Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 25, 2005

From: Austin, TX
Region: Other
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagation of Eastern Redbud
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have collected seeds from an Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis L.) and I want to learn how to germinate them. How can I find out this information?

ANSWER:

Since the seeds have a hard coat, scarification will aid in getting them to germinate. Jill Nokes in "How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest" describes three variations of scarifying by soaking in concentrated sulfuric acid. For all three methods the seeds were soaked in the sulfuric acid for 30-45 minutes, then rinsed thoroughly and air dried on newspapers. The simplest method next covered the seeds with boiling water and left them in the cooling water overnight. The next day the seeds were planted in individual containers. Another method involved cold stratification at 41° F. for 30 days after the 30-minute scarification in sulfuric acid. The final method aerated the scarified seeds in water in glass jars. The water in the jars was changed when it became discolored. When seeds began to swell, they were removed and stored in plastic bags with moist perlite for 60 days in cold storage. Seeds began to sprout by the end of that period and were planted in individual containers. Please note that caution should be used when handling concentrated sulfuric acid. it can cause skin burns and severe irritation of the respiratory tract. Ideally, it should be used only under a vented hood.

Another method for scarification of the seeds is abrasion using sand paper or sand. The seeds can be rubbed over fine sand paper to abrade the seed coat and then covered in boiling water and allowed to soak overnight in the cooling water before planting. Another method involves making a slurry of water and fine sand in a glass jar, adding the seeds and shaking vigorously before the boiling water treatment and overnight soaking in the cooling water.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

More Propagation Questions

Growing butterfly weed as a girl scout project
July 30, 2012 - We have a group of girl scouts who want to sell 'crafts' at a farmers market. I am wanting to steer the moms and girls in a different direction. I was wondering if you think that butterfly weed woul...
view the full question and answer

How can I propagate Giant Ball Moss?
March 11, 2009 - Recommended methods for propagation of Giant Ball Moss? (Bromeliaceae, Tillandsia baileyi rose ex small) Thanks
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a Dutchman's pipe in Beaverton MI
June 10, 2010 - When can I transplant a full grown dutchmans pipe plant? It is growing along side of the house and it needs a bigger place to grow. This is June and the plant is in full bloom full of pipes, but need...
view the full question and answer

Propagating plant cuttings in cut potato from Columbia MO
June 26, 2012 - Hello. I belong to a garden group and one of the members posted a "tip" she found in an early 2000 garden magazine. I wanted to see if there was any truth to the tip? Basically the tip was to use...
view the full question and answer

germinating Gulf coast penstemon and purple coneflower
June 03, 2011 - I'm interested in propagating gulf coast penstemon (penstemon tenuis) from seed. Do I have to mascerate the 'berries' to remove the pulp from the seed, and do I have to stratify the seed to get th...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.