the seed can break through the shell easier on its own. And if it still fails you have a few openings that you start your excavation in. Nicking also creates openings for water to get to the seed.

I am not an expert, only speaking from limited experience :)


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So have you thought about how to braid the saplings yet? They are very thin for years, so I am not sure how braiding them together would make much of a difference to girth or anything. Could you create a very loose braid so that in a decade they eventually fuse together? The ficus I braided had so many branches that it actually created a fat trunk. But that would take like 15 baobab saplings to achieve that effect.

And also, a perfect braid is probably too artificial looking. So just braiding them together randomly is probably the way to go, yes?


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I don't want to confuse anything, but, looking at my first two seeds that germinated I am thinking the shell should come off before you plant it in dirt. You can see that the seed on the right might have a problem getting out of the shell, maybe even the seed on the left. Once you take the seeds out of the soak the shell hardens up again. And at this point, planted, it's hard to get the shell off without uprooting or disturbing the tender root, or breaking the even more tender leaves inside the shell.

When I can germinate and grow baobabs successfully I will make a website to explain it in details, haha :)


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All of this talk on germination has made me want to plan a little germination-science experiment. What are the different methods to try? I'm thinking:
Soak (cold)
Soak (boiling)
Nick/Soak (boiling)

What else? Nicking longitudinally vs. latitudinally? Paper towel vs. dirt? Heat mat vs. no heat mat?


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When a seed is "nicked" Do you mean nicked deeply enough to go through the seed coat, or, almost close to the point of breaking through the coating?

I would imagine that a very thin, nicked, softened, seed coat will be easier for the leaves to break through. I understand the concept, but I never know just how deeply to nick a seed. I would think that if one damages the embryo leaves, that the seed will rot...."failure to launch".

Depending on just how many seeds that I successfully germinate will determine how many stems will be twisted/plaited together. This braiding process will also depend on the texture of the stems...stiff, or, pliable. I've used this technique with Moringa ovalifolia, and the stems twist together like licorice whips. They are very pliable. (This may turn out to be a better plant alternative than trying to plait Baobab).

Frank


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I have three batches going:

#1 Seeds soaked in boiling water.
#2 Seeds soaked in Epsom salt water for a three days.
#3 Nicked seeds soaked in boiling water.

I used 5 seeds in each, using a heating mat for all three batches. Although #1 seems like the winner at the moment I don't feel like I used enough seeds to get accurate statistics. Batch #1 had two germinated seeds in just a couple of days. The two other batches have taken much longer and only one germinated seed in each.

I would like to try another batch where I first soak the seeds in boiling water. Perhaps keep the seeds in the water for 24 or even 48 hours to get the shells soft. After the soak I would nick/score the seeds with an exacto knife (perhaps along two sides for extra help, if not too hard).

Frank, you bring up a good point. Scoring and nicking the seeds can hurt them. Not sure that a little damage to the seeds will kill it, but certainly that is a concern. That's why I think soaking the seeds first will make the nicking easier. Just my theory at this point :) And by "nicking" I mean to poke the knife through the shell. It's not as hard if you use the tip of a sharp box cutter or exacto knife. It's when you put the edge of the knife along the shell that it becomes had to penetrate the shell. Get going Frank! I need more input from someone :)

I would advice against planting the seeds right into dirt. Because once in the dirt you can't score it or monitor it. You just have to let it do its thing. Germinating them in a container you can intervene if needed.


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Don't want to bombard with messages, but feel I discovered something. I decided to score my soaked seeds that hadn't really germinated yet. It turned out the shells were very soft, so it was easy to score and actually peel off the shell. The two or three seeds that actually had a root were hard to peel because I had to work carefully around the tender root. At what stage peeling is best might be something to explore. I planted all of them in dirt. Will let you know if they actually like this treatment.


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Baobab.....Braiding/Plaiting

Fascinating information. Nowhere else have I found any instructions that explain what needs to be done to germinate Baobab seeds. All I read is: "soak/cover seeds for 24 hours with boiling water to soften, then sow"...."scarify seed coat, then sow"...etc. etc. No further explanations are offered. Instructions can be interpreted in many different ways.

Now that some more experienced growers/sowers are explaining the methods that they have used to start their Baobab seeds, I feel more confident that I will get some of my seeds to germinate.

