Cercis occidentalis (western redbud) from seed

Discussion in 'Plant Propagation' started by rockminer, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. rockminer

    rockminer Active Member

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    I am impressed with the wonderful patience and amount of people posting to this forum--Thanks!!! I have been trying to grow redbud from local (Northern California) seed for three years. The internet has provided a lot of comment, ie. 30 minute soak in undiluted sulfuric acid or pouring boiling water over the seed. I have tried treatment in the refrig and in the freezer I have not gotten a single sprout. I have taken mature seed from several trees in each of the 3 years so assume (erroneously?) that some should have been viable. Any suggestions? Thanks for looking!
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Maybe try planting in pots or flats left outdoors, kept weeded and looked after until some come up.
     
  3. rockminer

    rockminer Active Member

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    Ron, Thanks for your comment. In addition to the treatments I mentioned, I have planted controls each of the 3 years--and have all of these pots still in existance--no sprouts!
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Another suggestion - rub the seeds between two sheets of coarse sandpaper before planting. The sandpaper scratches the waterproof outer coating and allows water access to the seed inside.
     
  5. rockminer

    rockminer Active Member

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    Aha! There is an idea I haven't tried. Thanks Michael.
     
  6. hortfreak

    hortfreak Active Member Maple Society

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    I have extremely good success with eastern redbud seeds by pouring boiling water over the seeds and then leaving them for several days (usually about 7) until they are really plump. Sow them, give them the cold treatment for 2-3 months, gradually let them warm up, and you should start getting germination fairly quickly. Some might start while still quite cold. I have tried using the sandpaper treatment but not with the same degree of success. I have frequently had 100% germination with the boiling water method. I also found that leaving the seeds in the water longer than I would normally seems to be beneficial. The seeds at this point are almost double in size. Good luck.
     
  7. rockminer

    rockminer Active Member

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    Thanks hortfreak. I did the boiling water thing but only soaked 24 hours. Will start a new batch today while winter's grip is still with us.
     
  8. rockminer

    rockminer Active Member

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    I am bumping this thread back up to share the results of following hortfreaks advice. After the boiling water and 7 day soak I have nearly 50% germination in the treated seed. They were planted outside in 4" pots and went through a severe freeze in the pots. More are showing so I expect a higher percentage before I'm done. Thanks again for the help--I love a success!

    Bill
     
  9. phytophille75

    phytophille75 Member

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    simple scarification works well too. sown into well draining medium, with lots of winter chill, or a few months in a fridge. the microbiological agents in the soil should break down the seed coat and allow for water to penetrate to the embryo. also slightly immature plump seeds, stratified and sown work well.
     
  10. lookingup

    lookingup Member

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    once u soak the seed......and plant seed in pot.....how much do you water them?
     
  11. phytophille75

    phytophille75 Member

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    you could leave them out to the weather, or keep stratified seeds sown in pots with moist soil in your fridge for 3 or 4 months. the chill of winter is usually needed to unlock a ripe seeds potential. not in sopping wet soil. just moist. fungal activity is actually benifical to a degree in breaking down the tough seed coat, but too much will kill a seed. so when scarifying dont nick a seed to deeply. i lightly scrape the seed coat with a sharpknife to create a little fine powder. this gives the microbes a foothold to work thier natural magic. good drainage is best so i work in coarse sand into a seed starting mixture. for tropical plants you can shortcut the strat and scarify hard seeds then place them into a glass filled with a small amount fungicide (halt rose systemic is my fav) mixed with a modest amount of water, to just cover them. the seeds are left alone for 6 hour or just long enough to swell. then these are planted into sterile medium. these methods have served me well for caesalpinia, cercis, lupine, calliandra and other bean family plants. good luck.
     
  12. Dave Finch

    Dave Finch Member

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    Do I understand you correctly to say that 3 or 4 month stratification works as well as the boiling water treatment? My Cercis seeds have been in the fridge since 9/1 so I plan to leave them there until January 1. Can I then transfer to pots and keep outdoors? Since they will probably germinate well before spring, will the freezing temps outdoors harm them? Thanks to you, Rockminer and Hortfreak for all the help!
     
  13. rockminer

    rockminer Active Member

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    After trying scarification, stratification and a combination of both I'll stick with Hortfreak's boiling water plan. It doubled the germination rate over anything else. I think I lost out to fungal problems during stratification so maybe the use of a fungicide as phytophille suggests would be helpful. Since I got about 98% germination with the boiling water and 7 day soak I'll stick with that! My seeds were potted in 4" plastic pots after the 7 day soak and then left on a bench fully exposed to the weather for the winter--18 degrees was the lowest temp we got. Had a week of 20-25 degrees (F) so know that the pots froze solid. We get considerable rain during the winters here that did not seem to bother the process at all. BTW they were potted in 1/2 potting soil, 1/4 pearlite and 1/4 coarse builders sand so drainage was excellent. I potted up after the second leaf and lost about 20% of the plants over the summer--Probably because they were too exposed to the full sun. After moving them to only morning sun and afternoon full shade I did not lose any more plants. Average growth for the summer was about 12 inches.

    HTH--Bill
     
  14. Dave Finch

    Dave Finch Member

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    Thanks for all the good info. I am going to try the boiling water. My only concern now is whether, if the seeds germinate in mid-winter, will I need to protect the new sprouts against the cold temperatures, by doing more than just keeping them under shelter.
     
  15. rockminer

    rockminer Active Member

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    Mine did not sprout until spring. I don't know what would happen if you went ahead and germinated them inside first. Probably one element of my success was that they went through the cold months outside in the pots--Natural stratification--after the boiling water treatment.

    Bill
     
  16. Dave Finch

    Dave Finch Member

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    Makes sense. I'll hold off awhile before putting the seed in pots and aim for germination in the spring.
     
  17. lookingup

    lookingup Member

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    any luck with this stratification method in Southern California?

    it doesn't normally freeze down here/by the coast over winter

    if it doesn't freeze will it not grow?
     
  18. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Redbud seed can normally be planted in the fall, soon after ripening, however that will not work in Southern California, as it is to warm for stratification to take place. Another method that works well is to soak the seed for an hour in sulfuric acid, rinse well, and then the seed is stratified for ninety days at 40 degrees F in the refrigerator. A better method is to take cuttings of new growth in early summer. They root well when treated with rooting chemicals and placed under mist. - Millet
     
  19. lookingup

    lookingup Member

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    constant mist? or hows that work?
     
  20. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If you root Redbud cuttings using an automated intermittent misting system, your rooting success rate will be near 100 percent. If you do not have an automatic misting system you can use the plastic bag method. Place a Redbud butting in a container filled with 50 percent peat moss and 50 percent perlite, or 50 percent peat moss and 50 percent coarse sand. Cover the container with a plastic bag to keep the humidity high. Using the bag method your rooting success rate will be approximately 50 percent. You can see a typical misting systems for rooting cuttings using the search function on your computer. Here is a good link explaining the rooting of cuttings. - Millet

    http://www.crfg.org/tidbits/MistPropHome.html
     
  21. mrplant

    mrplant Member

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    Do the seeds have to be "CHILLED" for that length of time or can they be put in pots and grown indoors over the winter in a greenhouse?
     

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