The Q&A Archives: Germinating Ylang Ylang Seeds

Question: Hi, I got some Ylang Ylang pods that fell from a tree. I planted them in sandy soil and they are in the house by a window. It has been 3 weeks or so and they haven't shown any sign of life. Got any tips for me ? Thanks Kim

Answer: Tropical seeds sometimes need special treatment before they will germinate. Here are some basics:
In order to start the germination process, water must reach the interior of the seed. Tropical seeds with hard outer coats must be soaked in warm (but not hot) water, for a few hours to overnight.

It can be even necessary to nick the coat (outer shell of the seeds) with a file. Sometimes the coat needs to be cracked or cut in order to let water in and enable the embryo to break through the coat.

This is not to say that the seeds will not germinate if these measurements are not taken; it will only take longer (sometimes years) for the seeds to germinate.

Once you've pre-treated the seeds, you'll want to sow them in sterile potting soil, placing them only two times as deep as the seeds are wide. Keep the soil moist but not soggy wet, and provide bottom heat. The seedlings should emerge in 30-365 days when kept warm and moist. Best wishes with your new plants!

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