Clivia miniata germination

Hamish Sloan
Tue, 16 Mar 2004 14:03:23 PST
Carolyn wrote to ask about clivia sowing.

Clean the seed, removing all the fleshy part of the berry. Let them dry  off.

Many growers sow the seed on the surface of a seed compost, pressing the seed into the surface till it is half in, half out of the surface. Harold Koopowitz suggests this method in his book "Clivias". Do NOT cover the seed under any circumstances.

I prefer to use the 'wet paper towel' method. Since I began to use this method, I have never lost a seed/seedling yet.

Take a plastic container, such as those used to hold about half a pound of butter that have a fairly well sealing lid. Place three or four layers of kitchen paper towel in the bottom and soak it with water. Tap water left to stand for a day is OK, but I prefer to use fresh rain water. A little excess water slopping around is OK but not much. Put in the seed, put the lid on firmly and place in the airing cupboard or some similar warm place. Inspect daily to ensure that the towel does not dry out and add a little more water as necessary. Aim to keep the towel sopping wet. (A clear plastic lid is convenient at this stage!) After a while, the seeds will start to send out a radicle. Some call this a root but it is a variation on a root in that after it gets to about one cm. long it develops into the pseudo bulb with a first leaf. I am not certain that all of the amaryllids do this but my experience so far is that it is a common feature of those that I have grown from seed. Plant the seed when it has reached this stage, placing the seed so that it is in the surface of the compost with the top half showing and the radicle down into the compost underneath. Do NOT cover the seed. Keep the compost moist but not soggy. As the leaf grows long enough to pop above the soil surface, the seed will gradually shrivel as more sustenance is drawn from the seed by the developing plant and eventually the empty husk will come away from the plant at a touch. The roots of the seedling will develop faster than the leaves above the compost surface. While I usually start my seedlings off in 2.5 inch pots, they need to be checked for potting on regularly so as not to lose momentum in the growing process. Pot size for first flowering for me is a square two litre pot (12 x 12 x 20 cm). Flowering as a three year old is possible but four and five years is more usual.

If you look at the outside base of the second leaf that forms, a clear green indicates a yellow-flowered clivia. Reddish brown coloration here indicates an orange-flowered form.

Regards Hamish
Wettish zone 9 and we have signs of an early spring

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