Durian Despair – Optimizing Plant Growth Conditions in the UK

DavidDurian1I’m really happy and grateful that several other readers out there share their durian growing experiences with me and hope that by meticulously recording the details, it will serve to inspire many more to start their own little durianarium (new term! you saw it here first!).

David just wrote to me from the UK in some despair over his durian plantlet (see the comments) and he was most enthusiastic and methodical of us all. I have to give it to him, he had the idea, the equipment and the implementation. What on earth does it require to nurture a durian seed? I hear you ask….

Plastic bag at week 2 to prevent evaporation

Plastic bag at week 2 to prevent evaporation

Well, David’s durian seeds were imported from Singapore (which probably means that the durians are from Malaysia) and he had managed to successfully germinate them in some soil and in a very presentable plastic box. At 2 weeks, his seed looks like it had shedded its shell and the stem was starting to push up to stand. To counter the humidity, he wrapped a plastic bag around the outer tray (retains moisture) and watered his seed diligently every 3 days. After 2 weeks, he put it into a nice box by the window to keep it warm. I thought it was a marvellous idea and in fact inspired us to employ a similar method of cling filming my pot to prevent loss of water by evaporation and drying out the soil. All credit due to him for thinking up solutions for tropical plant germination in the UK.

David's Durian Plant Propagator

David's Durian Plant Propagator

I was therefore surprised when he wrote to me today stating that the tip of his durian plantlet was turning brown and he was most alarmed that it might be a sign of dehydration and premature death. My advice was limited to my own experience and I have asked him to keep his plant well watered, out of direct light, give it a little bit of organic plant food and hope for the best.

In a previous posting, Linda’s seed also had a similar issue, although she also did her utmost to look after it. I’m not sure what the issue is, whether it is prolonged shipping, insufficient water or perhaps inappropriate soil conditions that lead to this most disturbing result. An important step which I took prior to placing the seedling into soil was to immerse it into a box of water first to encourage a good headstart

The durian seedling with its initial stem and a bit of a green tip

The durian seedling with its initial stem and a bit of a green tip

simulating the monsoon rains. David and Linda, if you do decide to try planting another durian seed, maybe take this step as well and let me know if it works out better. My plantlet is absolutely flooded with water and I think it isn’t complaining…. (yet).

By the way David, where’s the seed husk? Did it fall off by itself or did you give your durian plant some help?

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