Michelia is one tough cookie to germinate. I have literally tried everything to get this fragrant, must-have plant to grow from seed – and failed miserably every time. Of course, when I saw the seeds this year, I couldn’t resist – and thus am trying again. This time I am using a different method and the seed actually looked like it was swollen.
Here is what I did:
First I ran hot tap water, placed the seeds in a small tea ball and swished them around in the sink and under the running water.
Then I filled a glass jar with hot water – not hot tap water, but hot water from the stove. It was not boiling, just simmering. I then lowered the seeds into this hot water. Michelia have a hard seed coat and I was hoping to quickly pentrate that as well as wash off the majority of the germination inhibitors.
I then set the glass jar close to the heat lamp I am using for my chickens. I wanted to water to remain warm.
Once I saw the seeds were beginning to swell (within minutes), I removed the jar and allowed the water to cool. I then poured the water off, put the seeds into the tea ball and repeated the swishing process. I did this five or six times over the course of 24 hours – each time allowing the water to cool naturally.
Once the 24 hours was up, I gave the seeds one final swish under the hot tap water, then planted them in a seed starting mix. I pushed the seed into the soil, making sure I could still see the top of the seed (but it was even with the top of the soil). I then covered the seed with a thin layer of vermculite and set the seed starting flat on a heat mat under grow lights.
Now I wait – impatiently – to see if this method worked. I hope it did. I really want to grow this plant and harvest the flowers to distill once it becomes large enough. Until then, I simply want to enjoy the flowers on the tree and inhale the magnificant fragrance.
Have you successfully germinated Michelia? What was your technique?