Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Forcing Seeds Into Dormancy

ssdd - 7-4-2009 at 06:44

Hello all,

I recently got my hands on some unusual seeds: African Baobab and Coffee (Kahawa: Variety).

While I plan on growing some of the seeds I have, I would also like to force some of them into dormancy if possible to store in the event I accidentally kill off the ones I am growing (I have 10 of each). (They will both be grown as bonsai to keep things at a manageable size) And I am not 100% sure of a good way to force seeds into dormancy, so I was wondering if anyone here had any thoughts on how to go about this reliably.

On the left: Baobab, On the right: Coffee (Sorry for the crappy quality, cellphone camera was the only one on hand)

Also, I have done a fair amount of research into how to grow these, but if anyone has any tips on growing hot/warm climate plants in the cold north as indoor plants they would be greatly appreciated.


chemoleo - 7-4-2009 at 12:07

Normally, storing them cool and dry should do the trick. I've kept seeds from Australia for 10 years that way (they were the bean-type, too), and they happily started growing once in the soil...

Saerynide - 7-4-2009 at 13:19

A mini bonsai Baobab?? That sounds cool :D How do you keep it from growing to enormous proportions?

ssdd - 7-4-2009 at 13:48

I have found a few neat resources on how to care for the baobab. <- the best one I've found so far <- also good (the forum there seems to be acting up...)

Though from what i have gathered the baobab will simply take a few years until it can even be shaped into a bonsai... I fell in love with the baobab and couldn't help but to try and grow one.

Even the seed germination time takes forever (upwards of 3 months at times!), so I am going to experiment with this and try soaking a seed or two in gibberellic acid and one or two not soaked and see if the gibberellic acid speeds up the germination period... I do plan on posting my adventures with these plants here once I get them to germinate.


Taaie-Neuskoek - 26-4-2009 at 04:27

Seed dormancy really depends on the species, it will be very hard to draw general conclusion from, say Arabidopsis to this plant.
Look up what's available online... in our lab we have long-term storage at -20, but I don't know if these seeds would survive that.

Some seeds need a brief cold treatment before they germinate, even a high salt solution. For Solanum spp, we usually use 1M KNO3 containing 50uM GH3 for a few days at 4 degrees. o/n also gives ok results, but not always a 100% germination rate.

GH3 is a very good germination stimulant, that should definitely work- I wouldn't treat the seeds with it for too long though, a 3 months treatment sounds a bit over the top...

ssdd - 27-4-2009 at 12:53

Yea, for now I am just going to try a cool dark and dry sealed container which I think will be OK for some of the tropical species I am storing, for some of the more temperate plants I have I will also try the same or perhaps a freezer as mentioned.

The grand total of species I am trying to germinate this year is 7.
Baobab and Coffee as mention, I have also gotten my hands on Giant California Redwood, Teak, Bristlecone Pine, Delonix Regia, and Rudraksha Bead Tree. The redwood and bristlecone were both cold statified after being soaked in a 250ppm solution of GH3. All other seeds were Scarified lightly and soaked in the same 250ppm solution for 24 hours. I am trying several sprouting methods.

Most of the seeds I have planted in moist top soil (organic store bought) in starter pots which are housed in a small seed starter tray with a clear lid. A small portion I put between layers of moist paper towel in a small clear box which gets strong sunlight.

So I will find out what works and what does not, the one I am most worried about not going is the teak...

As before I will continue to post results as I get them (I think the redwood should be first to go...)


ssdd - 5-5-2009 at 09:03

So yesterday my first seedling came through to the surface. Giant California Redwood.

The seedling is about 1.5cm tall (its growing fast, at fist it had a stem length of only 7.5mm) and has 5 needles that opened over the day.

Here is a pic from today:

And from yesterday:

Its just amazing to think how such a tiny tiny seedling has potential to grow to over 300 feet and contain its own microecosystem.



ssdd - 23-5-2009 at 09:24

Since my last post I have had a few other seeds sprout.

Delonix Regia sprouted 2 days after the redwood:

Here is its current size (roughly 15 days old):

And coffee came up within the past few days:

Sleep - 23-6-2009 at 08:54

Irradiating the seeds with far-red light (700-800nm) before storage in the dark inactivates phytochrome A, prolonging dormancy.

However it's not that necessary if they are stored dry.

JohnWW - 23-6-2009 at 18:29

Coffee? I have some coffee trees thriving at my place in New Zealand. I should be able to get some coffee beans from them before too long.