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Ensete Ventricosum seeds: an experiment

Just in case you have ever wondered, the following experiment was carried out...


To determine whether the germination rates of Ensete Ventricosum seeds could be improved by chipping the seeds.


All the seeds used were of equal freshness.


Two packets (10 seeds per packet) of Ensete Ventricosum seeds were purchased from the same supplier.  The seeds from one packet were chipped with nail clippers until the white of the seed was visible.  The seeds of the second packet were left intact.

  • The seeds of both packets were then soaked for 48 hours in a dilute solution of seaweed extract (20ml seaweed extract per 6 litres of water) in separate containers
  • 20, clean, 3 inch (76mm) pots filled with multi-purpose compost were sterilised with boiling water from a kettle and allowed to cool.
  • Each Ensete Ventricosum seed was planted individually and the pots labelled.
  • The pots were placed, uncovered, in a 50 watt heated propagator.  This was located out of direct sunlight in a frost free greenhouse.
  • Water, to a depth of approximately 2-3mm was poured in the base of the propagator. 
  • The propagator lid was replaced with the vents closed.
Chipping an ensete ventricosum seed. Chipped ensete ventricosum seed
Chipping the seedxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx The chipped seed

The propagator was checked periodically to ensure that there was a constant layer of water in the base.

The soil surface temperature in the pots fluctuated between 20º and 25º


Ensete ventricosum seeds awaiting germination in a propagator.

This picture shows the first germinated seedling (third from the top, second one in) a few days after germinating. A second one of the Ensete Ventricosum seeds has also germinated at this point but is not that obvious (top row second pot in).  This picture was taken 21 days after the initial chipping.

As each seed germinated it was removed from the propagator and placed in a brighter position.

First signs of lifexxxxxxxxx


Ensete ventricosum seedlings

After 27 days (including soak time) 5 seeds had germinated.  In every case, the germinated seeds were the un-chipped seeds.  

After 31 days the sixth un-chipped Ensete ventricosum seed had germinated.  Not one of the chipped seeds had germinated within this time frame.


Don't bother.

Ensete Ventricosum seedlingsxxxxxxxxx go