Kentucky Coffee Tree seeds

marricgardensOctober 28, 2013

I picked a seed pod today but the seeds inside it were still green. Do the seeds actually have to turn brown/black before they can be planted? Can they be planted now? Marg

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Most coffee tree/bush seeds are green or greenish-brown when picked but the pod itself needs to have dried and turned brown.


This post was edited by digdirt on Mon, Oct 28, 13 at 20:25

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 8:24PM
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These seeds were green and the pod was starting to turn brown. Guess it won't hurt to plant them and see what happens anyway. Thanks. Marg

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 8:21AM
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These seeds were green and the pod was starting to turn brown. I have the seeds sitting on a tray in the sunroom, checked this morning and they seem to still be turning brown. I was planning on planting them in the cold frame. Maybe I'll go ahead and plant them and see what happens. Thanks. Marg

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 8:25AM
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nick_b79(4/5 Southeast MN)

Virtually all the coffee tree seeds I've collected up here in zone 4, I collected in late Sept-October, and the inside of the pods was still green and a bit moist. I'd imagine they'd be fully ripe in zone 5 by now.

Also, you're aware of the scarification needs of coffee tree seeds, right? They have a very hard seed coat, and most will take YEARS to sprout if simply direct-planted into the soil. It's hypothesized that mastodons and ground sloths used to feed on the pods, and the thick coating stopped stomach acids from destroying them until they were "deposited" somewhere else.

I've started quite a few from seed by either filing an edge off with a nail file and soaking them in water overnight, or dropping them into a cup of near-boiling water and letting them soak overnight. Ones that swell up are good to go, either into a pot, a planting bed, or directly where you want a tree. No need for cold stratification either, just store dry in a jar over the winter.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 1:09AM
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I did start a few trees 2 years ago and was planning on starting a few more this year. I asked on this forum and was told about the boiling water treatment. It worked just fine and now I have 4 2' trees. The seed pod I could reach was just starting to turn brown and the seeds were green but once inside they turned brown. I planted them anyway. Later I'll go out and pick the rest and start them. The first time I picked the pod was the middle of winter, I didn't even notice it before. Do KCT set pods each year? Mine don't. We've had these trees 5 years and this is only the second set of pods on it. Marg

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 8:14AM
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davidlmo(5 B)

Shell should be dried, brittle and brown. Easily opened. Seeds should be dried and hard and brown.

If they are not too green, you can dry them in a window sill. Use an anti-desicant pack if you have one. Drying greener seeds with a hair dryer facilitates drying.

Sand paper them and boil for a few minutes and soak overnight. They have one of the thickest seed shells I have ever seen. :-) I did a test with 4 scraifying techniques and the combination works best for KY Coffee bean seeds.

No need for cold treatment.

Plant and they should be up in ~ 1 week @ 75 degrees F.

Will then grow easily a foot in a month or so. Zone 5 b.

Very mature trees should bloom and set seeds every year, assuming you have more than one plant. They seem to pollinate better that way. My brother has several hundred some > 60 '. They all set seeds most years.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 12:23AM
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It is a lot easier is you wait until spring to collect them.
Before planting all you have to do is clamp them in a vise and cut a small notch in the side with a hack saw,just deep enough to penetrate the shell. I get close to 100% germination.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 9:25PM
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