This is the third article in the series where we are discussing how to Grow Anthuriums from Seed. Last time we discussed the propagation methods of root division and Stem Cutting. So if you haven’t read them yet then have a look.
Just like any flowering plant Anthuriums can also bear fruit and seeds. It is more like small juicy berries with 2 or 3 seeds. Seed development seems the obvious natural way to propagate a plant. It is so although developing seeds in Anthuriums is quite tricky. It is a little difficult to predict the pollination and continue with the successful fertilization of the flowers.
The Flower part that we see in an Anthurium plant is not the actual flower. It is called an inflorescence. The bright colorful petal is actually a modified leaf known as Spathe. The central spike is the Spadix which contains tiny flowers. These flowers have both male and female reproductive parts.
Usually, the male flower blooms first and develops pollen for the vectors to carry and later the female emerges to ensure successful pollination. If you want to pollinate these flowers at home then you must understand the timing for blooming. Understanding the precise reproduction cycle of Anthuriums is the key to successful seed development. This is not easy for most gardeners and you may need 6 to 8 months to ensure the viability of your effort.
Do Anthuriums Produce Seeds?
Yes, Anthuriums do produce seeds after successful pollination. Once those tiny flowers receive pollens the pollination starts. After which their base swells and develops into small berries. This process alone can take several months, more precisely 4 to 6 months.
These berries develop with time and ripen with sweet juice. The Anuturium berries attract birds and squirrels. And most importantly it is not edible so never try that.
Each Anthurium berry can have 2 to 3 viable seeds. Although viability depends on many factors other than fruit formation. Sometimes they can’t produce viable seeds due to the genetic incompatibility of their parents. This is something you can’t change. Overall if there are berries then you can expect a few seeds.
Therefore the Anthurium flower or the inflorescence can give at least 40-60 viable seeds.
Read this: How to Grow Anthurium by Stem Cutting?
Are Anthurium Seeds viable to Grow?
Anthurium seeds are viable to grow. Although they are pretty rare and quite difficult to produce in a home environment. Successful pollination and fruit formation are not common with Anthuriums in an indoor garden. It is possible yet the viability of developed seeds is questionable.
The Anthurium flower can yield a dozen or more berries after successful pollination. Each of these berries can give 2 or 3 seeds. If everything goes well then at least half of the total seed should germinate in ideal conditions. In total, you may have 40 or more seeds. Therefore you can rely on the calculation for at least 20 viable seeds.
Even after getting viable Anthurium seeds the chance of yielding a similar flower as their parent is very low. In fact, The seeds may develop after cross-pollination among different Anthurium plants. This may result in plants with entirely different characteristics. Most importantly the new plants may differ a lot in color or quality from their parents.
Even with all these uncertainties, it is true that Anthurium seeds are viable to grow. It is possible although not so easy to procure.
Advantages of Growing Anthuriums from Seed
- It is fun to work on something that might result in a new Anthurium variety.
- Anthurium seeds are the only way to produce new varieties with desired characters.
- You can make hundreds of Anthurium plants from seeds which are not possible with stem cutting or division.
On the other hand, there are a few drawbacks of this approach that you must consider.
- Anthurium seeds are quite tricky to develop especially in a home garden.
- These seeds are not always viable as any other flowering plant.
- Finding viable Anthurium seeds in the market is very difficult.
- Seed germination and seedling growth rate are also very slow.
- Anthuriums grown from seed do not comply with the characters of their parents. It can be good if results in better variety although most of the time they produce inferior flowers.
Where to find viable Anthurium Seeds?
It is hard to find viable Anthurium seeds in a seed store or any garden store. More breeders do not prefer propagating Anthuriums with seed. They like the cuttings, division, and especially the tissue culture to multiply and grow Anthuriums for sale.
If you really wanna get some viable anthurium seeds then you can give it a try on your own. Otherwise, you can visit an Anthurium breeder who develops new varieties. Only they can have some seed that may result in better Anthurium plants.
Seed Development in Anthuriums
The Spadix or the central column of an Anthurium inflorescence produces many tiny flowers. These flowers may have both male and female parts although mostly they differ with separate parts. So the male flowers produce the pollen that is being carried by bees to the female flowers.
When the email flower fertilizes successfully the inflorescence start changing its structure. First, the colorful petals or the spathe dries and fall off. then all of the male flowers drop. Latter in the subsequent course of fruit formation. the female flowers start swelling in their basal sections. This swollen part will become the berry that contains 2 or 3 seeds inside it.
The entire process of flowering through pollination and seed formation may take 4 to 6 months.
If you wanna complete all of these successfully then start with manual pollen collection from male flowers. Use an alight paintbrush to scrub off the pollens and collect them in foil wrap. Wait for the female flowers to bloom and then again swap the pollen all over the spadix with the brush. If you follow the general blooming pattern of Anthurium then you may get success within a few tries.
