Germinating Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds can be tricky for some growers. Two factors that make Hawaiian Baby Woodrose somewhat difficult to work with is their hard seed coat that does not allow moisture to easily penetrate and a tendency to rot easily. This guide will assist you in overcoming both of these factors so that you can successfully germinate your seeds.
When beginning germination, the first thing you must do is prepare the seeds to receive moisture from the outside so that they embryos can wake up. To do this, you want to file the hard seed coat thoroughly. This process is called scarification and can be accomplished using either a file or some large grit sandpaper. You want to file the seed coat away from the little circle on the seed (the germ eye) and towards the pointy end of the seed. This is because the root of the seed will come from the end with the germ eye, and you do not want to damage it with your filing.
Next, you want to load the seeds up with moisture so that they can germinate quickly. If you were to leave them in the soil without soaking, it would be difficult for them to absorb enough moisture, especially because most of the moisture would have to enter through the nick you made by filing. Soaking will also soften up the seed coat to allow the root to emerge through the other end. Simply submerge your seeds entirely in plain water and let them sit for 24 hours. After 24-hours you will notice that they are swollen, which means they have taken up the water they need to sprout.
The point where germination usually fails is after soaking. The soaked seeds tend to rot easily, especially in soil. Therefore, it is advised to use an inert medium such as a paper towel. Wet a paper towel in pure hydrogen peroxide so that it is moist but not soaking. The paper towel should not leave excess moisture on the surface of a table if it has the proper moisture content. You are using hydrogen peroxide instead of water because peroxide has the ability to resist mold and bacteria better than water. Before you place your seeds in the moist paper towel, blot them dry with a dry paper towel. This will remove any dissolved material on the outside of the seed that pathogens can breed on.
Fold your seeds up in the peroxide paper towel and place them in a plastic zip seal baggie. Do not seal the baggie though because you want some airflow. Check the seeds each day for germination and to make sure the paper towel is not drying out. If it is, you can add some additional peroxide. Once you notice sprouts and the roots are about ¼” long, it is time to transplant them into soil.
Hawaiian Baby Woodrose likes a soil that is rich, well-draining and has good airflow. Plant your seeds with the root facing down at a depth of about ¾”. Keep the soil consistently moist (not wet) at room temperature. From this point on, your seedlings should be easy to grow. Established plants enjoy plenty of sunlight but will survive indoors (without flowering) as well.
This is a picture of the seeds prior to the germination process on 12/19/10
The picture shows the scarification of the seed coat. In this case a file is used. Sandpaper will also work. The seeds are being filed away from the germ eye toward the point of the seed.
Next, the seeds are soaked for 24 hours in plain tap water
As yyou can see, after a 24-hour soak, the seeds on the left are considerably swollen compared to the non-soaked seeds on the right.
The soaked seeds are put into a paper towel soaked with hydrogen peroxide and placed into an unsealed zipper baggie. These are the seeds on 12/22/10 (3 days after the inital process began)
Next, the seeds will be put into soil to begin growing. For reference, here is a picture of last year’s seeds after they began emerging from the soil.