Proboscidea parviflora var. hohokamiana Journal
I will be growing Proboscidea parviflora var. hohokamiana (the white seed variety) this season and will be keeping a little record here for anyone that is interested. I don’t know if my methods will be successful as this is my first attempt at growing these plants. Most of my growing procedure will be derived from what I have read and from tips I have acquired from past growers. Due to the lack of detailed information on growing these plants, I will try to be quite detailed and descriptive in hopes of this journal helping other future growers. Currently I am lacking a camera, but will take pictures somehow or draw illustrations.
Daily temperatures here in Southern California have begun to hit the high 70’s to low 80’s and the danger of frost has also passed, so I decided to go ahead an begin my attempt at growing my Devil’s Claw plants.
4/10/08- I decided to begin with 20 seeds. I will do a three-part treatment in an attempt to maximize germination rates. I will be using this method based on what I have read regarding these plants. To begin with, I placed them in an open container in some pure RO water for about 48 hours. The container was placed on my dresser next to my west facing window that gets early morning sun and bright light the rest of the day. My room is kept at room temp (~70-75F).
4/11/08- Most of the seeds have sunk to the bottom of the container, some are still floating though. Seed coats have become quite transparent and I can now see the endosperm + embryo inside each one. Keep in mind that I have the white variety, so the black variety might not do this.
4/12/08- 48 hours have passed. All of the seed have now sunk to the bottom of the container. I now go on to the second part of the treatment. Tools I use: a dissecting scalpel, tweezers, and a paper towel. I used the paper towel as a place mat. Next, I took out a seed at a time and placed it on the towel. I hold each seed down with my tweezers, and with the scalpel, I gently make an arched cut around the inner perimeter of one side of the seed as outlined with the red line below:
The seed coat is now very soft, so I am careful not to apply too much pressure onto the scalpel as it may penetrate down to the endosperm. Now that the cut has been made, I use my fingernail and peel the small portion of the seed coat off the seed, exposing the white endosperm inside. At first this was difficult to do because I was afraid I would harm the embryo + endosperm. I found it best to begin peeling from the bottom of the seed (see figure). After the portion of the seed coat was removed, I immediately placed the seed back into the RO water container for another 45-60 minutes. This is the third part of the treatment. I repeated this process with all the seed.
Finally… ready for sowing. For my soil, I used 1 part prepared Shultz Cactus Mix and 1 part perlite. I used a variety of pots… a couple of two inch seedling pots, some three inch pots, and a large sour cream container… all with holes at the bottom. I filled each container with my soil mix. Lastly, I made a .5 inch hole in the soil and inserted a seed inside. I placed one seed per 2in pot and three seeds per big pot. Once the seeds germinate, I will separate them and plant them in my yard directly into the ground. I placed all the pots in two large tubs I got from the dollar store and placed them directly outside in full sun. I watered all of them with regular tap water so that the soil will stay moist.
4/13/08- The daily high got up to 92F today. This will surely help the seed germinate. I will continue to water as necessary.
I will update once I observe germination.