The Process of Propagating Canna Seeds

I have wanted to try this for a while and decided, “today is the day!!” This process takes some time, so I am going to add to my journal often.  This will make a great science project for those who  home school.  If you are a gardener and like me, have not tried this yet, follow along on the journey and see how it goes!!  This will be a “good, bad, and ugly” blog.  You will see it all. If it doesn’t work, you will know.  If it does work, you will know!!

I was sent some canna seeds in a seed swap in which I participate.  I researched several sites about how to do this and I tried several different ways, so we will see how it goes.

Canna seeds have a very hard coating that is impermeable.   They will eventually sprout in the garden, but they can take up to 5 years or more.  We have to break through this coat in order to sprout these seeds.  There are a few ways to do this.  I used a combination of two and then tried something of my own with what I had.

I couldn’t find my needle nose pliers, but I did have a nice pair of wire cutters that had a hole that was perfect to hold the seeds.  Caution: If the seeds are smaller seeds, they will fly out of the little hole, and I do mean FLY!!  They also land hard… I might suggest having protective eye gear!


In case you can’t envision, this is the seed in the wire cutters.  Next, I had to get through that seed coat.  The suggestions I found were sand paper, toe nail clippers, and a drimmel tool.  I didn’t want to hunt down the drimmel, because I wanted to start this project today, so I chose to try the clippers and the sand paper.


Holding the seed secure in the pliers or wire cutters, begin sanding the seed until you see the white of the seed. I kept sanding until I got it off the side and made a circle. (Just a note, these wire cutters were all pretty and black when I started, so be prepared for the sand paper to take off any paint on your tool!)


The next idea I used was the toe nail clippers.  My clippers wouldn’t fit over the seed so I sanded a small spot and then, using the corner of the clippers cut away a part of the seed coat.  There was a neat little pointy cutter at the bottom of my wire cutters, so I started putting the top of the seed in that to score the coat and that worked much quicker, but I don’t have a picture of that.  Next, the seed have to be placed in water.  It could take up to a week to begin to see small sprouts poke through the holes.


I will take pictures every day or every other day to do an update on the status of the seeds. I have them in a sunny window!!

For Homeschool activities:

Research plant seeds and the parts of a seed.

Impermeable is a great vocabulary word!

Why would God create impermeable seed coats? (After sharing this question with your children and family, please share comments.) My husband’s comment, “I bet God created them because there would be animals to eat them or crack the coat.”

For early childhood, get a bag of mixed beans (for bean soup) and sort the beans.

Start a bean plant in a ziplock. (I will be posting this activity in a few days)

What are some seeds we eat?

Have your children keep a hand drawn journal of the process.  Have them draw and describe what they see, daily.

If you have other ideas for lessons to go along with this, please feel free to share.  I will share other ideas as the process develops.

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