Sometimes this can be tiresome but never give hope. It will take time and effort to succeed in this process and when you do the result will be beautiful.
Preparation For Growing Anthurium Seeds
- Start by collecting fully ripe Anthurium berries. Don’t touch them with bare hands instead use garden gloves. Anthurium plants secrete fluids that can cause serious irritation to the skin and eyes. The plant itself is toxic so be careful.
- Squeeze out full ripe berries in a paper towel. Place another paper towel to absorb the fluid and remove any pulp. A gentle rub on both sides will do the job.
- Let the seeds dry a bit in the fan for a few hours. Don’t leave in direct sunlight.
- Meanwhile, prepare the germination media and the seedling tray for these seeds. You can also store the seeds in airtight packets for next season.
- If you wanna store the Anthurium seeds then dry them for 10-12 our in part shade. Then put them in an airtight transparent plastic bag along with some silica gel granules. Put the bag in the freezer to keep it cool.
- Use extra light potting mix or just compost and peat moss to germinate the anthurium seeds. Don’t forget to treat the germination tray and soil mix with fungicide for protection.
How to Germinate Anthurium Seeds?
- Fill a seedling tray with light peat moss or compost and cocopeat. Tap gently to release any air pockets.
- Water the mixture properly and let the container drip.
- Wait for a few moments and then sprinkle the tiny seeds on top of the moist soil mix. Don’t worry about proper spacing at this time. You can always thin out the seedling once they are ready to transplant.
- Wrap the container with transparent plastic film and leave it near a window. Don’t put the seedling tray in direct sunlight or it may damage the seeds.
- Open the wrap once every day fr air circulation.
- There is no need to cover the seeds as it is easier to observe their growth through the plastic sheet.
- Anthurium seeds may start germinating in 45 days. It is a time taking process so don’t give up. Take care of the seedling tray until the plants are ready to transplant.
- Once the seed germinates and the seedling becomes 1 inch long. Then cover their base with 1/4 inch of compost and cocopeat mixture. This is essential to ensure a strong root hold.
- You can transplant these seedlings once they grow taller than 4 inches. Although this may take more than a year so be patient.
- Meanwhile, feed these baby anthuriums with all-purpose liquid fertilizer once in 20 days.
How long Does it take to Grow Anthuriums from Seed?
It can take 2 to 3 years to grow a mature flowering Anthurium plant from seed. This is a long time yet worthy of the final outcome. In fact, the seed formation is slow which is followed by slow germination and then to grow growth rate of the Anthurium plant.
Overall you have to wait at least 2 years from seed germination to getting the actual flower in the plant. If you like experimenting with plants then this is a pretty extensive one. if not then try growing Anthuriums with plantlets or stem cuttings.
How To Grow Anthuriums From Seed?
- Germinate the Anthurium seeds in soft moist germination media. Any commercial potting soil will also do the job.
- Once the seed germinates take care of them until they grow taller than 3 inches.
- 4 to 6-inch tall Anthurium seedlings are ready for their first transplant. You can move them to their separate 4 to 5-inch containers.
- Use light cocopeat and compost mix for the first transplant. Leave the plants to grow in this mixture for the next 3 months.
- You have to retransplant the Anthuriums when they grow taller than 8 inches. This time you can grow them directly to their final destination or in any 8 –10 inch containers.
- Fill the container with 20% compost, 50% commercial potting mix, and rest with cocopeat and perlite. You can also add a pinch of fungicide powder to each container.
- Water these plants properly every time the topsoil seems dry. It only needs watering once or twice every week. Deep watering will definitely help in extending this watering cycle.
- Start feeding the Anthurium seedlings with liquid fertilizer for the first transplant. Repeat it once in 20-35 days other than the winter season.
- Take care of the plant by removing dead leaves. Keep them moist and well hydrated for better blooming.
- If you want faster growth and better blooming then use Bone meal fertilizer with NPK 18:18:18 once in 30-45 days. Water every time after applying chemical fertilizers to the soil.
Care for Anthurium Seedlings
- Keep the soil moist but never soggy.
- Use healthy seeds and confirm their heritage and viability for the seller. If it is homegrown then trust yourself.
- Keep the soil light and well-drained with a balanced ph level. You can use lime, wood ash, and compost to adjust the ph value accordingly.
- Use contact fungicide to store Anthurium seeds. They are prone to fungal infection so be careful not to keep them in damp areas. You should put some silica gel granules to ensure proper dryness inside the storage bags.
- Also, treat the soil with fungicide before sowing seeds and transplanting the seedlings. It is very essential to ensure a reduced risk of root rot disease.
- Gently remove dead and dry leaves from the new plants. These leaves can accumulate pests.
- Spray the seedling with biopesticides like neem oil once or twice every week to ensure no pests attack them.