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Growing Meconostigma from Seeds
(Last Edit: 2014/7/13)
A compilation of seed germinating and seedling care tips from some of the top experts in the field. Entries are by date, most recent ones first.
Thanks to Leland Miyano and LariAnn Garner. Additional tips are welcome from all Meconostigma growers.
ON MECO SEED LONGEVITY. I have found that seeds can remain in the berry until the berries begin to ferment. Sometimes I harvest the pod and put it into a sealed plastic or glass container for a few days until I can get around to processing it. So long as the seeds don't dry out, they are good when still in the berry. The fermented berries are actually easier to clean off the seeds than fresh berry flesh. After cleaning the seeds, I keep them in distilled or RO water for a day or so, changing the water twice a day. I've had seeds in water like this for a week and still had good viability - I suspect this would work better for marsh-loving Mecos like P. paludicola.
- LariAnn Garner, July 13, 2014
Some Mecos have very sticky or gluey matter around the seeds. Specifically, P. goeldii, P. paludicola and P. tweedianum are the ones I have observed this in. Today, in fact, I cleaned a small pod of P. tweedianum berries and they are pretty gooey compared to, say, P. bipinnatifidum or P. saxicola. Also, when cleaning Meco seeds (or any aroid seeds, for that matter), I find that using latex examination gloves is a great help in keeping your hands or skin from getting irritated by the calcium oxalate crystals in the sap. This also makes clean up much easier on your hands.
- LariAnn Garner, July 12, 2014
ON SEED VIABILITY: Regarding Meconostigma seeds, there are two really basic types. Large and small. The small seed type is typical of Philodendron solimoesense and Philodendron goeldii. Tiny. I think these have lessor viability over say a month depending on how it is stored. The larger seed varieties, such as Philodendron stenolobum or Philodendron paludicola, will have a better viability over time. I would guess that we are talking months
- Leland Miyano, October 8, 2011
ON CHARCOAL GERMINATION: To clarify my high tech technique. I was simply trying to wash seeds in a bucket of charcoal that I was rinsing the fine dust off. I am making terra preta soils. The sieve I was using sank into the water with the seeds I was cleaning. Some seeds stuck to the floating charcoal and those germinated in the full sun. It was a wild success...but it had little to do with my skills as a grower. A good accident.
- Leland Miyano, August 22, 2011
ON SEED MUSH: There is a thin coating gel that is very hard to wash off the seeds when the fruits are fresh. At that stage, the fruits and seeds smell like really ripe pineapple. In a few days, the seeds smell like rotten fish and in a few more days, the coating is easier to wash off. However, fresh seed germinates better. The seedlings need to be treated delicately...especially the roots when transplanting. Tangled roots tend to be really difficult to tease apart. If the seedlings get too large, the roots actually glue themselves to the pots.
- Leland Miyano, June 11, 2011
GUIDELINES: To germinate the seeds, one must have well drained mix in shallow community pots. On top of this, chop fine sphagnum moss and lay down a very thin, 1/16th inch layer. Sow the seeds on the surface and keep the media evenly moist. I do not bury the seeds, which would greatly reduce germination rates. Do not allow to dry out. You may want to close the pot in a ziplock bag once you get the moisture correct. Too wet is not good. Fungus; seed predators like birds, ants, rats, and mice; and slugs, snails, and millipedes, etc., are threats. They should germinate shortly. Do not use liquid fertilizers as some growers have had poor survival using them. I use well rotted cow manure in very small doses. Once the plants have about two good leaves, I transplant them from the community pot to individual 2" pots. Do not use Jiffy expandable seedling pots. The roots have a hard time penetrating the fiber wrapping. Do not wait too long before transplanting as untangling delicate roots can cause mortalities. At every stage, do not allow the seedlings to get too large before transplanting as the roots bind to the pots and damage can happen. As the seedlings get to the gallon size, they are really hardy and easy. This is just my way to germinate and grow these plants.
- Leland Miyano, May 20, 2011