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responses, tropical plants seeds

Daphne Foreman foreman at MACALSTR.EDU
Mon Feb 26 18:58:22 EST 1996

Thanks again to all that responded to the question on germinating seeds
from papaya and bird of paradise plants.  For those that are interested
here were the responses (my apologies for partial addresses of

Growing tropical seeds

1)  The literature states that Strelitzia reginae seeds should be sown
under warm conditions; freshly harvested seed should be used to avoid seed
coat impermeability. I have no personal experience with germinating this

Papaya (Carica papaya) is very easily grown from seed harvested from fruit
purchased in the local grocery store.  I have had success germinating fresh
seeds and seeds stored dry.  When sowing the dried seeds it pays to soak
the seeds for most of a day, and then squeeze the seeds to remove the
gelatinous coats. I commonly sow seeds in vermiculite and then move the
seedlings to a potting mix when they have a true leaf.

A great reference for this type of info is "Plant Propagation - Principles
and Practices" by Hartmann and Kester.  There is a new edition of this
which has a third author;  I do not know that author's name.

Good luck,  Walt Schaffer
Walt Schaffer
Director of the Greenhouses
Biology Dept.
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
715-836-3523 or 836-4166
E-mail: SCHAFFW at uwec.edu
FAX: 715-836-5089

2)  This isn't official, but I have grown papaya from the seeds I got from a
fruit from the supermarket.  I simply stuck it (them) in moist potting soil
just below the surface (my standard seed germinating protocol).  It worked
and somewhere in Los Angeles is an 18 year old papaya tree... Yes, I am
assuming it is still alive, haven't seen it for the last 14 years.  It did
grow and was somewhere around 12" tall last time I saw it.  Again, this is
as an amature horticulturist, not as a plant physiologist (Both of which I am).
3)  Papaya are usually easy to germinate and should germinate within 2 weeks.
My plant propagation book says the seeds store for up to 6 years if kept
at 5 degrees C in waterproof bags. A single papaya from the supermarket
yields hundreds of seeds so if your one seed does not grow you could get
lots of replacements.
        My book does not say much about bird-of-paradise other than to sow
under warm conditions and use freshly harvested seed to avoid seed coat
impermeability. This suggests that if the seed is old, nicking the seed
coat may help.
Since you only have one seed, use a sterile, high-quality potting soil to
avoid disease. A minimum temperature of 80 degrees F should probably be used.
One of my favorite foolproof plants is to get a ginger root (actually a
rhizome) from the supermarket and sprout it. The leaves are very fragrant.

4)   Maybe soak in warm water (25c) then bury 1cm. down in compost in a
smallish pot. Soak the compost first, put an upturned glass or plastic bag
on top to keep the humidity at 100%  place in a hot spot - 30c - does'nt
need lots of light until something happens, which could be several months
in the case of the Strelitzia !  - don't throw away - check it's not drying
out. And, I forgot, stand the pot in a saucer of water
                      good luck     Adrian Bell

5)  I am not sure about papaya but the bird of Paradise is usually
propagated by division or removing offshoots and suckers. They require a
rich loam, sand and peat with liberal watering in summer and keep it
reasonably dry in the winter.If she comes into the greenhouse with the
seeds we can help her plant them and see what happens. I will check out the
Marcy Thomas
Biological Sciences
Wellesley College
Wellesley Mass. 02181

6)  The papaya will germinate easily in a 50-50 peat&perlite mixture.  The
bird of paradise will also germinate in the same mixture.  I suggest
scarifying the seed.  Even then, most seeds in Musaceae take their
time germinating.  You can expect the papaya to germinate in two
weeks.  I've seen bird of paradise take as long as six months, though
you may get lucky and see germination within a month.  Good luck with
both.  I'd be interested to know the results you get.  By the way,
once they are large enough to be fertilized, try a 13-3-13 mixture
with both of them, and try to use acid media.

7)  I have available nearly any information anyone would possibly want
regarding tropical fruit plants and trees.  I am perfectly willing to
share any information you might need.  If you have any questions,
requests, etc., just feel free to let me know and I'll try to help

 santol at concentric.net

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