Just a quick story....Last Winter, I ordered 400 seeds for "Sea Grape" (Coccoloba uvifera) from Banana Tree/ Easton, PA. I over-ordered because I expected to have a very high failure-rate. The seeds just happened to be shipped in freezing weather, and I was sure the seeds were dead. I cracked the seed coats open, and soaked them in warm water for 24 hours, then sowed in a loose mix, keeping the seeds warm. Within a week, I had over 350 seedlings all over my kitchen table, on windowsills, under table lamps, etc. I could not give them away fast enough. I still have about 50- 1 ft. plants growing in some pots, in my warm kitchen, and I will use these trees for another braiding experiment. I would like to "create" a nice 5ft. "patio tree" with a braided trunk, from the "Sea Grape". (Great plants for kids to grow as a classroom project).

But, I digress....Thanks for all the very useful information, photos, and good advice. I will let you know how the germinating experiment turns out with the Baobab seeds.

Frank


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Robin, I think I'll try the same set of conditions that you have tried. These would then be both biological and technical replicates so should aid the stats. How much epsom salt do you add?
I am a little confused as to your nicking. Set 3 got nicked prior to the boil? Did you nick 1 and 2 after the soak or only after they had incubated for a few days?

In my past experience with baobabs, I had a few dozen old seeds (like 3 years old--I lost the bag after a foraging expedition) and only got 4 to germinate. For these I tried filing a groove into the crest with a metal file and then soaking in warm water overnight. Of the 4 only 1 cleanly escaped the shell, the other 3 I liberated by tearing one of the cotyledons. All 4 survived this process although one died a few years later.

Frank, in case this helps you with the braiding: for my plant that died, I did a post-mortem just for fun. The plant had three distinct zones of pith/xylem.
The base of the plant/tap root which formed the majority of the caudex was rigid and sponge-like with large hollow cavities once it had dried out.
The main part of the stem (>1 year growth) which extended down into the middle of the caudex was woody and stiff as one would normally expect for a tree.
The newest growth (<1 year) was relatively pliable and uniform in cross section, also as one might expect for a sapling.

I am a little scared about getting too many seedling from these experiments, although I don't want to get my hopes up. My wife is already a little too crowded in our little apt by my plants.

:) Ryan


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Ryan, I read online that 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt to 1 cup of water works. Isn't Epsom salt used to soften human skin?? How about boiling Epsom salt water??

Ryan, correct, set 3 was nicked prior to boiling water. Set 1 and 2 I never nicked, but I did peel the shells off last night...after 5 or 6 days of not germinating. I have to wait a few days to see if they germinate outside of their shells.

Just a few minutes ago someone suggested planting the seeds in soil in a pot and put in the freezer over night. This goes against what I have experienced so far. This does not aid in getting the leaves out of the shell. But, maybe worth trying.

This same person also said that if you start the seeds too early the winter darkness will stunt the growth by sending it into dormancy. So planting in winter may produce a smaller plant than a seed planted in spring. At this point I am just experimenting, but he might have a point.

He also said a. digitata is the least interesting species... :\

:)


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And now he told me that digitata doesn't like the dry hot summers in Southern California. Maybe I need to build a small green house to control humidity :)


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Well I'm off to a slow start, but at least I have something going. Only 1 sprout in 6 days. My heat mat is broken and apparently I have to wait until my birthday in a month for a new one, so that is hopefully the main issue. I've been keeping them under a lamp for warmth but that is probably only for 12 hours/day and not all that warm.

I have 4 batches w/6 seeds each. To keep w/Robin's numbering:
#1 soaked in boiling water
#2 soaked in room temp water with epsom salt
#3 nicked on the crest then soaked in boiling water
#4 soaked in room temp water

Seeds were all soaked overnight then placed in baggies. The only sprout so far is from set #3 (nick + boil)
To nick set #3 I held the seed in place with vise grips and nicked with the tip of my box cutters (about 1mm long and 1mm deep).

My observations thus far:
On average 1/6 of the seeds floated, I have marked them so I'll see if they are viable. I also have an extra small seed in each set, so I'll see if those sprout as well.

The nicked/boiled seeds were very swollen after 1 day, the boiled set were also swollen but not as dramatically. The other two sets are not obviously swollen.

The root of the sprouted seed broke through one of the nubby parts close to where the umbilical cord would attach (if these were animals, I don't know seed anatomy!). Perhaps it would be better to nick here. I removed half of the seed case and planted. I have no room on my freezer to test that method, maybe next trial.

