All Loquat Seeds Have Germinated

Today I discovered that the last loquat seed has germinated. That means that 100% of the 20 seeds actually germinated in a period between 30 and 56 days. Not too bad.

loquat seedlings

Loquat Seedlings

I had dumped the three I had germinated in vermiculture, but I still have 20 seedlings. How’s that, you might wonder. It’s because loquat seem to be polyembryonic, just like lemons. You might be able to see that with the one on the bottom right corner. Three seedlings grow from one seed there.

New Seeds: Pistachio

Finally, I could convince myself to get some pistachio seeds on Ebay. One might ask – why don’t you just buy them at the supermarket? – Easy: because those are always roasted and half of them even salted, so they won’t germinate. They were offered as “Persian Pistachios”, which basically means that they’re from Iran. Iran is the largest exporter of pistachios, as far as I know.

So, those are not actually Mediterranean, but pistachios are grown in Sicily, and that’s my excuse.

So I ordered 10, but actually got 12, which is always nice. I read about how to get them to germinate and just followed the instruction: Soak them in water of room temperature for 16 hours. I might have soaked them for 20 hours and the colour of their shell did actually change, as you might be able to see in the pictures:

As you can see, I used an empty ice cream container. They are very useful and it gives me yet another reason to buy ice cream.

After they had soaked, I put them in the remaining vermiculite and covered them up. I only used five of the seeds so far, in case they all germinate (they probably won’t), I won’t get too many.

There’s only as much water in the box as the pistachios had on them.

I also got new plant labels, of which I taped one to the box. Because I have other projects in other ice cream boxes and I will have forgotten which is which after a couple of weeks.

In the article about pistachio germination, I found the information that soaking the seeds in solution of 1 percent potassium nitrate might help the germination rate. I want to try that with cheaper seeds first. I still have seven pistachio seeds left for later trials.

First Medlar Seeds Germinated

I went away for the weekend and when I returned, four medlar seeds had visibly germinated! Yeah! I had bought fresh medlar loquat fruit a month ago, had eaten the pulp and put 17 seeds into ordinary soil and 3 into vermiculite.

Today, I checked again, and found that two seeds in the vermiculite had germinated as well. At least I think they’re two, because the roots are quite a bit apart. Also, another of the ones in soil had germinated. You can see the progress on the site for Germination periods.

PS: I just realized that those aren’t Medlars at all. They’re Loquats. The German name “Mispel” is sometimes used for both species, sorry.

Germination Period for Mandarin Pips Over

On March 5th, I had started a new project to determine the germination period for mandarins/ tangerines. I think all the pips came from the same mandarin, but I’m not sure any more, because there wouldn’t have been a lot of pulp in that mandarin: I had put 16 pips in vermiculite and 6 into ordinary soil. I wrote down 6 at the time, but now I have 10 seedlings, so it seems one seed yielded several seedlings.

mandarin seedlings

Mandarin Seedlings

It took them between 24 and 50 days to germinate. The seeds in vermiculite started germinating after 24 days and the ones in normal soil 33. The leaves look darker than the ones from the lemon trees.


I have re-potted the seedlings into single pots and it actually IS the case that one seed can yield several seedlings. There’s plenty of proof:

Battle of the Apples Day 18

Sad news first: Nothing has happened really so far. I was about to dump all the seeds, but decided to check on them first. This is what I found (after I had cleaned them up a bit):

There seemed to be no change at all in the Golden Delicious seeds, apart from one having vanished. I dumped them all. They still have a chance to germinate on the compost.

The Pink Ladies seem to make an effort at least, so I put them back into the soil.

To give the Golden Delicious a chance, I allowed for some re-enforcement (to stay with the war metaphor). Luckily, the Golden Delicious co-worker eats on of them a day, so I got two more seeds yesterday, which I sowed today. Maybe I can get more tomorrow.

First Stone Pines Germinated!

Some days ago, I saw the soil in one of the three stone pine pots bulge. Excitement! Since then, some green has shown and the next stone pine has also made the soil bulge.

They’re gonna look so funny once they’re completely sprouted. It took the first stone pine 17 days to germinate and I have added it to the list.

Battle Of The Apples Day 1

Yesterday, I got 5 apples seeds of each of two of my co-workers. Co-worker A (his name starts with A, but I won’t give his full name) gave me 5 of Pink Lady and co-corker B (her name starts with B, see above) gave me 5 of Golden Delicious. I know it is off-topic, because those are not Mediterranean seeds, but I wanted to add more information to my table of germination periods.

