Planting Bonsai Seeds for Germination

Planting Bonsai Seeds for Germination

I’m preparing my Baobab (Adansonia digitata) seeds for planting and germination using a rather unusual method! Watch the video

Video Transcript

I’m going to be planting bonsai seeds for germination and boy do i have a lot of seeds here all the seeds i have on the table in front of me were sent in by viewers so thank you very much these are seeds from all over the world of all kinds of exotic tree species at least they’re exotic for me the weather is going to be sunny and warm for at least the next three days so it’s a perfect time to plant seeds and i’ll have to keep them in the greenhouse so the birds and the squirrels don’t dig up the seeds and eat them for me part of the excitement of bonsai is watching a seed develop into a tree it’s a fascinating process i have a lot of my trees that i did start from a seed so let’s review those now my very first bonsai my ficus microcarpa here was started from a seed many many years ago 28 years ago so it’s been exciting watching it develop from nothing to something my orange tree in here this one right here that was started from a seed again about 25 years ago my bullhorn acacia here was started from a seed not very long ago just a couple of years old many of my native red maples were started from seeds and again they’re very young trees my poplar here that was started from a sea just a few years ago these pomelos were started from a seed just a couple of years ago my manitoba maples here were started from a seed about 15 years ago many of the trees in my avatar grove were started from seeds all the ones in the back row were all seedlings many of the ones up front here were started from seeds so it’s kind of exciting watching them develop over the years my royal oaks here or english oaks were started from seeds this lemon tree was started from a seed many years ago the little cedars on the rock here began as little seedlings maybe about five years ago the birch behind it here that was started from a seed my baobabs here were started from a seed just last year my monkey ear trees were all started from seeds just a couple of years ago and you can see they’re getting quite developed my osage orange forest here was started from seeds this will be their third year in development and they’re coming along nicely my acacia trees back here were all started from seeds you can see them in there and they’re all doing well in the greenhouse here i have a tray and most of the stuff in the tray is either seeds or cuttings this is from a seed those are from seeds seed over here is my delonix regia that was started from a seed my mimosa up here that was started from a seed i think this is its third year it’s doing well it’s starting to get a bit of a trunk on it many of the trees that i’ll be planting today are species that you just couldn’t buy in a nursery anywhere around here or maybe not even on this continent so they’re kind of special these seeds about half the seeds i’ll be planting today are hearty seeds so they can you know stay outdoors in the winter or at least you know they need that cool period in winter and about half are tropical trees that need to stay warm the entire winter so i’ve already stratified the hearty seeds so i’ve given them a cool period over the winter and now i put them all together so i can plant all the seeds now there may be some seeds that i need to scratch the seed coating on and planting seeds you have to look at the individual species so i would recommend you look it up online see what’s the recommended way of germinating the seeds you know if you have to stratify them scratch the coating sometimes people boil them in water there’s all kinds of methods like some trees the seed cone needs a fire to open up the seed pods there’s all kinds of special cases so i recommend you look it up online before you start any seeds i’m going to plant all the seeds in either seed trays or pots and then i’ll place them in the greenhouse for germination in the greenhouse the trees will stay nice and warm i can put the heater on at night if i need to and they’ll stay nice and humid so the seed trays won’t dry out and they’re protected from mice birds squirrels whatever wants to eat the seeds in the past i’ve planted entire seed trays with hundreds of seeds and the next day i come out and the squirrels have dug them all up and eaten them so i had that with acorns i planted all these acorns and the next day they were all gone i was i was very disappointed so in the greenhouse they’ll stay there goes the little bunny i find when you join a bonsai society there’s always people in the club that are propagating they’re planting cuttings and seeds and they’re very happy to give them out to new members and i mean i really appreciated it when i first started out in bonsai getting you know trees to start off with seedlings and cuttings it was a fantastic way to start into the hobby and i really appreciate those people who do the propagation these seeds i’m planting today i mean if i live 20 30 years i’ll be doing really really well so i uh you know i might see them grow into a nice tree but not you know a really old mature bonsai but the fun is just watching them develop i i enjoy watching seedlings sprout i think it’s exciting and then getting the first leaves and you know the little steps of transforming a seedling into a something that looks like a tree is just to me that’s the joy of bonsai well it’s the morning time and i’m hungry so i’m going to start today by planting my babe seeds