Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Planting Bunga Kantan (Torch Ginger) from Fresh Seeds


I've written a few times on this blog about my Bunga Kantan plant also known as Torch Ginger (the plant's Binomial name is Etlingera Elatior) plant because the plant just keeps fascinating me. It is always in bloom and keeps getting pollinated so that I have what seems like a never-ending supply of seeds. So I have been experimenting on how to plant the seeds as there is very little information online or photos of how to do it. After some dialogue with Autumn Belle over at My Nice Garden I managed to grow some seeds. Then some more. Then some more. The images here are seeds planted on July 22 and the photos were taken about 40 days later. Many more seedlings have sprouted since.

So here is what I know, dried Bunga Kantan seed sprouts slower than very fresh seed. See the the photo above; three containers were very fresh seed and the top left was dried.

Recently, I decided that I want to grow some more Bunga Kantan to run it along the back side of our house between us and the neighbors and to keep experimenting. Below are some photos I took while planting more seed out in the Wet Kitchen.

I got some fresh seed pods (what I call the things above) from three separate finished Bunga Kantan blooms on my plant (a finished bloom on my plant here). When the blooms start to die they are pink, then they turn green and finally turn brown and get hard. So the pink ones should sprout seeds the fastest because they are the freshest.

In order to plant the seeds, you need to cut open the pods with a knife. See the photo above, the fresher the seed the whiter the small seeds inside it are. As the pods get older the seeds inside start to get black.

I have been planting clumps of fresh seed into containers nearly filled with dirt. I plant alot of them, well, because I have a lot of seed. But also because sprouting is sporadic so the more you have the better chance to get growth.

Lastly, I cover with a small amount of dirt. Enough so that when you water a good amount everyday, the soil won't wash away and expose the seeds. I find that the plants like more water rather than less.

As I continue to experiment I'll keep you posted. Also, if anyone has any experience planting these seeds, please post your tips.

20 comments:

  1. The seedlings are so adorable with the heart shaped leaf. I guess in future you will never run out of bunga kantan.

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  2. You did a splendid job growing them. Fresh seeds are always better I guess. I also just did some experiment with our pepper seeds and found it that way too. It will marvellous lining in your garden in the near future.

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  3. I wish I could get some seeds from you..the seedlings are so cute and the flower is absolutely beeyoootttiiifuul!

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  4. Raptus Regaliter,

    Where are you based? Your profile says DC. The plants won't live through winter there. But if you are based somewhere where it is like zone 9 or zone 10 they should be able to grow. Let me know if you are in these zones and I could possibly send you some.

    Best,
    K

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  5. K, my 3 Bunga Kantan (BK) grown from seeds you gave me has been transferred to a big flower pot due to space constraints. I wonder if it will flower when grown in a pot. 1 BK plant when planted on the ground can grow into a big clump and you have to keep trimming/cutting off the excess stems/dried stumps. So be careful if you intent to plant more. But then again, as I know those grown from seeds will grow more slowly and take longer to start flowering. You may wish to reserve some space for white BK which is very unique and lovely too.

    Judging from the success (yours and mine) with seeds and your healthy seeds from your productive BK plant, it is great news indeed because those who are unable to get the rhizomes can grow them from mail order fresh seeds.

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  6. I did plant a lot of Bunga Kantan at the side of my house, and am watching to see if it gets out of control then will pull some if needed. But strangely, the many small seedlings I have planted aren't growing much taller, they are getting a bit fuller, but still low to the ground. Are yours growing taller? Maybe I need some fertilizer, I don't know.

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  7. My Bunga Kantan (BK) grown from seeds and in a flower pot are growing very slowly. Now it is only about 2ft tall. BK grown from rhizomes and on the ground is about 10x faster. Some of the stems can reach about 15-20 ft tall.

    I apply general purpose fertilizer to the seed BK but doesn't seem to do much good. I hardly apply any fertilizer to rhizome grown BK and yet it is growing vigorously. I have to keep pruning and cutting the excess stems to keep it in check.

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  8. hello, I was searching for info on how to grow kantan and stumbled across your blog. Would very much appreciate if you could send me some seeds to be planted. your help would be much appreciated. I can be contacted thru email at farahshahwahid@yahoo.com. thanks K!

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  9. Hi,I live in Hong Kong & would love to grow Bunga Kantan in my garden. Am wondering if you would be kind to send me some of the seeds for planting? You can contact me at:- chusplus@netvigator.com With thanks, Penny

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  10. Greetings from Sydney, Australia! My goodness this is inspiring - congratulations on such an interesting blog! I've been looking for Bunga Kantan but unfortunately it's not available here. If you have any spare dried seeds you can send me I'd be very grateful - I'd love to try growing this beautiful plant for my kitchen garden (I think fresh seeds would rot in the post). Of course, I'd be more than happy to pay you for your trouble - just let me know how much. My email is tomasflamenco@gmail.com.

    Cheers,
    Tomás

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  11. Hi, So happy to come across your blog. Would like to buy some seeds from you.

    SC

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  12. I'm exploring and wanna know if you have any white & red BK seeds to sell to a humble new gardener... :p,,,

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  13. I want to plant bunga kantan, anyone know where to get the seed or buy the plant?

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  14. Dear Autumn Belle do you have any more bunga kantan seeds to sell or give away ?

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  15. http://m.ebay.com/itm/5-RED-TORCH-GINGER-PLANT-SEEDS-Etlingera-elatior-EXOTIC-EDIBLE-Comb-S-H-/141625113412?nav=SEARCH

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  16. http://m.ebay.com/itm/5-RED-TORCH-GINGER-PLANT-SEEDS-Etlingera-elatior-EXOTIC-EDIBLE-Comb-S-H-/141625113412?nav=SEARCH

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  17. Hi hi , Any chance of buying the Bunga Katan seeds from you ? I live in Singapore . thanks

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  18. Hi K,

    I am a Penang girl now residing in California. I miss adding bunga Kuantan in my curries. I would now like to grow some and wonder I can purchase seeds from you. Thanks.

    Deeana

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  19. Hi K,
    I am from South Africa. The past 2 years I have been buying by seeds off eBay. They are dry seeds. I have heating pads, grow lamps and I have tried everything to get them to grow. Do you have any advice on how to germinate the dry seeds. I have stratified, scarified d soaked I warm water over night, soaked in lemon juice over night even tried the bleach soak as well as the hydrogen peroxide.
    I really want to grow them and have a place in my garden where ginger (normal ginger) grows quite happily.
    Any help would be great as I got more seeds in the post today. I would be willing to buy fresher seeds to.

    Regards

    Vici

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  20. Hi K,
    I am from South Africa. The past 2 years I have been buying by seeds off eBay. They are dry seeds. I have heating pads, grow lamps and I have tried everything to get them to grow. Do you have any advice on how to germinate the dry seeds. I have stratified, scarified d soaked I warm water over night, soaked in lemon juice over night even tried the bleach soak as well as the hydrogen peroxide.
    I really want to grow them and have a place in my garden where ginger (normal ginger) grows quite happily.
    Any help would be great as I got more seeds in the post today. I would be willing to buy fresher seeds to.

    Regards

    Vici

    ReplyDelete