Sometimes certain plants can be tricky to germinate from seed. The seeds may have extremely hard coats that require some external actions to penetrate the hard outer shell that will allow the embryo to get water. There are several methods for getting underneath that hard seed shell. Scarification is one method where you apply sandpaper, a sharp knife, or even acid to the outer coat just enough to let the water inside. Another way is stratification where you apply cold temperatures for a period of time to break down the seed coat.
Yesterday I planted some Baptisia australis seeds (False Indigo). It's recommended to use some sort of scarification to break into the hard surface of the baptisia seed but I just soaked them in hot water for about 36 hours. The hot water helps to break into the seed coat but would have been helped even more by a little sandpaper scarification or the nick of a knife.
Soaking the seeds does show you how many of the seed are actually viable. The seeds that are floating are most likely not viable while those that sunk are in good shape.
I planted the seeds in a small "mushroom flat" (a re-used mushroom container from the store with strategic drainage holes added) and set them on my plant propagation bench in the garage (I'm enjoying the heck out of that thing!) I'm expecting to see some germination in about two weeks. Once the seedlings have the first set of true leaves, I'll pot them up individually and watch them grow. I'm expecting about 8-10 good plants from this batch. Once I have some seedlings to show I'll give you a look!
What seeds have you started so far?
Labels: Seed Sowing 101, seeds and seed starting