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General Germination Procedures

- Be sure to follow any specific directions given on the seed envelope for each species.
  • Cold stratification means to place the seeds in contact with moist cool soil (simulating winter, refrigeration usually works well).
  • Warm stratification means to place seeds in contact with warm moist soil (usually to simulate the end of summer and usually followed by cold stratification).
  • Physical scarification – seed that have particularly hard seed coats benefit from this. The easiest method is gently rubbing the seeds between two pieces of sand paper. The goal here is to just scratch the seed coat and thereby make it easier for the seed to absorb water.
  • Sphagnum - some seeds are prone to developing mold during germination (particularly seeds with large ‘wings’). Sphagnum moss is naturally anti-fungal, so mixing your seed with a little fine-milled or long fiber Sphagnum moss can help prevent mold.
  • Hot Soak – you can break seed dormancy much quicker with some species if the seeds are exposed to hot water. We usually place these seeds in about a cup of 180o F water (80o C) and let them soak (and cool) overnight before planting.
  • In general, seeds should be planted no deeper than the thickness of the seed itself in clean, fine potting soil. When any stratification periods are complete, place seed pots in a bright, warm location.

    If planting directly outdoors between fall and early spring, cold stratification requirements will be taken care of naturally.

    If not planting your seeds right away, we recommend you store your seed packets under cool conditions by placing them in a refrigerated plastic container.

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