Q. I have a ylang-ylang tree and have recently obtained some seeds from it. How do you grow these trees from seed? S.T., Fort Lauderdale
Of Southeast Asian origin, Cananga odorata
, commonly known as ylang-ylang, is a medium-size tree that has been introduced into many tropical/subtropical areas for its fragrant flowers. It is also one of the few trees in South Florida that has long, gracefully drooping branches. It is related to annonas, sugar apples, and soursop since they are all members of the Annonaceae family.
Ylang-ylang fruits turn from dark green to black when ripe. Inside each fruit, two to twelve seeds are embedded in an oily flesh. Remove the seeds from the flesh in a sieve under running water. The cleaned seeds should be air-dried in the shade.
The germination of fresh seeds is said to be erratic. Seeds that are six to twelve months old have a higher germination rate. Hot water treatment has been used successfully to stimulate germination. As a general rule, plant seeds twice as deep as the seed are wide and place them in small pots.
Be patient since it can take several weeks for the seeds to germinate and make sure that the soil doesn’t stay too moist. Adrian Hunsberger is an entomologist/horticulturist with the UF/IFAS Miami-Dade Extension office. Write to Plant Clinic, 18710 SW 288th St., Homestead, FL 33030; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.