Mountain Laurel Seeds, Germinating

carletta_gardenerMarch 11, 2006

If you have ever tried to get these seed started, you know that it is about like trying to get a rock to germinate and attempting to crack the seed with a hammer is no good. I have a trick that works really well. Hold the seed at one end with some pliars. I have a very small saw blade which you can use to saw a slit in the seed without breaking the seed. Soak the seed in water until it swells and then plant. I have one coming up and I believe it has been no more than 5 or 6 weeks since I planted it.

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Yes, and a file works well also. Anything to break the hard seed coat so that water can get in. I've seen them come up in less than a week.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2006 at 2:07AM
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jendudley(9 Rio Grande TX)


My brother has an island of Mountain Laurels and his kids collect seed for me all the time. I have a bluemillion of them. I had never had any luck with getting them started. Nicking, soaking, NOTHING!!! This is a great idea. THANKS!!!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 11:00AM
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I have a bunch of the seeds, and I'm about to attempt to start them. Never have grown Mtn Laurels before. If I understand correctly, I should saw into the red seed itself, and not just the brown hull housing the seed. Is this correct? How deeply should I cut, and for about how long should the seeds be soaked in water?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 10:10PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Detailed illustrated information in attached link -

"Eventually the seed shell will become so hard, especially with seeds from an earlier year, that more effort and skill will be required for adequate scarification without damaging the embryo. Perhaps the simplest process is to hold the seed with a pliers and with a file rub one spot on the outer coat (at the larger cotyledon end) until the thin light-colored (tan) inner coat is visible - being careful not to scratch into the inner coat itself nor into the cotyledons of the embryo. "

Here is a link that might be useful: Mt Laurel propagation

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 10:39AM
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I can't even imagine being able to do that. I would cut my hand people are amazing.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 7:02PM
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I am so excited and happy. I think I have germinated what I believe to be a Tx. Mt. Laurel . Although I am not sure which variety it would be I am leaning toward the Hill Country variety based on the local that it came from.. The mature tree was about 8-10 ft. tall. Extremely dark blue clusters of flowers with an overwhelmingly heavy sweet smell. Red berry like seeds a little darker and harder than dogwood berries, which I have read are toxic.
So does this sound like Tx. Mt. Laurel? Is the plant that I have??
Read these posts about three months ago followed the directions you all gave for lightly sanding the edge of my seed. Put it in lightly moist soil with with a good mix of Black Kow compost.Placed it in semi-shade until it started to harden off. Now I have a healthy new plant about 4 inches tall. Tghe new leaves look almost like young mistletoe leaves.
Amazingly enough my seeds were gathered between 2005-2006 when I was visiting my son in Belton,Tx. near Salado. I have had them in a dish inside the China Cabinet as souviners since them, but decided to give them a try after reading the experiences here on the Gardenweb.
I am now deciding where to put it before winter comes. After reading all the postings on temperature tolerances, I am thinking I need a pot that can be rolled in and outseasonally perhaps. I am in the Carolina Coastal Plain in Zone 8, but not too far from Zone 7. We routinely get temps in the thirties through the winter with it dipping on occassion into the twenties and teens for brief periods.Has anyone else had success wintering them over outside here?
I haven't noticed anyone specifically mentioning the strong sweet smell of the blossoms.. We found them way too sweet for indoor cut flowers. I was worried about that as a house plant, but it appears as slow as it grows and matures, will be a while before I have to consider that problem.
Any other pointers and tips before deciding to commit myself to outside or inside in this Zone???

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 12:14AM
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Texas Mountain Laurel has very hard red seeds they fall down over rocks which mother-nature helps with the growing process. I can't tell for sure but they can take a temps below freezing. Worked a hunting lease in west Texas no one took them indoors as first they are out in the wild and second they get too large to take indoors. The Indians use to drill and string them for necklaces. They are a pretty tree and the seeds are toxic but then just try eating one, they are very hard. I have never seen them in bloom so can't tell what type of bloom. The hunting season was always too early or too late. Turkey in the spring and dove in the fall, deer, pig and wild goats in the winter. If it was me I would just put it into the ground. Make sure it has good drainage them don't like wet feet.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 10:54PM
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Imagine if wisteria blooms were upright instead of hanging, and the beautiful lilac purple color is only overshawdowed by the intense smell of grape bubble At least that is what they smelled like to me. I used to drive test cars down south of Sonora Tx and the mountains came alive in the spring with tx mountain laurel in bloom and followed by the tx purple sage show. We picked some of the mountain laurel to bring the pretty blooms home to enjoy...30 mins down the road the perfume was so intense...we bagged em! lol

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 3:11PM
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taxonomist(7b VA)

To most of the world, Mountain Laurel refers to Kalmia latifolia Linne. The plant is assigned to the Heath family or Ericaceae. The use of a common or local name as You have done exhibits the complete futility of such a name. When Kalmia is used, anyone, anywhere in the world will completely understand what You are trying to convey.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 7:38PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

This is out of"How to grow Native Plants" by Jill Nokes. GREAT BOOK!!! for those who like texas natives. Seeds may be scarified with a knife or file. Or soak them in concentrated sulfuric acid for 30-90 minutes Pre treated seeds will germinate in 2-3 weeks once the soil has warmed The medium should be extremely well draining and drenched with fungicide. Use a deep pot to germinate in , not a flat. Grow in shade for the first year before you put it out in the blazing sun. They will grow in the shade and partial shade but they bloom better the more sun they get. There is a silver leafed variety

To the out of state person who was worried about cold hardiness. They do Zone 8. Central Tx gets into the teens pretty much every winter for a brief period. Normally one or two nights and then it warms up in the day. We do not stay below freezing but rarely during the winter. Last year we had a 3 days of continuous below freezing wet weather. YUCK. We have trees all over town and we have trees indigenous to our hills. On the map , I think thast we are the furthest north that the natural habitat goes. You see them growing in the wild on limestone hills with perfect drainage. It might be a thing of moisture and cold combined that does them in. Cold and wet might be the bugger and that is why they grow in west Texas but not in Texarcana.

I have used a stationary belt sander to nick my seeds and I have put them out a bit before the soil warms totally. I find the rot problems increases as the weather warms. Rot is the problem. I have many seeds that have rot in the pot before germinating.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 4:16PM
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