Arbutus: germinating arbutus seeds

Discussion in 'Ericaceae (rhododendrons, arbutus, etc.)' started by calicojack, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. calicojack

    calicojack Member

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    Location:
    Coquitlam B.C.
    I Acquired some Arbutus seeds from Maple Bay in the summer and was hoping to germinate them by spring. I've dried them at room temperature and am presently rehydrating them. does anybody have any tips? thanks.
     
  2. lslou

    lslou Member

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    I believe they need a period of cold to break the inhibitors trying putting in the fridge for 6 weeks or so

    Lou
     
  3. Ward

    Ward Member

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    Location:
    Belgium
    Arbutus seedlings

    Last September I bought seeds in the Garden's shop while visiting Vancouver. I planted the seeds in November in small containers outside and now they start to germinate. Anyone knows if I should keep those new seedlings out of the frost?
     
  4. HortLine

    HortLine Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Probably best to keep them frost free this winter if they have not been exposed to frost yet. Arbutus grow in the more temporate coastal zone of the province. Driving up Howe Sound towards Squamish, you will notice that Arbutus occur only in warmer areas.
     
  5. Robert B. Hale

    Robert B. Hale Member

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    Location:
    Cumberland, B. C.
    I have just harvested a bag of arbutus seeds in Victoria and have brought them to Courtenay. Can someone advise me of how to propogate them. Arbutus are rare here but they are prevalent along the rocky cliffs on Comox Lk. I did buy 3 small potted trees about 2-3 years ago and one is doing well, 2 died. Sigh. A beautiful tree but so difficult.
    Thanx, Robert
     
  6. growest

    growest Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Surrey,BC,Canada
    Put the berries in a ziploc and mash them well. Leave them, with the zip open a bit to allow some air, outside to ferment the pulp.

    You can then rinse the fermented mash in a strainer to leave mostly seeds.

    I just "sow" these somewhat mixed seeds and residue on top of plug trays, then leave these in a protected spot for the winter, outside. Nature prepares the seeds with some cold, and they sprout when they are ready in spring.

    The plug tray is quite important, you could fill a tray with small individual pots instead. The main thing is you don't want to have to rip the seedlings out of a large container to plant them, they hate disturbance to their roots at any stage. When they have filled the small plug or pot with roots, they transplant quite effortlessly into a larger container to grow on.

    I wouldn't keep them longer than a 1 gal. size, but this seems to take several years unless you have a real green thumb with these things. I keep them in a mix with lots of perlite to avoid soggy roots at any stage, so far so good.

    One other quite important thing (I believe) is to get the natural mycorrhizae (friendly root fungus) established on the seedlings. I mix some of the forest soil from under a healthy arbutus with perlite to create the medium in my plug trays...hoping to get the right little microbes going right from the start. Try to avoid any area where the arbutus are struggling with lots of leaf disease...I think I've seen lots of super healthy ones on the island so hopefully this would be possible where you are. Just my take on it, good luck!

    Glen
     
  7. hillbilliesue

    hillbilliesue Member

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    Location:
    duncan
    I bought some arbutus seeds last spring fr. Bush. Gard.-planted them in various "rocky-which they apparently like-locations". I planted 2 seeds in a 1gal. pot of mostly peat w/rocks at the bottom. This was my only success! I now have a 1" arbutus growing in a 1 gal pot on my deck. I'm planning on keeping it protect, fr. the elements over winter, just under my eaves. I'll let you know if it survives the winter and how much it grows.
    I also collected some seeds in fall(which are in my fridge in peat now) and will let you know if I can get these guys germ. in spring! I love Arbutus! Sue:)
     
  8. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Courtenay, Vancouver Island
    First off, from the original post ... " Arbutus seeds from Maple Bay in the summer". The seeds inside the berries aren't ripe until they've turned red or orange/red, usually early Autumn. I wonder if these are viable?

    They are very abundant and quite prolific where I live. To start the seeds, remove the small black seeds from the flesh of the berries. Put them into a zip-lock bag with some damp perlite. Allow the seed to stratify in your fridge for 2 months. Pot the seed into peat pots in mid to late February. Once they have germinated, they can be placed directly into the ground (coarse gravelly, rocky soil is best) and kept reasonably watered if there is an unusual dry spell in Spring. Otherwise, normal rainfall through this period should be sufficent.
     

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