As mentioned in the main text, we started a serious program of propagation from seed in 2009 following the assertions that Cardiocrinum grown from seed showed greater vigour than those propagated from offsets. [1] [2]

When a plant has been selected for seed, a wind-break mesh bag[3] is placed over the chosen seed pod and left until the seed begins to drop into the bag.

A 16cm diameter pot was used which was filled with standard, well watered compost and a layer of seed placed on top, covered by a layer of vermiculite or Perlite. However, in 2013 I built a polytunnel for the Cardiocrinum as they were taking up too much room in the greenhouse. This includes a raised bed into which the seed will be planted in subsequent years.

When the seeds begin to germinate, the seedlings are given a liquid feed, as there's little or no food in a Cardiocrinum seed. Pot planted seed are potted up when they have one true leaf. The plants growing in the raised bed will be potted up when they become too crowded.

Care must be taken with plants in pots during the winter to reduce the risk of the bulb rotting. They should be kept in a frost-free area, if possible, and I don't water them from October to the start of April: we've lost many plants to rot due to them being too damp and only one because it was too dry and that was in the summer.

My wife offers the extra seed for sale on eBay when it's freshly collected and by mail order for the rest of the year.


18/11/2009, a pot of seed was made up from the 5 types that had flowered that year.


As none of the seeds planted in 2009 had germinated and no type of Cardiocrinum had flowered from which we hadn't taken seed, no seeds were planted this year.


By April a large number of the C. giganteum yunnanense seeds had germinated along with asecond C. cordatum BSWJ2812 and one of our own sourced C. cordatum.

C. giganteum yunnanense, young seedlings
C. giganteum yunnanense seeds at their first immergence in early spring.
C. giganteum yunnanense, older seedlings
C. giganteum yunnanense seeds in May starting to develop their first true leaves.

None of the C. cordatum seedlings had begun to develop a second leaf but all the C. cordatum and ten of each of the other forms were potted up in mid-May.

 4/12/2011  , a pot of seed was made up from the 4 types that had flowered that year, together with two pots of seed supplied by Ian Christie of Christie Apines. One set of these seeds was put in a freezer for a month before sowing.

* It would appear that stratification retarded germination, (unless I've got the labels the wrong way 'round!).

The potted seedlings were overwintered at a minimum temperature of 3°C.


None of the 2011 seed germinated over winter but each of the 2009 batches of seed showed further germination, particularly the pots of C. cordatum

The potted seedlings overwintered well with few losses and showed rapid growth in early spring.

The one at the right is just 10 months old.

C. giganteum 10 month seedlings

A pot of seed was made up from the 7 types that had flowered this year.


Mr Cox reports that self-seeded Cardiocrinum are rare at Glendoick [1] and we had few until the last two years.

Cardiocrinum seedlings

We now have borders carpeted with new seedlings and ones with their first true leaves and will probably have to weed some out in the near future!

This adds to my belief that hard frost is necessary for good germination of Cardiocrinum seeds as the winters of 2009 and 2010 were the hardest we've had for some years. I suspect that the 2011 seeds won't germinate until 2014.


My suspicions were ill-founded! The 2011 seed germinated during the month of April, 2013. These were late probably due to the prolonged winter, (snow lying until April 10th).

There was still more germination of the seeds that had been sown in 2009.

A row of seed was planted in the raised bed from each of the seven types that flowered this year.


A row of seed was planted in the raised bed from eight of the types that flowered this year.


Cardiocrinum seedlings

Some of every type of seed planted in the raised bed in 2013 has germinated.

[1] Variation in Cardiocrinum giganteum, Peter Cox, The Plantsman, June 2009, p. 93
[2] The Genus Cardiocrinum in Cultivation, Victoria A Matthews, The Plantsman, December 2002, p. 205
[3] This is adapted from the method I use to protect Sorbus berries from birds.