So, to make things a bit more competitive (and to have a reason for posting about something more regularly and with little effort), I will have a battle of the apples until all 10 seeds have germinated. I will post photographs of their pots each day there is some development. According to the data I have gathered about Granny Smiths and Braeburn, it will be less than a week before the first sprouts appear.

So, there we go!

(Starting a battle on Valentine’s Day – why not. It’s about apples, some say the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve had. Makes me think of Paris’ choice as well…)

Update 1 on Germinating Ginkgo Seeds

This morning when I checked all my pots, I couldn’t believe what I saw: A crack in the soil in one of the egg carton pots that holds ginkgo seeds! Should one of the ginkgo seeds be germinating?

ginkgo seed germinating

Ginkgo Seed Germinating?

Anyway, it seems that it is germinating after all, because the cracks has gotten larger since this morning. I’m really excited about it, because those seeds have only been in the soil for three weeks and they supposedly only germinate after three months. I will add this to my overview of all germination periods in a minute.

I could only be more excited, if the olive seeds would finally germinate.

However, this discovery made me think: Didn’t I have more than 6 ginkgo seeds? I’m glad that I write this blog, because I’m very forgetful (should take some ginkgo medicine…), because that way I could read that I put 5 into the fridge. I checked them and the paper towel already looked very mouldy. I opened it and found one seed completely moulded. So I took it out and dumped it. I cleaned the others and gave them a new paper towel, because they have to stay in stratification for another week.

Moulding Ginkgo Seeds

Moulding Ginkgo Seeds

Some Thoughts about Seeds

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:

Season Table for Fruits and Nuts

Season Table for Fruits and Nuts

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.

Latin name
seed or fruit used
no. of seeds germination period germination rate
Dwarf Pomegranate
Punica granatum nana
31 10 to 33 days 23%
Punica granatum
28 9 to 36 days 79%
Citrus x Lemon
fruit (non-organic)
6 5 to 49 days 100%
Citrus x Lemon
fruit (organic)
22 13 to 46 days 88%
Myrtus communis
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).


english oak seedling

English Oak (Quercus robur)

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).

Growing Medlars from Seeds

As I have written in my Bonsai Wishlist, medlar (Mespilus germanicus) is one of the species I want to grow as a bonsai tree. I had brought two seeds back from Turkey, but now that I have done some research I realized that I might have done it all wrong. Their seeds seem to need cold stratification. However, I had already sown those Turkish seeds and put into the mini greenhouse. I found the information that they might only germinate after two winters, so I will leave those in the soil and just wait. Having brought them from Turkey, they’re too precious for me to dump them.

Where to get Medlar Seeds

As you will be able to read on many websites, medlar trees have been more common until and including the Victorian Age. They can be found in the Mediterranean, though. But what if you want to grow them from seed and you neither live there nor do you go there regularly? Well, two possibilities: Either you are very lucky and there despite medlar trees not being well known anympre, there is one or even more near you. That’s how lucky I am, as I found out on this great (German) website Mundraub. I went there on my bike and got some.  There was only one fresh looking medlar in one of the trees, two dried ones still in the tree and I found one which had fallen to the ground and started to rot. Gross, but helpful.

Medlar Tree

One Lonely Medlar

medlar tree

the other medlar tree

The other possibility is to buy them, obviously. I found some medlar seeds on Ebay, but there are also other possibilities to buy them online. If you want to buy medlar fruits instead, you might find them at larger supermarkets in autumn. I read that Turkish greengrocers have them sometimes. You might also try your local farmers’ market.



How to Grow Medlars from Seeds

First of all, at this point I can only repeat what I have read so far, as I have only started with medlar seeds. Several sources I read said that medlar seeds have a very strong coat and therefore need cold stratification (1-5°C). However, some sources say 12 month, some say only 3-4 month. Some say not at all. First you need to soak them in lukewarm water for 24-48 hours . Other websites add a warm stratification period of 8-9 month after the cold stratification, followed by another cold stratification of 3 month. These tips are all for dried seeds, I think. If you can get fresh seeds from a fruit directly from a tree, when the coat has not had the time to harden properly yet, it might work quicker.

I read in several German message boards that no stratification is necessary when you use seeds directly from fruits. I’m gonna go for that option, just soak the seeds for two days and sow them directly. The germination period of medlar seeds is 4-7 weeks, it said in one of the message boards. We will see…