Dear All, A number of years ago (March 1999) Diana Chapman shared her method of starting seeds that were challenging (especially seeds of Australian plants.) She used this method on Veltheimia seeds with great success. So I am quoting from a couple of posts on this since she has given me permission to share posts of the past. First she said, "I have tried using my fire technique on several other genera, not because they would naturally experience it in their native haunts, but on the principle that the heat and smoke seem to exert some stimulatory effect. It worked spectacularly on Veltheimia, of all things! I had a batch of 100 seeds that I treated this way, and every seed germinated on the same day about three days after I fired them off! It hasn't worked with everything, though." When people asked her to tell about her fire technique she wrote: "I sow the seeds as usual in a clay pot in a sterile mix (Supersoil plus decomposed granite), cover the seeds with a fairly thick layer of decomposed granite (about 1/2"), and then pile dry material on top of and around the pot on my driveway and set it on fire. I usually keep adding material as it burns, and also after it has started burning really well I add some green material to make it as smoky as possible. I try to keep it burning for about ten or fifteen minutes. After the pot has cooled off I remove all large pieces of unburned material and water the pot well. I have tried different dry material, such as leaves, grass, twigs and, when sowing Australian seeds, I add a lot of eucalyptus, but I'm not sure it makes much difference what you use. It probably is a good idea to mix in several different materials, though. I should add, that I have used other methods, and they haven't worked as well. I've used the "Smoke Plus" papers from Kirstenbosch and used smoke alone from my bee smoker, and neither method has worked as well as fire itself. I sowed some Australian seeds a couple of years ago, and divided them into four groups of the same species, using smoke water on one, smoke water and scarification on one, fire on one and one as a control. The fire pot was spectacularly more successful than the others, and interestingly the pot using smoke water had the least germination! ... And Cathy, I also received some seeds of yellow Veltheimias and was told they were more difficult to germinate, so I used the fire method, and they all (there were only five seeds) germinated promptly. The reason I used this method on my standard Veltheimias was to try to get them to germinate more evenly, and it really worked. Also, the seedlings seemed more vigorous."