Seeding and Propagation/Palm Seedlings


Hi Mr. Alonzo
Hope you can help me with my palm seedlings transplant. Last year around December....I decided to do my very first experiment with palm seeds....I order about 100 Washingtonian Robusta seeds and 100 Washingtonian Filifera. I placed them all in one big plastic tote and they have been there even since. When I tried earlier in the year to transplant some, just to test...they all died.....what do you recommend that I should do so do I have a better chance to transplant all those seedlings. I am in San Antoni, Texas by the way....Thank you in advance

Hi Chris,
Thanx for your question.  Some palm seedlings have very fragile root systems in the beginning.  If you break the roots, it will kill the seedling.  Some of these types are better started in separate pots which are easily emptied as the soil dries, resulting in less disturbance to the roots, or you can direct plant in soil and then wait until the seedling is large enough to dig up and move.  I would myself, prefer growing the seedlings out in separate pots.  I don't know what kind of space you have to do that.  I would dig a large whole that was wide and deep enough to comfortable contain the root system and then gently return soil to the whole and not tamp down on it.  Water it as needed.  Eventually, soil, settling and rainfall with help firm the soil around the roots.  As the seedling gets larger, its root system should be able to accomodate disturnbance by this time.  Also, don't expose the newly rooted seedling to direct sunlight unless you have hardened it off.  This could be killing it too.  Seedlings that have been grown in a sun-free environment, will be very senstive to sunlight and actually burn.  The way to combat this is to plant the seedling in a pot and place the pot in an area that is protected from direct sunlight, rainfall, hail, wind, etc.  After about 10 days, it will be safe to move the seedling to an area of full sun.  I hope this helps.

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Tom Alonzo


I have been growing plants from seeds for at least 20 years. I have grown literally hundreds of different kinds of vegetables, trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, tropicals, some cacti, water plants, iris, rose, lilies, cannas, etc. I enjoy starting from seed.


I've been growing my own seeds for 20 years with indoor propagation equipment I built myself. I am also an Allexperts volunteer on the perennial forum. I have completed the Master Gardener course through the Kansas State University Extension. I have experience with a wide variety of seeds and I have also read through Norm Deno's books on seed germination.

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