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starting juniper seeds

Posted by pardak (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 28, 09 at 21:10

Hi all. I have seeds for the following trees:

- Chinese Juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Hetzii Columnaris')

- Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana)

I've read many websites regarding growing junipers from seed. Most sites say that the germination rate for any juniper species is very low (often less than 10%). Also, the stratification methods for juniper seeds vary widely, depending on which site you read. Many sites indicate a warm and cold stratification period, while others only call for cold stratification. Also the stratification times vary widely, from 30 days to 90+ days.

Has anyone had success growing junipers from seed? if so, can you offer any tips or suggestions on how to stratify junipers from seed?



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: starting juniper seeds

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 28, 09 at 23:20

Germination rates for juniperus are low and slow, enough so that cuttings may make a better way to propagate them. The suggestions on the Clothiers database are accurate when you are comparing sites - keeping in mind that his recommendations are often for dried seed as opposed to fresh. Juniperus chinensis, virginiana the same: gather ripe berries, wash seed 3x daily 7 days, scarify (chip or nick), then sow 4 months @ 39F, move to 70F for germ.

Druse, Making More Plants - (fresh seed) Sow outdoors barely covered for germination in 1 - 3 years.

In either case, I'd top the pots with some grit to discourage moss and algae as chances are they will be with you for a while.

Whenever sowing juniper seed comes up on the conifer forum, another recommendation you will see is to put them through the digestive system of a bird :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Clothiers database

RE: starting juniper seeds

morz8, thanks for the reply. Much appreciated.

Clothier's database is very good, lots of good info there.

Regarding these seeds, he is recommending scarification then a 4-month cold strat, with no mention of a warm strat period at all. Other sites suggest a 60+ day warm strat period then a similar cold strat period before sowing.

That's what makes this difficult and confusing, the conflicting info.

Maybe what I will try is a handful of seeds Clothiers way (4 month cold strat only) and another handful the other way (60 days warm strat followed by 60 days cold strat) and see which method works best. The only problem is the low germination rates of juniper to start with might make the test results meaningless.

Also any good ideas for seed scarification? Nicking the seed coat is a good idea but these seeds are tiny so it's difficult to scratch the seed coat. Sandpaper might work but again the seeds are tiny so not sure how that might work.

As an option to nicking the seedcoat several sites recommended soaking seeds in sulfuric acid for a couple of hours to replicate the bird digestive system but I have never tried that and have no idea where to buy sulfuric acid.

Thanks again!


RE: starting juniper seeds

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 29, 09 at 19:42

John, Auto supply stores are one source for sulfuric acid - it's battery acid. BUT, I find it particularly nasty/dangerous to work with and don't recommend anything I don't use myself. I have a small supply, tested it and put it away - I haven't found reason to use it again and likely will not.

Weakening the seed coat a little so that moisture can breach it more easily is all it takes - sometimes pouring very hot water over the seeds and allowing them to soak will do it. Placing them on one sheet of sandpaper while rubbing a second over top of them is a second possibility, or I've held individual seeds down with tweezers and gently poked the narrowest end with a needle.

RE: starting juniper seeds

I have chinese juniper seed and I would like some help on how to start to grow them from scratch Im lost please help, If its possible please tell me step by step on how to start

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