Cracking Canna seed

Seed pod

Better late than never. Maybe. This year is the first year I have had any luck with Cannas. Other years I’ve manged to kill them, usually before they flowered. Only sheer determination to remember to water them, no matter what, has enabled them to survive, I could proudly say thrive. Before you imagine a garden full of colorful cannas, let me put it in perspective. I only have a few, maybe six plants.

I finally got the nerve to cut them back. If you’re thinking it’s almost springtime there, you are starting to understand reasons why plants have an uphill battle at my place. As I was hacking into them I noticed that a few had some seed pods on them, so I carefully put them aside and went to Mr Google to research how to grow some more.

Mr Google said “gathering the seed was easy to do”. And it was. The seeds were large and easy to remove. The pods below were from a plant in a different location and I had left them too long, There were no seeds to remove.

The next step in the process was to ‘nick’ the rather hard seeds, so that they could germinate. As an afterthought many of the references said growing cannas from seed (even once you had it) was not that easy. That was an understatement. It started with ‘nicking’ the seeds.

I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to ‘nick’ the seeds. I tried sandpaper. Not going to happen. A file, no. How do you hold the seed and file it. Slippery little suckers. I ventured into the workshed. Maybe the grinder. No, I value my fingers too much. The seeds were round and very hard to hold on to. I chased them all round the shed as they flew out of my fingers. A sharp anything; knife, blade, no, no, no. I couldn’t cut them. Maybe if I hold the seed with a tool I could grind it. No!! A hammer. Yes that broke the seed. Shattered it. Apparently that’s a no – no too. They need to be ‘intact but nicked’. I nearly gave up.

Then I remembered. Once I grew wattle trees from seed quite successfully. The seed was also hard as nails and had to be boiled for a while before sowing.

IDEA : Type canna, seed and boil into Google.

There was one, (just one) video I found that claimed boiling water over the seed might do the trick. So, I boiled the kettle and poured the water right onto the seeds. Success. They crackled. I could actually hear them burst their extremely hard exterior, so that I might have a chance of success. They even danced around the jar. Now they are happily soaking for a day or two before a trip out to the glasshouse.

Check back in a few months. I’m feeling I might have cracked it!!!

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