Push the limits. Are you growing exotic seeds?

I have lemon bottlebrush starting! They are so very tiny, just like the seeds.

I also have milk thistle sprouting.

These are both new to me, so I am very excited!


  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Every year I try something new but so far this year I have not started anything due to the bad windstorms we had, hopefully soon.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,370 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I bought a papaya tree. I hope it's non GMO but who knows. It's pretty small right now.

    I also planted some dragon fruit seeds that I took from a dragon fruit. We'll see what happens if anything.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,500 admin

    @kbmbillups1 I have had a dragon fruit for many years now.

    I just put a Mango seed into a pot (I know which pot it's in, 😆). I bought one mango, just so I could plant the seed.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,370 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning I put an avocado seed in a pot last summer. I kept all of my summer plants like geraniums, etc covered in a make shift not really greenhouse but insulation house all winter. My avocado tree grew really well without me doing anything except watering it every so often along with the other plants. I say insulation house because I repurposed the insulation that comes in my veggie boxes and made a house for them for the winter.

  • Michelle D
    Michelle D Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have always tried something new each year. This year I'm so far behind. I haven't decided what new thing I will try. Our weather is still too cold to really plant outside anyway so I have some time still. Any suggestions of what I should try?

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,500 admin

    @Michelle D I would suggest a medicinal plant that would be very useful to your needs and one that won't be invasive. What speaks to you and really has your curiosity? Do you want something indoors or out? Will it give you what you want if it is indoors? Can it stay in a pot (so important)? I'm sure you know all the other things to consider!

    I keep trying some other unique to my area plants, but so far, they aren't giving me much (yet). I'll keep experimenting.

    As far as the lemon bottlebrush, it is from Australia. I think @JodieDownUnder might have mentioned it in the past. It is also known as crimson bottlebrush. The blossoms are unique & pretty. It is also medicinal. Every time I spend time watering it, I will think of her. 😄 I think it would be fascinating to have a special medicinal plant from every continent. I should really see what I currently have and where it is native. I guess that's for a slow day...whatever that is. Haha

    I checked my moringa today, following one member's advice how to get it to germinate. I have one (maybe two) out of three that is showing signs of life. It is exciting too, of course. It will be an indoor plant.

    Boy, I really need more windows.

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    @LaurieLovesLearning what a lovely thing to say but don’t be thinking of me too hard or you’ll get a headache!🤣 you must be referring to Callistemon citrinus, a very hardy popular native shrub. Most aussies wouldn’t know about it’s medicinal properties, just that it smells nice but yes the leaves make a nice tea & you can also make a poultice from the leaves to put on wounds to help healing etc. Are you treating it as outdoor or indoor for your climate?

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,148 ✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning I love the idea of experimenting and trying something new! I think I will start at the produce section and try planting something I have never grown!!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,500 admin

    @JodieDownUnder Definately indoors. It's only hardy to zone 9. I'm in zone 3b. I have many in the 3 plugs.

    Do they transplant okay? They are way too tiny to transplant yet (I'd probably just squish them), but separating them to sell would be of interest to me since so many sprouted. I'd certainly give some away too in that case!

    @water2world Awesome! That's how I started, and look where it's got me! On second hand, pay no attention to that. 😆 I don't want to scare you.

    Let us know what you decide on. Have fun!

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    @LaurieLovesLearning I’d suggest to wait until the seedlings are 3-4inches tall, then transplant into individual tubes/pots in a free draining soil mix. If they come up like hairs on a dogs back, use the tip of a knife to gently separate the seedlings. Then they will be fine for a while & you could even sell them as tube stock, about 10 inches tall.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2023

    I haven't done any unusual plants this year, but in the past I have experimented with avocado, papaya, mango, and citrus in pots, started from seeds in grocery store fruit. All of these tropical plants can be interesting to grow indoors in pots in cool climates.

    If you've never seen a mango seed, it's amazing. They are much, much larger than any almost any other seed I have every seen.

    Avocado seeds are also huge, and very easy to start.

    Papaya can be tricky to start because it is prone to damping off. Use sterile potting soil, plant a large number of seeds, and be prepared to thin to one or two plants.

