Paul Nickerson

Bird of Paradise

In Propagation on October 25, 2011 at 11:37 am

Bird of Paradise are one of my favorite flowering plants. I have wanted one for a number of years now, and was excited to come across 6 seeds in a swap. Germinating these seeds can be difficult as they are contain very hard seed coats.

After removing the small, orange hairs from the seeds, the seed coats will need to be weakened. This can be done either physically, or chemically. Physical abrasion involves scoring the seed coat with a sand-paper, a file, or a knife. Chemical ‘abrasion’ can be done by soaking the seeds in an acidic solution that will break down the seed coat.

When propagating prickly pears, we used hydrochloric acid. Since most people do not have this readily available, citric acid can be used. Simple soak the seeds for a couple hours in lemon juice. After that time, rinse the seeds with water.

After the seed coats have been treated, soak the seeds for 24 hours in warm water. This will induce germination. Stratify the seeds in a perlite/vermiculite mix. Place the container in an area of high sunlight. Germination may take anywhere from weeks-to months, so be patient! It will be worth it.

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  1. An update on the Bird of Paradise seeds. One of the three seeds sprouted yesterday! I am very excited to see how the other seeds do. It seems this method worked. I’ll keep you all posted on how they mature.

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