The Xhosa use the roots as an oneirogenic (dream-inducing) plant and during the initiation period to become a traditional diviner/healer.
Success stories :
`I did buy some Silene Capensis seeds, and I planted 6 seeds in a nursery and all 6 of them germinated! 100% success rate!
I was very pleased and they look lovely in the backyard.'
`Planted some seeds and am having a good run with them got 7 to germinate out of 10 with the Sceletium tortuosum : `Kanna' Seed-pack, and 8 germinated out of 10 with the Silene capensis : `Undlela zimhlope' Seed-pack, and I got 6 out of 10 to germinate on the Pleiospilos bolusii - Duimpiesnuif.
These numbers are very good on any cactus/succulent as I can get chestnut oil and have to use another anti-fungus spray that isn't as gentle on the seeds and seedlings. The key here is the planting soil and temperature. The soil I use is 1 cup potting soil, 1 cup seedling mix, 1 cup coarse sand, 1 cup perilite and 1 cup small gravel well mixed. I put the seed on top and spray with fungicide cover with a VERY thin lair of sand, gut them in a heated germinator and keep the temp around 80f and the humidity around 90%. After they germinate and have grown for about a month I move them into another germinator where very slowly I lower the humidity down to what is normal where I live (which is low about 40%) over 6 months time or longer if the plant
is having problems with the lower humidity.'
Growing information for Silene capensis :
S. capensis seeds germinate easily without any sort of pretreatment.
Seed should be sown in a light airy mix in part shade. (I use fertile, well-draining potting soil.) Sow just below the surface and keep moist until germination.
Once the plants are a few months old I transfer them to their own pots.
Good soil-drainage is essential for avoiding root rot.
In South Africa during the summer months I try not to keep the plants in full sun as I find this burns the leaves, (this may vary depending on your location), so I keep the plants in semi-shade making sure to at least get the morning or late-afternoon sun.
Be careful of over-watering as this will cause the roots to rot.
Silene tolerates moist and shady conditions but needs a soft soil to form strong healthy roots for medicinal/ritual use.
In ideal conditions it forms a solid taproot after 2 years, similar to a carrot but not as thick.