advice about propagating haemanthus alba?

Laura & Dave
Fri, 09 Dec 2016 22:03:54 PST
Hi Emily
   I'm guessing that you've obtained Haemanthus albiflos.  One of the more 
available species, and one of the easier ones to grow.  And yes, it produces 
lots of seed (there are many flowers in the large inflorescence).
   My experience with propagating it is to plant the seeds and stand back.  A 
little more detail would include: using a regular potting soil with additional 
sand and pumice.  The ratios could roughly be 3 to 1 to 1.  For me they haven't 
been too fussy regarding soil; pinning the seed down, using a straightened 
paperclip.  The radicle (seed root) often will push the seed up, rather than 
penetrating the soil.  If that happens, pick the seed up, make a hole with a 
pencil, and carefully stuff the radicle back into the soil.  Burying the seed 
can cause rot at the point the radicle emerges from the seed. When you have the 
sprouting seed in hand, you may notice the first leaf forming somewhere between 
the seed and the radicle tip, starting to go up.  The junction of leaf and root 
should be just below the soil level.  At this point, the plant will often lift 
the seed from the ground, before it dries up and falls away.  This helps prevent 
any rotting problems.  ; be sparing but not stingy with water.  One doesn't want 
the roots to dry out, but keep the seed dry.  Bottom watering or using an 
eyedropper both help.
   If you've been successful with the orange Haemanthus (perhaps H. coccineus or 
H. sanguineus), you should have no problems with this species.
Happy growing,
   Dave Brastow

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