witch hazel seed

Discussion in 'Propagation This Month' started by amanda j, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. amanda j

    amanda j Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi all.
    I have a lovely orange flowered witch hazel which has opened its little pods and there is what looks like seed inside some of them.Its strange as the flowering buds are next them.
    can i pot them up now to see if they will grow or do i wait till its a bit warmer.
     
  2. Palustris

    Palustris Total Gardener

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    First prepare a free draining substrate into which the seeds are to be mixed, this can be a 50/50 mixture of compost and sharp sand, or perlite, vermiculite. The chosen substrate needs to be moist (but not wet), if you can squeeze water out of it with your hand it is too wet and your seeds may drown and die. Mix the seeds into the substrate, making sure that their is enough volume of material to keep the seeds separated.

    Place the seed mixture into a clear plastic bag

    Write the date on the bag so that you know when the pre-treatment was started.

    The seeds first require a period of warm pretreatment and need to be kept in temperatures of around 20 Celsius (68F) for a period of approx. 8 weeks . During this time make sure that the pretreatment medium does not dry out at any stage or it will be ineffective!

    Next the seeds require a cold period to break the final part of the dormancy, this is achieved by placing the bag in the fridge at (4 Celsius or 39F) for approx. 18 weeks. It is quite possible for the seeds to germinate in the bag at these temperatures when they are ready to do so, if they do, just remove them from the bag and carefully plant them up.

    When the period of pre-treatment has finished the seed should be ready to be planted. Small quantities can be sown in pots or seed trays filled with a good quality compost and cover them with a thin layer of compost no more than 1 cm deep.

    It has also been found that fluctuating pre-treatment temperatures can give the best germination results. Ungerminated seeds can have the whole warm and cold process repeated again to enable more seeds to germinate.

    Fresh seedlings can keep germinating for several years after the original sowing date.

    Do not expose newly sown seeds to high temperatures (above 25 Celsius). Keep the seedlings well watered and weed free. Growth in the first year is usually between 10 and 30cm depending on the time of germination and cultural techniques and developing seedlings are usually trouble free. Allow them to grow for 2 or 3 years before planting them in a permanent position
     
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    • amanda j

      amanda j Apprentice Gardener

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      Brilliant thank you palustris.
      I have collected a few so will start the sowing of them tomorrow.
       
    • amanda j

      amanda j Apprentice Gardener

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      Well i think i was too late as when i collected the pods all seemed empty.:sad:
      So will have to watch now for next year.
       
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      • Palustris

        Palustris Total Gardener

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        Shame. I did grow some many years ago, but sadly failed to keep the shrubs alive afterwards.
         
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        • Barb in Pa

          Barb in Pa Gardener

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          @amanda j , When I have something that develops seeds that I don't know much about here is what I do. Watch carefully, and when I think they are ready, I plant them somewhere near the mother plant. I figure the mother grows in the same soil and weather conditions. So I make a little area near the main plant and plant the seeds and mark it carefully with a border of little rocks.. let nature take it's course. Then the seeds go through the natural chilling and wet and dry time ...most of the time I get seedlings in spring.

          Taking the seeds away to a different area is sort of like "fighting city hall". Sometimes you just can't do it...
           
        • Palustris

          Palustris Total Gardener

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          We have a fair number of Witch Hazels here and I have never found any seedlings under them. Many plants have chemical inhibitors exuded by the roots which prevent seeds from germinating. After all who would want to be crowded out by hundreds of babies?
           
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