Germinating Tips

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Germinating in seed cells

There are many questions asked regarding germination. This is the most important stage of growing any plant, and it's beneficial to the plant (and ultimately you) to give it the best possible start.

Seed cells are ideal, as they come in 20 cells right up to around 200 cells. They are cheap and easily available from most garden centres and Builders Warehouse. Pick up some good germination soil also whilst you're there.

20 cell styrofoam growing pot inside sealed zip lock bag. The sealed bag keeps in the moisture and helps retain heat. Note the sosatie sticks used to give the seedlings growing space.
Fish boxes are ideal for growing up to 4x20 cell pots. You can pick them up by most fishmongers for around R15 - R20. They are an ideal size for placing a heat mat inside.
Another home-made seedling box with heat mat. This great idea was kindly sent in by Daniel Nel who bought a snake egg incubator kit and cut windows into it.
Daniel mounted his heat mat on the lid, but you can also mount it at the bottom if you so wish. The complete kit (without perspex for the windows) is available from Reptile City, and was R595 at last check.

Germinating in kitchen towel

We have found this to be a slightly better way of germinating. Take an ordinary piece of Kitchen towel (plain white) and fold it in half, then half again and repeat until desired size - usually one or two more folds is enough. Mark the towel with permanent marker indicating cultivar and "sow" date. Next (whilst still folded) run it under a warm tap quickly, until the towel is very moist. Unfold the last fold made and place your seeds about 2 or 3cm apart. Fold over the last fold and place the towel into a zip lock bag. Seal the bag and leave in a warm place (at least 23 degrees should suffice). After around 5 -10 days carefully unfold the towel to check on results. If any seeds have germinated and the root has started to burrow into the towel, then very carefully remove the seedling and sow into a small pot with good moist soil. Keep warm for a couple of days and slowly acclimatize them to the outside weather.


Seedlings in kitchen towel. Note the tiny root is burrowing into the towel. Remove very carefully and transplant into small pots at this stage

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