Growing Syneilesis from seeds is a straightforward process if the fruits are OK.
The problem of empty fruits it is most likely due to repeated clonal propagation. Syneilesis it is mostly propagated by division which is a much faster method of propagation; however, we end up with large populations having the same genotype.
Syneilesis has bisexual tubular florets (featured image), fertile (according with Flora of China) but like most Compositae it needs cross pollination in order to set seeds. So, in order to obtain a good seed set it is necessary to have in the garden a few plants that were grown from seeds.
For now we will have to contend with the few seeds packets I manage to select from the fruits kindly provided by my friends.
It is really not worth the time selecting those few packets, but I like to do it when I can because not all people have access to buy plants. Their only chance of having this species (and others) in their garden is to grow it from seeds.
Syneilesis is a warm germinator (room temperature) and it can be started indoors under lights or outdoors as soon as the frost danger is gone; the ‘seeds’ germinate in about 10-15 days.
They seem like not growing much in this phase but in fact they grow up good size roots – for this reason it is best not to use very small/short pots for sowing.
After transplanting the seedlings usually go dormant for a while and sometimes put up a true leaf in late summer/fall. Some remain dormant and will grow the true leaves only in the next season.
It is possible that some seedlings will form true leaves right away just like Podophyllums do. This behaviour can be seen in other rhizome forming species as well.
The temperatures and water regime may also have a role in the growth pattern.
I will end with a few pictures from one of the donors’ wonderful garden. The pictures were also kindly donated, so please respect the copyright.
Syneilesis is by definition a foliage plant and you can observe how well it looks in this rich, textural composition with other shade/part shade species.