that were sent to me from hawaii and there’s a pulp inside them this one’s already been eaten but there’s a pulp inside that i can have for breakfast and then i’ll extract the seeds and get them planted here’s the three seed pods i have to extract the seeds from so that’ll be exciting getting those planted here’s a look at my baobabs so these trees were started from seeds last summer and they were sent to me by tom from the youtube channel growing clip bonsai for seniors so i planted five of them and i got two to germinate so i was really happy to get some here’s the uh pods that jacob sent me from hawaii i split one open last year and ate it and there’s a playlist for these babe trees so you can follow along their progress so this is how many seeds you get from one seed pod and uh so quite a few and some of the seeds are kind of like some kind of like double seed i don’t know if i just have to separate them or but anyway lots to plant and then today i’ll be opening these these seed pods up and eating the fruit and we’ll plant all these baba seeds the reason i didn’t plant these last year is the weather was too cool so right now you know it’s just beginning to get summer-like the temperatures are nice and warm in the daytime so i think they’ll germinate really well part of the fun of bonsai is researching the trees seeing what area in the world they grow in and what’s the climate like that they grow in what the trees are used for so yeah it’s more than just growing bonsai it’s learning about the world so i’m going to open up this seed pod and they’re really fuzzy on the outside they feel really good it’s almost like velvet i’ll try using this spoon and kind of pry it open start from this end here it comes there it is so there’s the pulp inside and it’s really good it’s like dessert it’s so good it’s like a a really subtle sweet creamy flavor and the seeds are in the pulp you just clean them off set them aside oh i love the fruit i finished eating the pulp from the baobab fruit here so that’s how many seeds i got out of the second one and this pod was a little smaller than the first one so i got a few less seeds but that’s plenty of seeds for me to plant this spring i’m going to keep the other two pods in reserve just in case disaster strikes like you know i had that squirrels take all my acorns in one year so i’ll keep these as backup and i’ll plant all these bambap seeds have a really hard tough seed coating on them it’s waterproof um it allows these seeds to stay in the soil for many many years and then you know the seed coating slowly decomposes and then someday in the future rain comes and they germinate so we’re going to speed up the process i’m going to file or sand off that seed coating or reducing it down at least so it’s not as thick and then i have to soak the seeds for 24 to 48 hours i’ve got a file here and you can use sandpaper or anything and i’m going to scratch away at that seed coating thinning it down and then after i’ve got that i’m going to soak it they recommend you throw the seeds in boiling water so i’m going to heat up some water to boiling put it in the thermos let it cool for a little bit and then put the seeds in there and they recommend you keep the water warm quite hot so i think the thermos will work i’ll change the water maybe every 12 hours and i’ll put fresh hot water in and i think that’ll do it in 24 to 48 hours they should show a little the start of the roots sticking out from the seed and then i can plant them in soil i’m going to use vice grips on these seeds they’re hard to hold they get kind of shiny as they lose that pulpy coating and when you’re filing sometimes they pop out of your hand and i don’t want to lose it after all that work filing down the seat coating so i’m going to grip it with the vice grips i’m not going to like crush the seat or anything i just got to get it in there so i can hold it a bit get the right right amount tension here that’s good there so now i can [Laughter] file away the seed coating without fear of the seat popping out of my hand i never thought i’d use vice grips for a bone sign but here we are so they say to file the seed coating down quite thin i think that’s good once water gets into the seed the sea coating becomes quite soft once it gets impregnated with water so i think that’s good for that seedling or that seed so there’s one that can go in the water and i’m going to put it in a just a cup for now until i transfer it to the thermos just to start that soaking process okay my first seed can go in the water and i used rain water you’ll notice that the seeds will swell up they’ll get you know two to three times the size of the dried seed like this after soaking so it’s sand to the bottom that’s a good sign if you have a seed that you know an insect’s gotten through the seed coating and eaten the inside out they’ll float so those aren’t good seeds don’t bother planting those so they should sink to the bottom of the pot i’m sure the germination success rate depends a lot on this preparation you know if you did your prep work really well and thoroughly i think you’ll have a really high success rate of germination if you know you skip on some of the steps or don’t do them very well i think you’ll have a low success and i think you know the time of year you plant them it’s got to be warm and hot out has a big factor or big is a big factor on this success as you start filing through the sea coating it gets a lighter color so that’s when you know you’re down to about the right level when you start getting a light brown in the