Borassus flabellifer germination
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The Wrong Way:
Initially I heard you should let them germinate in real deep pots. I took two 8x8x16 inch pots and taped the bottom of one to the top of the other, cutting out the bottom of the top pot. I filled both pots with germinating medium and germinated the seed on the soil of the top pot. This system did not work. What happeded was the seed germinated and sent the radicle to the bottom of the bottom containter. The radicle then sent out secondary roots and sent the leaf spike returning only half way up the container and the leaf emerged under the soil level and rotted. I did about 20 seeds and found almost all did this. The unfortunate thing is that I didn't know it was happening and only discovered the rotting leaf under the soil level when I "investigated". But, too late. Later I've heard many have had this experience.
The Right Way:
What you have to do is fool the seed. I made a germinating bed out of chicken wire with about 6 inches of germinating medium over the wire. I put the whole bed on 4 legs so you can see below the wire. To keep the medium from falling through the chicken wire holes, I put down a 1/2 inch layer of sphagnum moss. On top of this bed, the seeds germinated quickly. The radicles worked their way through the six inch germinating bed and then protruded through the bottom. When they were down about 4-6 inches below the chicken wire, I removed them, seed and radicle intact. You now must at this point fool the seed and suspend it somehow above your new deep pot. I suspended the seeds on stakes about 10 inches above the pot the seeds were to eventually root into. With this technique the leaves opened up correctly, above the soil level. Care must be taken to deal with the hanging radicles quickly when they penetrate the initial chicken wire or the radicles turn dark brown and then rot.
(posted to the Palm list server, 28 Nov 1998)
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