Hopefully I'll get more germination soon, perhaps for Christmas!

Ryan


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RE: Baobab.....Braiding/Plaiting

Glad to hear you are experimenting as well. I have been away on vacation for over a week now and fear that my two seedlings are wilted and dead. I put a saucer of water under the pot and turned off heat mat and heat in house. Will be reunited with them tomorrow :)

Before I left on vacation one of my seedlings managed to break free from its shell, so perhaps I am wrong about them getting trapped in their hard shells. Maybe they just need a couple of weeks to do it. And perhaps more moisture (air moisture or sprayed moisture) helps them shed their shells.

Also, the seeds that I cut open and planted never took off. They turned yellow and gray and died.

At this point I am thinking the best way to succeed is to use the boiling water technique and just plant them in dirt. If they are not viable they will not make it and if they are strong seeds they will break through and shed the shell on their own. No other intervention is necessary or even beneficial. And the germination rate is fairly low so to get 1 or 2 I would start with almost 10.


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RE: Baobab.....Braiding/Plaiting

I kept meaning to summarize my results but life was just too busy. I ended up getting some unexpected results; however the overall take-home for the experiment was that germination seemed to be pretty high regardless of the method (other than nicking).

Update to my latest baobabery:

To reiterate the setup--
7 seeds nicked at the crest, soaked in boiling water
6 seeds not nicked, soaked in boiling water
6 seeds not nicked, soaked in epsom salt cold water
6 seeds not nicked, soaked in cold water

All the seeds were placed between wet paper towels in plastic baggies and put near a light (my heat mat broke so this was my best source of heat).

A nicked/boiled seed was the first to sprout (day 5); however the remaining nicked/boiled seeds were rotten by three weeks into the experiment.

The germination rates were:
Nicked/boiled: 1/7
Boiled: 5/6
Salt/Cold: 4/6
Cold: 4/6

So overall (not including the nicked seeds) I got 72% to germinate.

I should note that by two months into the experiment the boiled (5) and the cold (4) seeds had finished their sprouting, however only 1 of the salt/cold seeds had germinated. I assumed the salt/cold seeds were dead at this point and tossed the baggie into a pile of trash. Earlier this week I was cleaning up stuff and noticed that 3 more of the seeds in the salt/cold bag had sprouted (4 months!) so I removed them and planted those as well. The bag hadn't been sealed to the paper towel was almost totally dry.

Other things to note:
When the seeds sprouted I found that the best method was to remove about half of the seed coat manually (without damaging the embryo). Total removal worked but was difficult and probably didn't help the little guy too much. In almost every case where I didn't remove the seed coat, the leaves got stuck in the coat and I had to chop them in half to free them otherwise they tore and began to rot. Chopping the leaves had no ill effect on the plants.

After a few of the seeds got moldy from I tried peeling them (they had not germinated at this point) and shockingly two of them grew although one died after a few days so I didn't count that as a successful germination.

Many more of the seeds sprouted than I had anticipated so I quickly ran out of space and small pots. Initially I was using these biodegradable pulp pots and shockingly all of these seedlings eventually wilted and (without intervention) died. The seedlings placed in plastic pots (even 3 oz plastic shot glasses w/o drainage holes) all thrived. i was able to save two of the wilted guys by replanting them but I ended up losing many of them.

All in all I have 8 healthy plants at the end.

I still have a ton of seeds left so if anyone wants to trade or just wants some let me know. I didn't count them, but my bag of seeds is about 9oz so there are several hundred and I have no space for a forest. Maybe I'll go Johnny-Appleseeding around the city :)

I'll attach some photos in another post.


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RE: Baobab.....Braiding/Plaiting

Congrats!


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RE: Baobab.....Braiding/Plaiting

Photos!

Sprouting seed:

Seed with the coat totally removed:

Moldy seed with the coat removed (I lived!):

Some of the baobabies:

Example of the wilting that occurred in the biodegradable pots:

Salt/Cold seeds I found sprouting in the trash at 4 months!:


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RE: Baobab.....Braiding/Plaiting

Hey Greta, sorry I just now saw your email. I'll reply to it asap. Also if anyone is interested in gathering baobab seeds or scouting out trees around the country please let me know. There are several around Florida and of course Hawaii.

I've been mapping the locations of trees (mainly baobabs) I've located in the country and other trees I'd like to check out. I'll attach the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: My tree map.


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