Landscape Propagation



Tunicate Bulbs from Seed - Method I

A tunicate is a true bulb and as such consist of a shoot and a basal plate.  An example of a true bulb is an onion.  If you cut an overly ripe onion in half, you will notice scales which are the tight rings which contain a tiny embryo, or growing stem.  The rings are modified leaves.

Some tunicate bulbs will form new little bulbs, called offshoots (also known as splits or spoons).  These offsets will eventually separate themselves from the mother bulb producing new bulbs which grow and do the same in return.

As this happens over time, the bulbs need to be dug up, separated and replanted further apart, and the natural reproduction will repeat itself..

This section concentrates on a specific type of tunicate bulb that flowers and when successfully pollinated will produce numerous, large, but thin seeds.  These seeds do not remain viable for very long periods and therefore should be collected and planted as soon as possible.

I will be covering two methods that I have used.  There are many ways, but these are the two that I have found most successful for me.  This section is Method I.


Tunicate Bulbs - Propagation by Seed - Method I

Example:  Amaryllis

Step 1.  Place 4 sheets of unscented two ply facial tissues on a plate.  Add one tablespoon of water and let the tissues absorb the water.

Step 2. Arrange the seeds on the center of the tissues so that they are approximately 1 or 2 inches apart.

Step 3.  Gently fold the left 1/3 of the tissue toward the center of the sheets covering half of the seeds.  Then fold the right 1/3 over the seeds toward the middle, covering the rest of the seeds.  Do not press the sheets of tissue down.  They should fold loosely over the seeds and form a 'package' of sorts...

Step 4. Insert this newly formed 'package' into a gallon zippered storage bag which should hold two of these 'packages'.  Zip the storage bag tight, so that no moisture will be lost. Be careful not to press down on the tissues and leave just a little air inside.

Step 5. Place the storage bag under fluorescent lights.  Within 2-4 weeks,, you can carefully open the bag to see whether the seeds have germinated.

Step 6.  If the finer roots grow into the tissue, gently pull the tissue away from the newly formed roots.  If  tissue does not tear easily, spray it with a little water.  You will usually end up leaving bits of tissue on the the roots which will decompose in the solve with time.

Step 7.  Plant the seedlings with the top portion of the newly formed bulblet (see picture with pencil pointing to bulblet) just above the surface of a moist mixture of peat, vermiculite and perlite or a well draining soiless potting mix.  You may have to gently press down on the roots to make them point downward into the soil.

Step 8.  Provide the seedlings with some light, keep the potting media moist, but not too wet, and do not allow it to dry out completely until the seedlings are well established.

Care for your seedlings just as you do the parent bulb.  It will take 3-5 years for your seedlings to flower.

Amaryllis Flower

Amaryllis Seeds on Tissue


Folded Tissue

Folded Tissue in Bag

Amaryllis Seedlings



Seedlings in Tray Cells


*Note:  Includes hardwood and softwood cuttings of  house plants,  trees, shrubs and vines

Send Mail to  ann at landspro.com

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Tunicate Bulb Cuttings Continued Tunicate Bulbs from Seed Continued