Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Germinating Pandanus fascicularis (Screw Pine)

    Unlike the name suggests, Pandanus fascicularis is not a pine at all.  If you have ever looked up Pandanus before, you'll know it develops these fun, completely straight above ground roots.  The trees tend to look like they'be been propped up by sticks.  That alone was enough to spark my interest in this plant.    I wanted to show the entire plant so unfortunately the picture I chose doesn't show the root potential.  Google it!  It's delightful, I promise.They are already commonly grown as houseplants so I figured why not give them a try?

    The seeds I ordered are for Pandanus odoratissimus.  This doesn't appear to be an actual species and upon looking it up, may refer to P. tectorius or P. fascicularis.  I found out P. tectorius is usually grown on small ocean throughout the Pacific.  P. fascicularis on the other hand is grown inland in regions of India.  The seed supplier is from the same region of India so I feel it's safe to assume this is the species.

    At first I was disappointed.  I can be kind of picky and had my heart set on P. tectorius ever since seeing it on the show Survivor (don't judge me :) ).  I was very happy to find out that the species I have may be even better!  The leaves are edible and can be chewed on or used to flavour food (be careful of the barbs though).  The male flowers are beautifully scented and used to create perfumes.  Even the fruit is edible although I'm unsure if it's palatable.  Overall, I'm very excited about this purchase!

    Each seed should be given it's own pot because in some cases three plants can sprout from the same seed (sometimes up to 8).  Pandanus sp. do not like wet roots!  They can rot very quickly so ensure the starting mix is well drained.  This being said, soaking for 1-5 days seems to improve germination, but change the water daily.  Room temperature appears fine, but I would recommend 25C+ if possible.  This is because germination can take a long time and will be sped up with some heat.  Expect the first sprouts within a month but they could take up to half a year.

    Next up is the Strawberry Fig (Ficus auriculata).


  1. Yay Pandanus!

    I tried germinating P. utilis (= P. tectorius?) seeds once, but did it very badly and gave up too early, so I'll be very interested to see how this works for you.

  2. Great blog. We will follow with interest.

  3. This pandanus looks like a tree bearing pineapple plants with pineapples! It is common to find pandanus with tall aerial roots planted in public roadsides and at home, we plant Pandanus amaryllifolius which has fragrant leaves for cooking.

  4. @mr_subjunctive I really hope mine do alright. There seems to be a lot of confusion about Pandanus so I'm not even entirely sure what species I'll be starting.

    @ParksAustralia Thanks, I hope you enjoy my posts!

    @AutumnBelle It reminds me of a pineapple too! I love the roots. Pandanus amaryllifolius is sometimes sold as a houseplant here. It's sterile and only grown from cuttings.


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