Rain Forest Plant Seeds from around the World
Most of the seeds on this page will
benefit greatly from using the CAPE Smoke Seed
that we use in our own greenhouses. We
find we receive significantly better germination results when we
use this primer on these types of seeds.
We have carefully selected the following Rain Forest specimens
for their ability to be grown indoors. These plants are unique
and hold their own special place in nature. We hope that you will
share the beauty and wonder of these plants with your friends and
1A005 Screw Pine ( Pandanus utilis )
A slow growing tree type plant with long leathery sword leaves
sharply serrated at edges and arranged in a spiral manner. The
tree will develop stilt roots. Requires warmth and bright light
as an inside plant. We recommend soaking seeds in warm
water/CAPE Seed Primer for 24 hours before sowing.
IP150 Joy Perfume Tree ( Michelia champaca )
Excellent houseplant for colder zones or garden plant for warmer zones ( 10 and above ). The fragrance of the flower is simply amazing.
Also known as Champa, Yellow Champa, Golden Campa or Fragrant Champa is highly revered by the followers of Hinduism and Buddhism. They use Michelia flowers during religious ceremonies. Tibetans believe that the Buddha of the next era will find enlightenment under the flower canopy of the champaca tree.
Michelia has several ornamental, commercial and medicinal uses too. For gardeners, it is an excellent choice as a houseplant or as companion plant in landscapes. Commercially, the timber of Michelia is used for almost anything from cabinet-making to firewood and flowers are grown to sell at cut flower shops. The extract from the flowers of Michelia Alba is used in preparation of the famous 'Joy' perfume. Medicinally, the tree has wide applications; the bark is used to prepare tonic, the oil extracted from flowers is used to cure toughs and rheumatism, and for relieving eye troubles and gout.
Michelias are easy to grow and maintain. They love a lot of light and warmth but filtered sunlight. The best location for Michelia is the place where it receives direct and ample sunlight in early morning but partial light for the rest of the day. Suitable for containers, Michelias has shallow and brittle root system. It likes moderate watering in acidic and well-drained soil. As a general rule, water lavishly when the plant is young to allow it to develop good root system. Water mature trees moderately and feed with a general purpose fertilizer during spring. Prune in winter when plant goes dormant.
Outdoors in zone 10 or higher, Michelia can gain a height of 75 feet or more in suitable conditions. The tree bears large leaves that resemble the leaves of Mango tree. The tree booms from May to October and produces abundance of star-shaped flowers that fill the entire surrounding with mesmerizing scent. Flowers are usually golden-yellow, golden-orange and creamy-white.
1A010 Wild Almond ( Terminalia )
A tropical shrub to small tree that should be raised in the
greenhouse for its unique ornamental appearance. Its bright
green leaves turn red to pink at different times of the year.
It has a profusion of flowers which are followed by edible
D2902 St. John's Tree ( Ceratonia )
An evergreen tree that grows to 50 ft. Has stout, leathery
foliage and can be grown in containers. Grows well in dry
soils. The edible pods can be made into flour, which makes
delicious candies, cakes, pastries and drinks.
D2904 Tropical Dwarf Papaya ( Carcia )
A fast growing papaya only reaching 3- 4 ft. but bearing fruits
as large as 2 lbs in 2 year from seed. A great container
D2905 Jacaranda Tree ( Jacaranda mimosifolia )
An easily grown tropical tree that can be grown in containers.
Has mimosa type leaves and lavender blue flowers in
D2911 Golden Rain Tree ( Koelreuteria )
Golden raintree is a small, open-branching, irregularly-shaped, deciduous tree with a rounded crown which typically grows 30-40' tall and as wide. Features pinnate or bipinnate, feathery, compound leaves (to 18" long), each leaf having 7-17 irregularly lobed leaflets. Leaves emerge pinkish bronze to purplish in spring, mature to a bright green in summer and turn yellow (quality variable) in fall. Bright yellow flowers (1/2" wide) appear in early summer in long, terminal, panicles (12-15"). Falling blossoms may or may not resemble "golden rain", but the fallen blossoms often form an attractive golden carpet under the tree. Flowers give way to interesting, brown, papery seed capsules which somewhat resemble Chinese lanterns. For zones 5-9.
1A006 Teakwood Tree ( Tectona )
The Teak Tree, or Tectona, is one of the tropical hardwood birches, included in the family Verbenaceae. This tree is originally from the plantations of South East Asia, and can grow to a height of 30 - 40 m.
