difficult seeds

Cameron McMaster croft@eci.co.za
Sat, 07 Dec 2002 00:45:33 PST
Has anyone tried growing Hypoxis hemerocallidea (=rooperi) from seed?

It is a well known traditional medicinal plant in SA, one of the main ingredients for cancer and Aids treatments. It is often called African Potato, and has bright yellow star flowers.
It is in great demand so the wild populations are being severely depleted.

It is notoriously difficult to germinate, but once growing, it is very easy.We haven't had luck with sowing seeds in a container, but seeds sown in the open seem to germinate after two years! Perhaps a few after one year.

The local wild plants drop their seed in summer, when temperatures can be over 30C sporadically, and then there are regular overnight frosts - in the Cathcart district often -3C and occasionally -8C. So it sounds like a candidate for putting seeds in the freezer compartment for a couple of days before sowing. I will try it this year.

Jane and Alberto I agree that young bulbs are much easier to relocate when they are just 2-3 years old, big enough to survive posting, and small enough to adapt to new conditions. Mature bulbs seem to rot more easily, or they sulk and need careful attention (not to mention the virus risk, as you explained).

With Amaryllids the cost difference between 2-year olds and mature bulbs (often 7+ years old) is significant, especially for someone wanting to start up a collection.
And it is better to have a few to plant in a pot than just one. But growing your bulbs from seed is soooo satisfying when, after years, they eventually flower!

Stutterheim, E.Cape 

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