Thursday, February 5, 2015

Seed Experiments: Cycads and Meyer Lemons

The hardest part of winter for me is the absence of busy work. How many times can one look at a seed catalog or look at pretty pictures on Pinterest?

Cycad Seeds 2015
Dry Schlumbergera flowers and pebbles in the right upper corner.

It's cool and windy outside but I wrapped up and went to gather Cycad seeds. Mama Cycad looked to have pushed the biggest and best up to the top of the nest. I picked a half dozen and took them to a jar of water. The biggest one floated. That's it lying on a piece of brick. I don't know why it has a hole in the seed coat. I am going to cut it open to see what is or is not inside.

Viable seeds have an embryo inside that emerges from the end of the seed which is planted sideways half covered in the soil.

I went back for 2 more seeds. Both good, they are all soaking. Curiously, one had none of that orange seed coat, just a brown hard surface but it sank with the others.

Experts say that all the thick flesh orange stuff must be soaked and scraped, else it is toxic to the emerging shoot. That worked well last time when I raised a successful Cycad seedling only to see it destroyed by a squirrel mid-summer.

Cycad seedling, 2014

Undaunted, I shall try again.

I've already planted 3 Meyer Lemon seeds in each of 3 small pots. I saved lemon seeds when I made hot lemonade, one of our favorite winter treats. I read that it takes anywhere from 4 to 8 years to produce flowers and fruit from lemon seeds.

I read that from a hybrid Meyer Lemon I may get a lemon, I may get a tangerine. Does it matter? The blossoms will smell sweet and any fruit will be a curiosity. Even a sour orange will be photogenic. Maybe I'll see fruit on a citrus tree in my greenhouse before I am 80, a marvelous treat to look forward to.

He-who-Mows has gone to Marvin Gardens, taking Marvin and Mrs. Marvin 2 of our prized tomatoes for a mid-winter tomato sandwich. Have I mentioned that I am rooting 4 tomato suckers?

Oh, and we have the permit from the county to build the Mule Barn.


  1. Good luck on your seed starting. I know this year if you get a baby Cycad, that darn squirrel won't be able to get near it.

  2. I've never tried to grow a Cycad, but I'm having fun with our Meyer Lemon tree. It was about 3-4 years old when we got it in November 2013. It produced beautiful flowers that bloomed around Easter time last spring, and fruits followed. Only six of them remain--in various sizes. The largest ones are now ripening--about 10 months after forming. I've heard that is a decent harvest for a young tree. My mouth is salivating thinking of the first lemonade (or lemon slices in iced tea, or spritzed in my beer, or...). Good luck with your seeding projects! I will be following to see how your Cycad and Lemon plants grow. :)

  3. i wish you luck with your seeds and hope that the darned squirrels take their antics elsewhere!


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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