    Citrus can be interesting to start. The seeds have absolutely no tolerance to drying out, so don't bother planting dried seed. Harvest them from fresh citrus fruits and plant immediately, keeping them damp.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,500 admin

    @VermontCathy I had heard that about citrus, and so that's what I've done. However, I got my last 3 little lemon trees from a tiny handful of dried seeds that I threw into the bottom of my larger lemon tree's pot. 😀 I said, these will never grow, so they might as well feed something! I learned there can be exceptions sometimes.

  • omi
    omi Posts: 7 ✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy Thanks for all the useful info. I have had great luck with avocados the only thing is protecting them from the squirrels.🙃

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning You never know! But if your goal is to grow citrus, you are better off starting with seeds that never dried out.

  • Sheila
    Sheila Posts: 108 ✭✭✭

    I tend to stick seeds from fruit into random pots throughout the house lol! I have a mango, avocado, coffee, lychee, various citrus and a number I have forgotten what they are. I am currently working on getting the bay laurel slips to root and then we'll see what comes next. I am starting work on my herb garden this year and hopefully the berry bed as well.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 739 ✭✭✭✭

    I have ordered a patchouli plant- very excited about this one! I don't normally enjoy babying plants so I usually stick with natives if possible- but each year I can usually handle one or two that need a bit of TLC.😋

    Last year my exotic plant was Vetiver- but I moved in the winter and I do not think the vetiver liked that very much- it does not look like it made it.😞

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    I kind of accidentally started with exotic things when I began my plant journey lol (on of my first was a Brazilian grape tree).

    @omi Welcome to the Grow Network! Cayenne pepper powder at the base of the seedling (top layer of soil) can help repel the dreaded squirrel (my arch nemesis) from getting nut seedlings (they killed one of my first avocado tree seedlings).

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,095 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have not tried anything exotic yet. I would love to have fresh mangos growing, but don't have enough room for one indoors and pretty sure they won't survive our weather. Hopefully, once we get our permanent location I can try a few special plants to see how they do.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    I tried to sprout some avocado seeds last year, but no luck. I used to sprout them all the time, but then I would neglect them and of course they would die. But now, I would really like to grow a shrub at least, since I recently learned that the leaves can be used like bay leaf. I know that the likelihood of getting fruit is minimal. I think I would also like to try growing a coffee tree, and perhaps even a papaya. Actually getting a greenhouse done would really help with these wild dreams.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,500 admin
    edited October 2023

    Those of you who are growing exotic seeds and plants... how have they been doing? Did you add anything new?

    My moringa never did much in the end, but my coffee trees are doing great! I think this is the best I've done with them.

    My bananas are so-so (some died), but my big one is okay. There are pups starting from it and from one that died.

    My 2 hibiscus plants have tiny calyxes (that's how it is spelled, isnt it?). The lemon bottlebrush are doing just fine and have grown a lot. The gingerbush is spindly, but healthy. I have too many young lemon & avocado trees at the moment. My pineapple is larger, but hasn't given anything. The dragonfruit never seems to do much. The dwarf pomegranate is still small. The java ginseng flowered beautifully! My Solomons seal is recovering after someone knocked the aerial part off. The ginger is strugling after a good run this summer.

    My mango is looking good so far. That was my new addition.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning You are very into trying exotic tropical seeds!

    I have dabbled with growing small papaya, avocado, citrus, and mango plants. All sprouted, but none of them really amounted to much.

    The avocado was certainly the largest, but the plant wasn't terribly interesting, as it kept wanting to grow straight up with only one or two trunks, and no amount of trimming would make it spread and fill out horizontally. It is, after all, a tree. :-)

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,500 admin

    @VermontCathy I do enjoy the challenge.

    My avocados do the same as yours. My window where my largest sits is large, but not quite large enough, I guess. Maybe our house is too cool in winter too?

    But, I am positive, after seeing one flourish in a south facing window, that the secret is full sun (large south window) for the majority of the day & not overwatering.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,622 admin

    Congratulations on all your exotics @LaurieLovesLearning.

    I would love to have some as houseplants but I'm afraid my green thumb is a bit brown. I don't have much success with anything grown inside. It could be the variation in temps and/or the lack of humidity but is more likely my neglect of them that causes failures.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 739 ✭✭✭✭

    I am a very native planting type of girl, but I did get a patchouli plant this year, it just stayed in it's pot and grew a little. Since it doesn't like the cold I need to harvest it soon- I am considering making a hydrosol. I think that would be lovely.