Germinating the seeds
Germination is similar to most Begonias (not tropical / terrarium Begonias), so if you have germinated those before, you may use the same technique that worked for you.
When to plant -- Plants your seeds when you receive them for best results.
Getting started -- Use small pots or cups that are 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) tall. The pots should have drainage holes.
Use a well-draining soil mix. A typical soil mix is 3 parts potting soil to 2 parts perlite. An alternate mix is equal parts of coir fiber (or peat moss) and perlite, with some slow-release fertilizer added. Fill the containers with the mix and water it until it is evenly moist, but not soggy.
The seeds are small, so work in a well-lit area. Sprinkle several seeds across the surface of each pot. An easy way to pick up the seeds is by breathing on your finger tip to lightly moisten it, then dabbing the seeds with it.
Next add water until everything is evenly moist (but not soggy).
Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the soil surface never dries out. The easiest way to maintain moisture is by enclosing the pots in a plastic container or bag - just leave it open a crack to let in fresh air. Once or twice a day, drip a few drops of water on the surface to keep it moist.
Aim to keep the pots between 62 and 74 degrees F (17-23°C). Avoid letting them get above 76 degrees F (24°C). I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots, especially if using a heating mat.
The seeds need light to germinate, so place the containers in a bright spot out of direct sun. A fluorescent bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) above them provides the right amount of light.
The seeds should start sprouting in 2-3 weeks, but may take longer at cooler temperatures. The young seedlings have a small root system, so continue dripping water on the soil surface until they are 4 weeks old.. then you may let the surface dry out between waterings.
Fertilizing -- If your potting soil contains fertilizer (check the package) your seedlings shouldn't need feeding the first 3-4 weeks. Then feed about every 2 months with a slow-release (pelleted or organic) fertilizer.
On older plants, it's normal for an older leaf to occasionally turn yellow and drop, but if it seems excessive, the soil could also be too dry down in the root zone, or the plant may need more nitrogen fertilizer.
Watering -- Once the seedlings are a month old, you may stop keeping the soil surface moist at all times. Aim to keep the rest of the soil evenly moist (but not soggy).
Lighting -- The plant likes filtered sun or bright shade + morning sun. Protect it from strong afternoon sun.
Transplanting -- When the seedlings are 2 months old, repot to a larger container about 1 quart (1 liter) in size. Water the soil before repotting, to keep the soil ball from breaking apart, which can damage the roots. Protect from direct sun the first week after repotting. Repot a few months later to a large pot. The final pot size depends on how large you choose to let your plants grow. You may prune them to any size you wish.
Climate -- It grows in mountainous areas with mild daytime temperatures and cool nights. I don't know how much heat it can take, but some similar cloud forest plants prefer temperatures below 85 degrees F (29 C), with nights below 65 degrees F (18 C). It probably can only survive a light frost, so it's best to protect it from freezing temperatures. Indoors, keep the humidity above about 40%, perhaps with the use of an ultrasonic humidifier if necessary.
If you have any questions or problems, please email me.
Enjoy your plants!
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