Germinating Fitzoya cupressoides

Fitzroya cupressoides is considered to be one of the relatively slow-growing species; Peter Maddox from Tasmania reported trees of about 3 meters after 9 years of cultivation from a 15 cm. high plant, and similar growth of 2.5 m in 10 years was reported by "Seb" in England (See our forum). A height of 15 cm. is achieved after one year from seeds (Plantas Amenazadas de Centro-Sur de Chile, p. 69).

The literature (Plantas Amenazadas de Centro-Sur de Chile) reports a 50% germination with a cold stratification of 60 days. The germination begins after about three weeks after terminating the cold stratification. Depth of sowing - 3 mm. using composted pine bark. Another source Bosque (Valdivia) suggests that cold stratification should last between 60 and 75 days, depending on the elevation of the trees from which the seeds were collected. They give germination rate of between "0 and 37.5%," indicating that there is considerable variabilty between different trees. This is probably true, because the germination from seeds from 2008 harvest was very low, while 2009 harvest showed excellent results.

We have achieved good germination after carrying out a rather short cold stratification of only 3 weeks and with germination beginning after additional three weeks, exposing the seeds to a fluctuating temperature of between +10 and +20 C. We achieved about 30% germination in seeds which were located around the edge of semi-transparent container, so that they key factor for succesful germination may be light exposure. There was no germination in the center of the container after 5 weeks after taking the container out from cold stratification.

The substrate used was a mix of perlite, sand, and humus (not ideal, I believe that pine bark is better), and the seeds were covered by 2 mm. of sand. Before the cold stratification, the seeds were soaked for 48 hours in water, with several water exchanges.

There is also the possibility to propagate this species from cuttings (again, according to Plantas Amenazadas de Centro-Sur de Chile): small cuttings, about 5 cm. collected in autumn, placed in hot bed (18C), with a substrate of sand with sphagnum, treated with AIB growth hormone at 2000 ppm, and supposedly 96% success after 2-3 months.