Germinating the seeds
» These seeds sprout best if placed in the refrigerator for 4 weeks, after an initial 3 weeks at room temperature. This is to trick the seeds into thinking winter has passed. The tips below explain the process.
First, soak the seeds in a cup of water for 24 hours.
Put the seeds in a small ziplock bag or a cup with a small amount of soil - about 1/4 cup (100 mL). Dark-colored soil is best, because it will make it easier to find and remove the tan seeds from the soil later. Stir the seeds & soil together, then water it until it is evenly moist (but not soggy). Leave the bag open.
For the next 3 weeks, ensure that the soil stays moist. Keep the seeds between about 68 and 78°F (20-26°C). I recommend placing a thermometer near the seeds, especially if using a heating mat.
After 3 weeks, zip up the bag (if you used a cup, enclose it in an airtight container or bag) and place it in the refrigerator. Make sure the temperature stays above 35°F (2°C).
After 4 weeks (mark your calendar) remove the bag from the refrigerator and pick the seeds out from the soil. Plant 1 or 2 seeds per small pot, about 3 inches tall (8 cm). For soil, use a mix of about 2 parts potting soil to 2 part perlite or coarse sand. Plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep (6 mm) and water the soil until evenly moist. Put the pots in an area that stays between 65 and 75°F (18-24°C).
Germination occurs over a long period, beginning 1 month from removing them from the refrigerator and continuing another 4 months. Occasionally, some may take over 6 months, but most should sprout within 1 to 4 months.
Once they sprout, give them some sunlight or very bright artificial light. Protect from strong afternoon sun the first few months. Keep the soil evenly moist.
Fertilizing -- The first 6-8 weeks, feed every 7 days with a very dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer. Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for this, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients. I use General Hydroponics Flora fertilizer, using 1 teaspoon/gallon (5 mL per 4 liters). After 6-8 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package. Or continue feeding weekly with liquid fertilizer at 1/8 strength.
You may transplant them to larger containers when the plants are 3 months old. Repot gently to avoid breaking apart the soil ball. Water before transplanting, to keep the soil ball together. Always shade the plant from prolonged sun for a week after transplanting.
Tips on growing adult plants are here.
Have fun growing them!
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