Propagation by Seeds
The seeds of Abutilon eremitopetalum are contained in a cylindrical fruit about 1/2 inch in diameter. The fruit is dry when mature and splits into 8 or 9 segments. The 1/16 inch seeds are somewhat kidney-shaped and covered with white or brown fuzz.
Abutilon sp. have a high germination rate (95%). Soaking shortens the germination time from 3 to 6 months for untreated seed to 2 to 4 weeks for soaked seeds. Soaking recommendations vary from 1 to 24 hours using either room temperature or hot water. Soak the seeds until they sink and discard any that float. Seeds should be sown 1/8 inch deep in a well-draining medium such as 3 parts #2 perlite to 1 part #4 Sunshine Mix or 1 part peat to 1 part perlite to 1 part soil. Keep containers in part shade until seeds germinate.
Seed should be dried before being stored. Storage recommendations vary; silica gel and refrigeration may improve the length of time seeds remain viable. Ragone reports 65% germination rate for seeds which had been stored with desiccant at ambient temperature (80 degrees F) and humidity (25%) for 3 months. These seeds were soaked in cold water for 1/2 hour before sowing and took 4 months to germinate. In this report, germination percentages for all seeds stored longer than 3 months dropped to almost zero regardless of treatment before sowing. (Bornhorst 1996; Ragone 1993; Stratton 1998; Wagner 1990)
Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1996. Growing native Hawaiian plants: a how-to guide for the gardener. Honolulu: The Bess Press. p. 47.
Ragone, Diane, (Program Coordinator). 1993. Hawaii Plant Conservation Center - Collection & Propagation Project: Final Report (USFWS Grant 14-48-0001-92581). Lawai, Hawaii: National Tropical Botanical Garden. p. 8.
Stratton, Lisa, Leslie Hudson, Nova Suenaga, and Barrie Morgan. 1998. Overview of Hawaiian dry forest propagation techniques. Newsletter of the Hawaiian Botanical Society 37 (2):13, 15-27.
Wagner, Warren L., Darrel R. Herbst, and S. H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai'i. 2 vols., Bishop Museum Special Publication 83. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press. p. 871-872.