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How to Germinate Royal Poinciana Seeds

The USDA Forest Service says there is no tree like the Royal Poinciana, grown for ornamental purposes thanks to its thin foliage and bright red flowers. The tree is propagated via seed, but its seeds are coated in a thick shell that makes it hard for water to penetrate, thus making germination painfully slow. Gardeners can modify the seeds to help water enter the seed for quicker germination.

Collect seeds from an existing Royal Poinciana tree. Long, brown seed pods drop to the ground every fall; crack them open to discover several dozen seeds. If you harvest a pod before it's opened naturally, the USDA's National Seed Laboratory recommends drying the pod in the sun for 30 days before breaking it open.

Prepare the Royal Poinciana seed for germination. The National Seed Laboratory recommends placing the seed in 194 degree Fahrenheit water for 10 seconds, then soaking it for 24 hours in room temperature water. Alternatively, the University of Florida suggests breaking the tiniest piece possible off of the rounded end of the seed using pliers.

Fill a gallon-sized garden pot with potting soil. If you don't have commercially prepared potting soil, make your own by stirring together equal parts of garden soil, compost and sand. Straight garden soil is too heavy for successful seed germination.

Plant the seed. Bury it 1 inch below the soil surface. Water the pot twice daily or as needed to keep the soil surface moist. The seed will typically germinate within 5 to 6 weeks.

Germinate Royal Poinciana Seeds

The royal poinciana tree--scientifically known as Delonix regia and also called the flame tree, the flamboyant, and the Mohur tree--features bright orange flowers, feathery green compound leaves, and gracefully spreading branches that provide a welcome canopy of dappled shade. By following some basic guidelines for seed stratification and germination, you can grow a lush, tropical royal poinciana tree from a seed. Harvest the long, straplike seed pods when they fall to the ground in the spring after the tree has flowered. In order for the seeds to germinate, the seed coat needs to be softened--a process called warm stratification. Add cold water until the water temperature drops to 110 degrees; the water will feel hot but not scalding. Add several inches of fast-draining, sterile potting mix to a clean, new seed tray to a depth of 3 inches, and sow the royal poinciana seeds 1/2 inch deep and 3 inches apart, firming the mix around the seeds to ensure good contact. Keep the soil consistently moist.

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