middle there if you can see that all right there’s another one for my tub of water and that one sink it’s recommended that you scratch the seed coating all the way around the seed trying to thin it down [Music] i found the last time i planted them that as long as you know i have a spot here the water can get in i’ve got one over here where water can get in and another one here i think that’s quite good once the water gets into the seed pod it seems to soften everything up and you know you can remove this outer shell once the seed swells up and you start to see the root coming out so there’s another one done there’s another one scratched down until you see the light brown color under the seat coating these bab seeds will stay viable for many many years i’ve heard people germinating you know 15 year old seeds i even read that 50 year old seeds can still be viable so you don’t have to worry about storing them they’ll just throw them in a dry place and plant them whenever you get time i was reading that it’s best to plant one seed per pot when the taproot on these babs is young they’re very fragile so if you plant a whole bunch of seeds in one pot it’s not a good idea to then separate them and put them in their individual pots because you might break off that taproot and it may kill the tree so one seed per pot is what they recommend welcome to the world very cute how soft their feet are okay take it easy little fella well i never thought i’d need vice grips for planting seeds but now i never thought i’d use an oscillating drum sander for planting seeds either so i brought this out so i can sand the seed coat off a little bit easier than using the file [Applause] okay that was the last seed so that went quite quite good it went i did them quite quickly here’s a look at the seeds now so you can see the amount of floaters versus sinkers i would say it’s close to half maybe there’s a few more floaters than sinkers so i don’t know if that’ll change once you know they get some liquid in them maybe they’ll sink or maybe they’re just no good i don’t know but we’ll plant them all see what comes up so the oscillating spindle sander worked really well it saved me hours and hours of filing so that really came in handy my next step is to boil up some water and fill the thermos i won’t put the seeds in the water when it’s boiling hot i’m going to let it cool to you know hotter than warm but not so hot that it would scald your finger i filled my thermos with the boiling water so i think it’s still quite hot i’ve let it sit at maybe uh five minutes so you can see there’s a bit of steam coming off the top but i think that’ll be good because these seeds are pretty cool in this rainwater i’ve got them in so i’m going to add them to the thermos now so here i go [Music] so these are all the seeds that sank to the bottom and i’ll put those in now so that’s all the seeds in the thermos so i’m going to let them sit overnight at least i’ll see how they are you know tomorrow so here’s the seeds in here so it’s it’s quite hot in the greenhouse here so there’s my thermos in the sun that’ll stay warm for many many hours what is the temperature it is about 38 degrees celsius or 100 degrees fahrenheit so pretty warm the humidity is it’s about 65 percent which is pretty good in here i’ve got the door open the baobab seeds are an example of a seed that needs a lot of work before you go and plant it but most seeds you just need to soak them overnight and you can plant them directly into the soil so i’ve got a bucket of water here and i’m going to go through all the seeds and soak them overnight in this bucket and then we can plant them tomorrow i’ve got some camphor tree seeds here and this is extra seeds they look like the same thing the camper so i’ll soak those overnight i’ll put those in the bucket i have a package here off what is it uh black to laptop 35 seeds looks cool well we’ll soak those overnight here’s of course chinese dogwood chinese dogwood wow that’s cool american hornby oh that’s cool okay so they’re going into the bucket too okay i think that should be enough seeds for the video tomorrow where we’ll be planting all these here’s a look in the bucket and maple key just fell in there so they just dropped from the sky here and we’ll leave it in there yeah so a lot of seeds have sunk there’s only a few ones that are floating still so we’ll see tomorrow how they do maybe more of them will suck up some water and sink down to the bottom i don’t know so that’s a lot of seeds in that bucket now all the seeds that were in this box came from dana in pennsylvania so thanks a lot those are just wonderful i can’t wait to see them growing the camper seats were sent to me by raphael in gainesville florida so thanks very much raphael those are awesome and it’ll be an interesting species to grow as a bonsai tina from nevada sent me some giant sequoia seeds so i’m going to put those separately in this yogurt container soak those overnight and we’ll plant those tomorrow also thanks tina i’ve always wanted a giant sequoia so here i go the giant sequoia seeds may also be from john from new jersey i may have got the envelopes mixed up so thanks whoever sent them to me well for a seed planting video i didn’t get any seeds planted today but i did get a lot of the prep work done and i think this will turn into a multi-part series it’ll take me a long time to get all these seeds ready and planted so that’s all for today i’m nigel saunders thanks for joining me in the bonsai zone [Music]

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