Growing plants from seed is a very natural and simple process.  It is important to remember when collecting seeds to be propagated that there are two main types of seed:  fleshy and dry.  Fleshy seeds are packaged inside fruits and are usually dispersed by animals.  The fleshy portion needs to be removed before the seed is sown.  When collecting fleshy seeds, look for mature fruit.  Mature fruit are usually very colorful and somewhat soft to the touch.  A fruit may go from green, to light red to dark red before it is fully mature and ready to be sown.  Dry seeds are usually dispersed by wind and sometimes need their seed coats to be worn away in order to germinate.  When collecting dry seeds, look for seed pods to become brown and withered and ready to open to disperse the seeds.

Once the mature seeds have been collected and cleaned (with fleshy seeds, clean the flesh away from the seed), they are ready to be sown.  It is important that a well draining, aerated, sterile media-mix is used.  Seeds may be sown directly on top of the media in a container about 3-4” deep and then lightly dusted with media.  Seeds should be just below the surface of the media.  Multiple seeds may be placed in a single container.  Once in place, the seeds should be lightly watered.  Smaller seeds should be misted so that they are not displaced by the flow of the water.  The container should then be placed in a protected area with dappled sunlight.  The temperature of the seeds should remain above 70 degrees.  Once the seed germinates it can be removed from the community container and placed in its own container.  The container should be deep enough to house the full depth of the root system.  Once the new container begins to fill with roots, the seedling may be placed in a larger container or in the ground.

In all types of plant propagation it is necessary to remember that when plants are being grown in the shade, they cannot be immediately moved to full sun or they will suffer dramatically.  Plants should be acclimatized slowly from shade to full sun over a period of months.