As soon as the seed pods split open and reveal the red-coated seeds they are
ready to be sown. If I'm in a hurry to get the seeds sown I don't wait for the
pods to split completely. Once a pod splits open enough that even one seed can
be seen, all of the seeds in that pod are mature enough to germinate, so I
sometimes split the pods manually to remove the seeds. If you like you can soak
the seeds for a few days to soften the red coating so you can more easily remove
it, but the coat doesn't appear to inhibit germination significantly (if at
all), so I doubt that step is necessary. I know from experience that seeds sown
with their coats on will eventually sprout, but it may be that they sprout
faster if the coats are removed before sowing. I haven't kept good enough
records to tell for sure.
I sow hedychium seeds in community pots of ProMix BX at a depth of two or three
times the diameter of the seeds and sprout them indoors under lights. My
hedychiums produce seeds rather late in the year and I don't trust the hardiness
of small seedlings, so I keep them indoors under lights until the weather warms
enough in the spring that there is no possibility of them freezing. Once the
seedlings are large enough to handle easily (about two inches tall) I transplant
them from the community pots, first into six-pack cells then as they start to
crowd their containers I bump them up through a series of increasing pot sizes
until the plants are about two feet high and filling six inch pots (or gallon
nursery cans), at which point I plant them in the soil where I want them to
grow. I find this is easier then tending them in our sometimes droughty soil.
Then I don't have to worry about the young seedlings drying out (which is
usually fatal), or getting too much sun, or being eaten (deer love them), or
being covered by stuff falling from the trees, or being plowed up by armadillos.
Nature can be rough on young plants here in south Louisiana. But it is certainly
possible to sow them where you want them to grow if you are prepared to keep
them well watered and protect them until they are large enough to fend for
Hedychiums are easy from seed. Basically, the only requirements for germinating
and growing them are constant moisture and moderate light and warmth. The one
thing I tried that didn't seem to work too well was harvesting the entire seed
heads and letting them dry indoors, but maybe I just kept them too long before
All of the hedychiums I have grown from seed have been tolerant of large doses
of fertilizer, so they can be grown to maturity rapidly. If I get them started
early enough in the fall and keep them growing vigorously through the winter
many will bloom during their first summer. Otherwise, they will all bloom
without fail in their second season.
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