Where to get seeds to grow trees from
Risking to state the obvious, I’m just going to say: Don’t buy seeds for trees that either grow in your neighborhood or you can buy fruits of. If you want to try and grow trees from local species, just go on a walk and collect them. If you are into bonsai, you might spot a nice example of an interestingly shaped tree which can inspire you on how to shape your bonsai tree. If you’re more interested in exotic trees, don’t go and buy seeds online. Go to your supermarket and buy the fruit. First of all, you can enjoy the fruit AND you get the seeds which makes it more of a holistic experience (without wanting to sound overly esoteric here). I imagine that when you try to grow trees with children, that it is an interesting experience for them as well to see where the seeds come from and what you can use them for. Obviously, this method only works for fruits, because with nuts the fruit IS the seed. Then just buy/ collect some more (hazelnuts, chestnuts), eat some and use the rest for breeding.
Here’s a table which might help you to find out when which fruit/nut is in season. Green means main season, yellow means low season:
Another argument for using seeds fresh from the fruit is that you might be more successful, i.e. you will have a higher germination rate. I could only compare dwarf pomegranate and pomegranate, because I had dwarf pomegranate seeds in my bonsai starter set and got a fresh pomegranate later, but I think the data speaks for itself (see table below). For some species, using fresh seeds might also have an influence on the germination period. But that would almost literally be comparing apples and pears, because I didn’t have seeds of the same species to compare.
Here are the results of my seeds – germination period of lemons*, pomegranates* and myrtle as well as germination rate.
seed or fruit used
|no. of seeds||germination period||germination rate|
Punica granatum nana
|31||10 to 33 days||23%|
|28||9 to 36 days||79%|
Citrus x Lemon
|6||5 to 49 days||100%|
Citrus x Lemon
|22||13 to 46 days||88%|
|32||12 to 34 days||31 %|
* They might not be done germinating yet, I will adapt the table accordingly, when more seeds germinate. Temperatures above 21°C are highly recommended.
An overview of all seeds I got to germinate successfully can be found here (WIP).
With some species, you will find that most texts suggest to use stratification to get them to germinate. As I have just put my medlar seeds into stratification and into soil, I cannot say whether it is really necessary in my experience yet. However, I have tried to get oak (Quercus robur) to germinate without stratification and it worked. I also don’t really believe that it is necessary for medlars, because they are much more common in the Mediterranean than North of the Alps nowadays and I doubt that they get three months of low enough temperatures. Anyway, we will see when my medlar seeds germinate (or not).