As part of its life cycle, this tree sheds its leaves every year at dry season. Its longevity is very great, the Teak tree often living to an age of 100 years. Teak is especially noted for its capacity to withstand changes in the weather and season. One of the reasons for this is the ability of the Teak to bend, but not break, in the face of high winds.
Also, the Teak tree resin typically has an oil in its Galih (Cambium/heartwood) that is highly water resistant. This content alone can protect the Teak from decay, insects, and bacteria. At the same time, the combination of unique Teak tree content and thick fibers make it easier to cut and then later sculpt into pleasing forms. Because of this special characteristic, not found in other trees, there has always been interest in using Teak wood for various types of furniture.
Teak trees found in South-East Asia forests reach a height of up to 150 feet, have reddish-green leaves with rough skin, and heartwood that is brown to dark gold in color. Of the main teak producers in the area, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Philippine, and Malaysia, Indonesia's teak is considered of the highest quality in the world.
SO350 Indian Banyan Tree ( Ficus benghalensis )
Banyan is a common home and office houseplant, but in the wild it's a giant tree of Indian jungles. Banyan starts out life as an epiphyte growing on another tree where some fig-eating bird deposited a seed. As it grows, banyan produces aerial roots that hang down from horizontal branches and take root where they touch the ground. These vertical "prop roots" can create a forest on their own.
Banyan can get 100' tall and, with its massive limbs supported by prop roots, spread over an area of several acres. A famous banyan tree near Poona, India, is said to measure a half mile around its perimeter and be capable of sheltering 2000 people. The large (5-10"), leathery leaves are like those of another home grown fig, the rubber plant (Ficus elastica), except that banyan's start out bronzy brown and hairy before maturing to glossy green and retaining just a scattering of hairs.
They often have prominently marked veins. The figs are scarlet red, about a half-inch in diameter, and reportedly not particularly tasty.
Thin roots emerge from the banyan tree branches and hang like strings as they grow toward the ground. Once they're rooted in the earth these aerial roots thicken into trunklike structures able to support the weight of the wide-ranging branches.
The banyan tree, Ficus benghalensis, is native to India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. It is often planted around temples and is considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. Banyan tree is widely cultivated in city parks and botanical gardens throughout the New World and Old World tropics.
Of course there is no such thing as a "houseplant." All plants grow outdoors, but some can be made to survive, even thrive, indoors. The banyan tree is one plant that can remain indoors all year long. Repot every 2-3 years, but like the rubber plant, banyan is best kept a little on the pot-bound side. The shoot tips can be pinched back to promote branching.
Light: As a houseplant, banyan should be positioned in an area where it gets half shade or moderately bright light. It does not need the bright light so often demanded of plants grown indoors. Outdoors, grow in half sun to partial shade.
A banyan tree makes a fine specimen and shade tree if you have your own tropical botanical garden and a few acres to spare. Otherwise, grow this evergreen rubber plant look-alike in a container in the house. In India, the edible leaves are used as plates.
Moisture: Outside established banyan trees are drought tolerant. As a houseplant, banyan likes a soil that is well drained but kept moderately moist. Allow soil to dry almost completely, then saturate. Underwatering and overwatering can cause leaves to yellow and drop.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 12. Banyan is damaged by frost but will recover from brief periods of freezing weather. Houseplants should be kept at 70-80 F in the summer and above 55 F in winter.
NW44 Jojoba Tree ( Simmondsia chinensis )
A unique sub-tropical shrub growing to 12 ft. with light
green-gray oval foliage. Bears the seeds that produce the
Jojoba oil that is much in demand. Good container plant.
NW26 Heavenly Bamboo ( Nandina Domestica )
A member of the barberry family that has a
striking resemblance to bamboo. Has leathery, bluish green
leaves that are blushed with purple, bronze and red when new.
Has attractive long clusters of white flowers in spring and
very ornamental red berries in winter. Likes full sun to
partial shade. Cold hardy to 5 degrees outside. Makes a good
container plant inside. Start some now for a jump on next
D1109 Bird of Paradise ( Strelitzia reginae )
One of the most attractive of all tropical plants. It comes
from S Africa. The flowers take shape of a most peculiar form,
resembling birds in flight. Grows to a height of about 3
NW10 Giant White Bird of Paradise ( Strelitzia nicolai )
This is the famous giant plant reaching 12 ft.
or more in height and bearing loads of brilliant white flowers.
Can be container grown if desired.