Clivia seed germination

Cathy Craig
Sat, 14 Dec 2002 15:00:48 PST
Hi all,

I just wrote the following to someone unfamiliar with germinating amaryllid
seeds and thought I might post it in case there are others who have ordered
the Clivia seeds from Pen (thru PBS) in Oz and aren't quite sure what to do
with them. I am NOT an authority on this topic but this is probably close to
good enough. Any other input gratefully accepted as always.

Yes, Clivias are "large amaryllid seeds" and while yours may not be green,
the "green fleshy seed" comment applies to Clivia seeds as well.

Many people put them onto damp/wet (not sopping) paper toweling in a plastic
sandwitch bag (not sealed) up on a window sill with indirect light and after
they germinate, then plant them.

I don't have the time or patience (plus I have some very nosey cats) so I
just plant them into a small plastic pot. For two seeds, I'd put them both
into a 4 inch pot with sterilized seedling soil. You can leave them on the
surface, perhaps sanding the surface of the potting medium, and press the
seed into the surface of the soil so that they are about half burried. Keep
the pot where the air circulation is good, on the warm side, and with no
direct sun. Most amaryllid seeds in nature germinate on the soil surface.
They will first put out a radical (white thing that looks like a root - and
is). The radical will grow out and down into the soil. (If the radical gets
to an inch or two and is still on the surface, make a hole in the mix with a
pencil and drop the radical into the hole leaving the seed on the soil
surface). A little later (a week or two?) it will send up another shoot tip
that is the begining of the plant's first leaf.

Considering it is now winter here, bottom heat may hasten germination. But
if your house is normally warm, it may not be necessary. Regarding soil
again, you can also plant in any good-draining bulb type soil mixture. IMO
the most important thing is sterility to prevent damping off and good air
circulation (same reason).

Unless the soil is sopping wet and stays so, seeds are not that picky about
'drainage'. And seedling soil besides being sterilized (IF the label says
so) usually has some Sponge Rok in it and the drainage isn't particularly
bad anyway. You can probably leave them in that pot for a year. They will
appreciate some very dilute liquid fertilizer with each watering and will
likely grow faster with that plus some artificial light (if available).
(Harold K says no fertilizer needed for a few months). Over time, the seed
will eventually become dessicated and shrivel up as the plant exhausts the
nutrients inside the seed by its growth.

Clivias are evergreen so you will not lose any time to dormancy. Being they
are seeds and not plants, they probably won't care about being switched from
southern hemisphere to northern hemisphere (just a guess). They hate full
sun and it will always burn the leaves and for all I know, it may be enough
to kill a small young seedling. So never any direct sun.

Per Harold K Ideal temps appear to be from 60F to 90F. That should cover
most houses.

Cathy Craig President PBS
Maritime zone 9b

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