Germinating the seeds
Your seeds should be planted the day they arrive.
They might sprout during shipping, so be careful when opening the packet, to avoid damaging the root.
Getting started -- You may either plant them in individual pots, or together in a communal pot. Either way, the pots should be at least 3 inches tall (8 cm) and have drainage holes.
For soil, use a well draining mix. I use a mix of 1 part coir fiber to 1 part perlite (use small or medium sized perlite, not large chunks). An alternate mix is 2 parts quality potting soil to 1 part perlite or coarse horticultural sand. Don't add lime to your mix, but you may mix in some slow-release fertilizer.
Rinse the seeds in water to clean them. Push them into the soil, sideways, until just a small tip of the seed is exposed. Plant them at least 1.5 inches (4 cm) from each other.
Water the soil until evenly moist, but don't fully saturate it. Keep them this moist until they sprout. If you enclose the pot in a bag or clear plastic container to maintain moisture, leave it open slightly for fresh air to enter.
They germinate well at about 65-80° F (18-27°C) during the day. A little cooler at night is ok. I have not tried germinating them outside this temperature range. I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots.
An LED or fluorescent bulb kept 4 inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light (See: "Growing indoors with LED lights"). Protect from direct sun.
They tend to begin sprouting within about 4-6 weeks. Occasionally they can take up to 3 months, so as long as the seeds look healthy, don't give up on them! Once they sprout, continue giving bright light, with no direct sun for the first 4 weeks.
Fertilizing -- The first 6 weeks, feed every 7 days with a small amount of dilute (1/8 strength) liquid fertilizer. Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for seedlings, because it is easily absorbed and contains all essential nutrients. After 6-8 weeks, you may switch to a granular fertilizer that contains micronutrients, following the dosage on the package. Or continue feeding weekly with some liquid fertilizer at 1/8 strength.
Re-potting -- You may repot to a bigger pot any time after they are 2 months old. Plants under 2 years old may be kept in a 1 gallon (4 liter) pot. Older plants may be kept in a 3-5 gallon (12-20 liter) pot, but can be kept in a smaller pot if you remove the offsets that will develop.
Climate -- It comes from 1000-2000 meter elevation, where temperatures are mild all year, and nights are cool. It is reported to grow well in temperatures in the 90s (36°C). Its roots probably can handle down to the mid-20s (-4°C) but it's best to protect it from frost. Indoors, the plant can stay evergreen unless exposed to very cool temperatures, which may cause dormancy.
Lighting -- This forest plant prefers filtered sunlight or bright shade with some morning sun. Protect it from strong afternoon sun.
Watering -- The roots like to be kept moist, so aim to keep the soil evenly moistened, but not constantly saturated. Outdoors, if heavy rainfall/watering is unavoidable, use extra perlite in your soil mix.
Dormancy -- The leaves will drop when the rhizome prepares for dormancy. Reduce the watering when this happens, and keep the soil lightly moist (not fully dry) until it sprouts in a few months.
Flowering -- I believe that cool nights trigger flowering, so when they are 2 years old, expose them to about 6 weeks of night temperatures below 62°F (17°C). If you do this by putting them outside in the fall, make sure they don't freeze (over 40°F / 4°C is best).
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Have fun growing them!
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