Phormium Seed Pods... what now?!

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Lady B, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. A strange start: I was at a theme park and saw these gorgeous plants in the zoo area (next to the gorilla enclosure, to be precise!) that looked like grass, but enormous, and kind of greenish white streaked. Some were seeding, so I broke a few off and hid them in my bag... naughty I know, but damn I wanted that giant grass to come and live with me!

    Got home and searched the Net, discovered I have phormium seed pods, put them in water to try and stop them drying out straight away, and now have no idea what to do... Do I break the pods open or dry them? What conditions do these seeds like? Are they destined for the fridge until spring, or will they prefer to get on with growing right away on my windowledge? Any ideas?
     
  2. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi Lady B,

    From this site:
    http://www.backyardgardener.com/tm.html
    Phormium -Hardy Perennial - Sow in late winter/late spring and late summer/autumn. 30-180 days to germinate with slow and irregular germinationˆas this symbol indicates. 60*F - 65*F for germination in Peaty medium. Just Cover with medium.

    I just noticed that you aren't registered and I have no way of knowing if you will return for this info or where you live, so it may not be a hardy perennial for you. If you return and let me know, I'll help you more if you like.

    Newt
     
  3. Lady B

    Lady B Member

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    I'm back, and now got round to registering! Thanks for the info! I'm in the UK - lots of rain...
     
  4. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Lady B, so glad you're back and registered! If you're in the UK, your hardiness zones would be either 7, 8 or 9. The Phormium tenax (Variegatum) would be hardy in zones 8 and 9. Here's a map that should be helpful.
    http://www.uk.gardenweb.com/forums/zones/hze1.html

    More info so you may be able to figure out which one you have:
    http://www.coblands.co.uk/websiteimages/phormium.pdf
    http://www.rarepalmseeds.com/pix/PhoVar.shtml
    http://earthnotes.tripod.com/seeds.htm
    http://earthnotes.tripod.com/seeds_p.htm

    Have fun!
    Newt
     
  5. Lady B

    Lady B Member

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    Wow, thank you so much! This is excellent! I'm South of London - a Zone 8!
     
  6. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    You're very welcome!! Good luck with your seeds.

    Newt
     
  7. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Lady--I germinate quite fresh phormium seed from New Zealand, tho this is available to me in April due to the flipped seasons in our hemispheres.

    Even tho seed is fresh, the research from NZ recommends 6 weeks stratifying in the fridge...this greatly increases the total germination % as well as uniformity (reduces those stragglers popping up over many months otherwise).

    A good plan is to keep the dry seeds refrigerated until you're close to wanting to germinate them, then mix them with some moist sand/peat in a ziploc bag, and stick them back in the fridge for at least 6 weeks. Longer cold treatment up to several months actually improves the results, but is not practical for my time frame. For you, you may want to have seedlings appear in spring, so could treat the seed for a good long time over the winter. If you have grow lights, you may want to go ahead and get them ready even now.

    The seedlings are quite prone to damping off so keep them in well draining mix until they size up some, good ventilation and careful watering as always is helpful during those early months.

    Good luck--Glen
     
  8. Lady B

    Lady B Member

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    Broke open one of the pods and planted the little black seeds from inside. Gonna put one little pot on the window ledge, one in the airing cupboard, and one in the fridge for future reference to see which works best... The seed pod has dyed my hands bright yellow and made them smell like aniseed!
     

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