Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Germinating Brazilian Tree Fern (Schizolobium parahybum)
The first species I'll be posting about is Schizolobium parahybum (Brazilian Tree Fern, Tower Tree, Brazilian Fire Tree). Now to clarify, there also appears to be a Blechnum that is called Brazilian Tree Fern. This is not the plant this post is about. The plant I've ordered does not display any red foliage and is not a true fern. As you can see in the above photo, it looks very similar to a tree fern when young. As it ages, the stem begins to branch and the plant eventually grows into a large tree, covered with yellow flowers each spring.
Now clearly my trees will never get this large because Schizolobium parahybum are by no means hardy in USDA zone 6 (minimum USDA zone 9b). I'll just keep them in pots and bring them in for the winter. I don't expect any flowers just small trees possibly with a few branches. They enjoy heat and humidity and the summers in South-Western Ontario should suit them nicely.
Most sources say this plant is easy to grow from seed. Each seed should be scarified and soaked in water for 4 hours. The seeds should then be planted 1-2cm deep in well drained soil. They should be kept relatively warm (25C or higher) and constantly moist (but not soaked). Some sources suggest putting the seeds in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them after lightly scarring. Let them sit in the water for about a minute and then plant. This is probably the method I'll use. I've successfully tried it with Adansonia digitata (Baobab) seeds so I don't expect the seeds to be killed. Germination should occur within about a month.
Stay tuned for my next post on Jacaranda mimosifolia.