Radicalis Palm, Dragonfruit, and Pink Banana Seedlings

Those of you who follow my blog may remember that I planted seeds of pink velvet bananas, radicalis palm, wild coffee, magnolia and coontie at different times in the last year.  Today I'll show you the progress I've made so far!  (Please pardon the bad cell phone pics...)

These are my pink velvet banana (musa velutina) seedlings that I got in a kit for kids at my local Winn Dixie!  I can see why the manufacturers found these kid appropriate, since they really were that easy to germinate.  And who in their right mind wouldn't want to grow their own bananas from seed?  My only complaint is that there's no warning on the label to inform people that their tasty bananas will also have tooth shattering seeds.  Pink velvet bananas are reportedly tasty, but those seeds are diamond hard!
I want to keep them containerized for their first year if possible.  Does anyone know if they can be grown in a brightly lit area with no direct sunlight?  I would like to keep them on my balcony until they're tough enough to withstand the dog and winter.

I started these dragonfruit seedlings last fall from a store bought fruit!  Now they're sprawling all over the place in search of light, and I'm worried that they'll need full sunlight.  I know they need it to fruit, but I would rather wait til they're bigger and dog resistant.  Thrown in with the dragonfruit are some rhipsalis seedlings, also epiphytic cacti!  I obtained those from berries on my plant, which are sweet and edible by the way.  They're so small you only see them as green specks in this photo. Since they're very shade tolerant, the dragonfruit growing over them shouldn't be a problem, even though they're ready to hang out of the pot!  My foot is seen under the chair for a size comparison.

The most exciting seeds to pop up this month are the Chamaedorea Radicalis seedlings, planted from red berries on my aerial trunked form.  I hand pollinated some of the flowers with the pollen of a neighboring chamaedorea microspadix, or hardy bamboo palm, so it would be pretty cool if I crossed the two.  Its been done before, but the cross combines the clumping habit of bamboo palm with the longer leaves of radicalis.
Even if they're just simply radicalis, that's still great!  Radicalis is simply the most tropical looking cold hardy palm you can get, and all pygmy date palms around here should be traded out in favor of these much hardier palms from the mountains of northern mexico.  See my Radicalis an Microspadix Plant Profile for more info.

I started this one from a fruit as well, and although its still pretty small I am impressed with its tight form even when grown in the shade.  This is an invasive exotic in zone 9b and up, so please choose one of the much tastier and better behaved varieties if you live further south.  This is a lot hardier than many of its brethren in the Eugenia genus, so I'm going to grow it on... unless I find a Cherry of the Rio Grande, another cold hardy relative with better fruit and less invasive tendencies.  Yes, the photo is a bit photoshopped to add drama.

Wild Coffee is a South Florida native, though I have seen it naturalized in coastal St. Johns and Flagler counties.  It is related to the true coffees, as well as gardenias, accounting for the rich and glossy foliage, which adds a tropical feel where a fine to medium textured plant is needed.  I also started these from seeds found in their fruit, and have included native coontie cycad seeds as well, which are putting out their third fronds now.  Both plants make a great understory planting in a native or tropical themed garden, but I might just keep them on the patio and enjoy their talents for looking great in the shade and... unreliable watering.  Here's a link to another post on this container planting!
Another interesting discovery I've made is that the magnolia seedling I thought I had is actually a cherimoya seedling!  You see, I have this unusual habit of throwing all my seeds together in pots instead of in individual trays.  That way I always have something going on in the container, the roots of germinated seeds help break the harder seed coats of other seeds, and the more prolific plants get the pests before the slower growing, more time intensive plants do. 
Anyways, I planted magnolia seedlings and cherimoya seeds (from a fruit) in the same container and now the mature leaves are definitely those of cherimoyas.  Hopefully I can keep it alive!  It will definitely be a container plant for now, since they aren't exactly cold hardy.  They don't like the hot and humid summers of south florida, so maybe by bringing it in from frosts it will be okay.

So what kind of unusual seeds have you guys been trying lately?


  1. Well since you asked...Castor Beans, which are actually starting to look like something. If our weather would straighten up then they would probably take off. The Hesperaloe seedlings are hanging in there and the Rattlesnake agave are trying to amount to something. However none of me efforts are coming along as nicely as yours!

  2. I liked all the tropical seedling coming up. Here i would like to plant banana afraid of getting all the leafs cuts during winds.

  3. It is so exciting to grow plants from seed. The velvet Banana seedlings look good, have they edible fruit? This is amazing that you grew the dragon fruit from seed. The seedlings look so tiny. I grew mine from cuttings, could not wait. I grow a red fleshed fruit and a yellow one. they are both delicious. You have to wait until the fruit splits on the vine it makes them very sweet and tasty. Bought from the shops they may have not much taste as they are harvested without letting them split for obvious reasons!

  4. You've really had great success with your seeds. Your balcony must be the perfect environment. The palm seedlings are amazing. Pretty soon you will need a greenhouse and an on-line plant shop. :)

  5. You are definitely a patient gardener...especially when it comes to growing palms from seeds. I've heard it is a slow process. It looks like you're having excellent success.

  6. Well, all very interesting plants and seedlings...but my fav here is the gosh darn ripsalis!!! LOL!

    My vegie garden seeds all did well, but I planted basil and milkweed and nothing happened at all, except weeds...I think. Sad, but true. I'm bummed.

    Makes me just want to plant vegie seeds. My next ones will be okra plants...my Mom has the seeds...just gotta go pick up and do the deed! Should be fun, since they love the sun!!!

  7. I'm glad your Musa velutina did well. I've tried to sprout them twice and failed both times...

  8. I'm amaze watching you growing tropical plants from seeds here, especially the bananas. We usually grow them from suckers.

  9. You are doing very well, and have a good green thumb!

    Had a problem getting my last comment across??
    I don't know if it went through or not, you may get 2 replies from me?
    Its exciting watching plants grow..
    The "Sturt Dessert Pea" (a plant) is beautiful. We brought one home from Central Australia, but it didn't like it here and refused to grow. Everything else thrives..
    I will post more of my garden in a couple of days.


Please feel free to share your questions, ideas and suggestions!