How can I germinate tamarind seeds


Bangkok / Thailand 2006
Bangkok / Thailand 2006
Bangkok / Thailand 2006

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Plant description

Description:The tamarind, botanically Tamarindus indica, is a slow-growing tree from the legume family (Fabaceae), which can reach a height of up to 25 m, but is usually between 10 and 15 m high. The tamarind tree has a short, thick trunk that often divides into several sub-trunks at the base. medium to dark green, paired pinnate leaves. At night these feathers assume a sleeping position, i.e. they are folded up towards the middle. The tamarind is evergreen, but if there is insufficient water it can shed its leaves in order to minimize evaporation. The actual home of the tamarind can no longer be precisely determined and is in East Africa or West Asia. Tamarind trees can now be found almost everywhere in the tropics and subtropics.

The flower structure is a little unconventional: first a flower bud forms, which is surrounded by pink to red leaves. These fall off as soon as the actual white to yellowish flower opens. From this flower, green-brown, flat pods form at the beginning, which in the course of maturity change to a medium, grayish matt brown and can be up to 15 cm long. These edible fruits, called tamarinds, are almost round in cross-section when ripe, have a hard, woody shell with constrictions that contain the relatively large, dark brown to black kernels and the dark brown or, depending on the variety, red flesh. This pulp can be eaten raw and has a sweet and sour taste. If it tastes very sour, the tamarind is either not yet ripe or comes from wildlings, because only special cultivated forms become sweet. Tamarinds are often used in Asian cuisine and have a wide range of uses, from sauces to chutneys and sweets to coffee substitutes. For the latter, the tam bark seeds are roasted. Tamarinds are also used in Europe as an acidulant for soft drinks and meals; take a look at the list of ingredients!

When freely planted, the tamarind forms a pronounced and deep root system, which, together with the supple branches, is very beneficial in storms. It is therefore considered to be extremely wind-stable. Tamarinds are excellently adapted to relatively dry environmental conditions and tolerate both slightly salty substrate and salty air, but no longer-lasting waterlogging in the root area. While young tamarinds are very sensitive to the cold, older, planted specimens can also tolerate slight temperatures below zero. The wood of the tamarind trees is very hard and a valuable timber.
Substrate:The substrate should be permeable and humus, with larger plants also loamy. Good garden soil with added drainage material such as perlite is very suitable for larger tam bark trees.
Water requirement:The water requirement is rather low. The substrate should always be slightly damp but not too wet. Waterlogging must be avoided at all costs, i.e. too much water must be able to flow off unhindered.
Light requirement:During the growing season, tamarind trees should be as sunny as possible. If the actually evergreen trees do not shed their leaves, it is imperative to overwinter in light. To reduce the need for light, the ambient temperature should not exceed approx. 15 ° C. Deviating from this, however, with seedlings and young plants, a warm and therefore light wintering as possible is advisable, as this does not tolerate the cold well.
Temperature:In the first few years, tamarinds should be cultivated warm and light at room temperature. In summer it is advisable to place them outdoors in a warm and bright place as possible. Young plants are very sensitive to the cold, while older trees that have been planted out can withstand sub-zero temperatures without major damage. Container plants, on the other hand, do not tolerate frost. Young plants should be returned to the room as soon as night temperatures drop below 15 ° C. Older trees can stay outside as long as no frosts are expected.
Miscellaneous:Tamarinds should stand outside as long as it is warm enough. If night temperatures below 5 ° C are to be expected in the long term, one should allow. As a houseplant, tam bark is rather unsuitable because, despite its comparatively slow growth, it quickly blows up the windowsill format. In addition, there is rarely enough light in the room, even with panoramic glazing.
Related species:The closest relative is the carob tree.

Growing a tamarind tree


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Fruit:You can often buy ripe tamarinds in well-stocked Asian shops and sometimes in normal supermarkets. Alternatively, you can buy tamarinds on vacation or pick them from a tree cultivated as an ornamental plant.
Seeds:Tamarinds usually contain at least 4 seeds, which are very hard. The seeds are ripe when they take on a dark brown to black color; the seed pod, not shown in the photo, is medium brown to gray. Unfortunately, they are not easy to separate from the pulp. The easiest way to get them is to put the pulp and seeds in your mouth and suck it clean. The seeds are protected against germs so that they do not germinate at the wrong time in the wild. You can and should remove it before sowing if you soak the seeds in water for a day. Even several months old tamarind seeds germinate quite reliably.
Germination time:Approximately between 2 and 8 weeks depending on the soil temperature. But it can also take a lot longer. This time can be shortened with a suitable pre-treatment of the seeds (see above).
Substrate:Coconut substrate is best suited for germination. For further cultivation, loose, nutrient-poor (so that the roots can develop well) substrate is required. To ensure that there are no pests and fungi in the plant substrate, it can be heated in a heat-resistant container to at least 160 ° C for a quarter of an hour before use in the oven or, even better, in the microwave. The substrate must be slightly damp. The vessel must never be tightly closed, as the resulting water vapor would blow it up! However, it must have a lid so that too much water vapor does not escape. Fireproof glass bowls with a glass lid on top are well suited. Firstly, coconut substrate is also well suited as a plant substrate, which also has the advantage that it does not have to be "disinfected". From a height of approx. 20 cm, however, you should no longer use pure coconut substrate, but mix in more and more garden soil with increasing size when repotting.
Planting process:Soak the tamarind seeds in lukewarm water for a day. Fill a narrow and tall planter 3/4 full with the growing substrate, place the seed in the middle, fill in enough substrate that it just covers the seed, press everything firmly and water. Then you should put the planter in a warm place that can also be dark.
Cultivation:As soon as the seeds germinate, the seed pushes itself up with the first leaves and at the same time forms a taproot. Now the seedling needs a bright and warm place, but, as always, it should not be placed on the heater. The substrate must always be kept sufficiently moist, but not wet, as tamarinds cannot tolerate waterlogging. Full sun should be avoided in the first few weeks and the plant should only get used to it slowly later.
Watering:As is so often the case, the substrate must be moist, but not wet. It is best to use a sprayer to water seedlings and young plants.
Fertilization:Seedlings are not fertilized at all, because they take care of themselves from the core. You should start fertilizing very weakly with a liquid fertilizer after about 2 months at the earliest, i.e. a quarter of the recommended amount once a week. This also applies in winter, provided that the plant continues to grow in a warm and bright place in winter. Older plants are not fertilized at all when they are not in hibernation.
Repotting:Repotting is only necessary when the root ball is completely rooted.

Tamarind seedling
Kelkheim 2007

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