How to grow tropical trees from seed
Growing your own trees from seed
Growing your own trees from seed can be easy and is a lot of fun. It provides a sense of achievement as you watch it your own little trees get taller and taller.
Many tropical and sub-tropical species will germinate readily from seeds. If you live in places where palms are planted, for example, you will be able to get seeds for free underneath trees in your area. Where I live in Tenerife I see thousands of seeds going to waste on pavements and streets where they get swept up and thrown away. If I go into shop or look online I have to pay quite a bit for the same seeds.
If you live in a non-tropical country you can grow tropical trees indoors as houseplants. Many fruit pits or stones will readily germinate and the Avocado is a good example of one to grow like this. I have also grown Kumquat and other citrus fruit trees from seeds found in fruit I bought.
When I was living back in Wales I had Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) trees growing as high as my ceiling. The first one I grew was from seeds a friend in Australia sent me. Where I live now the Jacaranda is a commonly planted ornamental tree and so is the Poinciana of Flame of the Forest (Delonix regia).
Both these very pretty trees produce plenty of seeds in their curiously-shaped pods. The little trees grow fast and look very attractive with their delicate foliage.
Many palms are easy to germinate and I have Canary Date Palms (Phoenix canariensis) and Desert Fan Palms (Washingtonia filifera) both doing well.
The crazy thing about all this is to buy trees from a nursery or gardening centre will cost you a lot of money and to grow your own is free or a very small cost and gives you a sense of achievement too.
Growing a tree from seed poll
Have you ever grown a tree from a seed?
Growing a Dragon Tree
I have found that the Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco) comes up easily from seeds too as long as you soak them for a day or so before planting, and then exercise some patience because this species needs as much as three weeks to a month to germinate.
This is the case with many trees seeds that are hard and come in the form of pips and stones. It is always best to soak before planting and be prepared to wait a while before you can expect to see the first green shoots.
Obviously trees like a lot of room when they get bigger but what you do with them when they are too big for where you have them is something you can think about later. In the meantime just give them a larger pot each time their current ones become root-bound.
Dragon trees grow into massive trees eventually but this takes a very long time, and because they are slow growers they will do fine in a pot or containers for many years.
I always think it is really sad to think of how many seeds from fruit trees get thrown away as rubbish every day all around the world. They could all be growing forests and orchards of fruit trees.
Many trees are so easy to grow from seed that they will even grow if you simply scatter seeds on the soil. I remember back in Wales I had too many plum trees in my back garden because I had thrown the stones of fruit I had been eating outside onto my garden and they had germinated without even being planted.
This happens here too and I often spy baby palms growing or trying to grow in borders and even in cracks in the pavement where the seeds fell.
We can make our homes and gardens more beautiful by growing our own trees too. And it's a lot of fun experimenting with finding out if you can grow something from seed. So I say let's help Mother Nature by planting more trees.
Dragon Tree seedlings
© 2009 Steve Andrews