Cardboard Palm, Take Two

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More cardboard palms that you can shake a stick at – no sticks yet.

Since the original planting of cardboard palm seeds hasn’t shown any signs of life since the initial seeding on 31 May, I decided to give it another shot.

Boiling Over the Cardboard Palm

Instead of soaking the seeds in hot tap water this time, I brought the water to a rolicking boil.  When I dropped the seeds in, each made a most satisfying sizzle and sneeze, bubbling water up all over the place.

Why boil? Well, I did some research (after the fact – I know, I know), and stumbled onto a site called where a group of gardeners were waiting for their cardboard palm seeds to germinate. Days turned to weeks, which turned to months, and apparently at the end of a YEAR, some participants still had no sign of palm. I stopped reading at that point; too discouraging.

How Stubborn Can a Cardboard Palm Possibly Be

I remember reading someplace that some stubborn seeds grow very durable protective coatings and need to be ‘shocked’ into germinating. The ways to be shocking include scraping, soaking, cutting, steaming, burning, boiling, slicing, slashing, pounding, and setting on fire. In fact, some evergreens require a hot forest fire to make their seeds to open and scatter. Since I’m not going to toss seeds into the fireplace and hope a palm tree grows there, boiling water sounds more logical.

Hawaii Found in Southern California Sunroom

Right now I have both the first planting (back row) and the second planting (front row, with their peat pots propped into little oval butter containers) perched on a box in the patio room – aka sunroom – aka hotter’n Hades’ hinges room. I tell myself that this is to give the cardboard palm seeds a nice warm place to nestle in and wait for germination day.

I tell myself this because there’s no air conditioning or swamp cooler inlet back there.  I’m trying to convince myself this is Good For The Plants, because that same room also acts as a great humidity chamber. This hasn’t helped the first planting at all, but then again all they got was a hot tap water soak over night, not the full boiling treatment.

So now both the original cardboard palm plantings and the Take Two seeds  can sit around with the ginger root, which craves hot humid places with plenty of indirect light and lots of daily rainfall. Two out of three ain’t bad. And if the daily rainfall in our house is more than an inch a day, we’ve got more than just a gardening problem on our hands!



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