Cedrus germination

dennisnjJune 2, 2006

I am having problems germinating some Cedrus libani Âstenacoma seed. This seed seems amazingly difficult to germinate. Can anyone give me a detailed, step by step procedure for doing this? I looked on past messages, but there are still questions in my mind. Here are the steps I am taking. Please correct me if I am wrong!

1. Soak seed 24 hours in room temperature to slightly warm water.

2. Cold stratify 30 days with no medium in a plastic bag

3. Germinate in slightly moist bonsai potting soil, wait for radicles to emerge

4. Plant seeds with emerged radicles in pot with bonsai potting soil by inserting radicle into small hole.

I have had a few seeds germinate, but the radicles did not grow at all after I planted them. I have only had about 4 seeds sprout from 1 oz. of seeds. Can anyone tell me of a method that actually WORKS for cedar? Thanks in advance.


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Fresh seed, from a tree growing in a forest of them in the wild (to ensure good pollination).

Since you've done everything right, that means yours were likely stale when bought, and/or collected from an isolated cultivated tree with poor pollination.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 5:07PM
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Dennis, you are doing nothing wrong. Could soak longer in cold water, stratify longer, but only to be extra careful.

I have had the same 'success' rate with my Stenocoma seed. Unbelievable really! I have maybe 5 or so growing now from say HUNDREDS of seeds! I dont' know whats wrong with these little suckers, they hate to grow. ; ) Probably everything that Resin suggested and more.
I got my seed from F.W.S.
I'd love to get my hands on some GOOD seed. Perhaps all this makes them that much more special.?

Oh, as far as Cedrus seed being difficult, they are not at all. You should try your same methods on straight C. libani seed.... your rate of germination will be incredible, as was mine.

I wish there was a trick. Let me know if you find better seed.

Sometimes when I sit quietly I think I can hear the mountains of southwest Turkey calling me. : ) But, for now, I'm still looking a little more locally.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 6:52PM
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Yep, a trip to Turkey is definitely the way to do it! - I got over 90% germination from the seed I collected there.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 7:53PM
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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

I got seeds from visiting the cedar of lebanon forest in Lebanon last summer. Kept the seeds in fridge in a plastic bag, no soaking or anything. planted them with my own potting mix, has to be well drained ofcourse. from 40 seeds I planted 6 weeks ago I have about 25 germinated already.
also wanted to mention that I have it in my greenhouse where temperature is always above 70 F.
The only problem I have with growing cedrus libani is being eaten by birds. I've been growing them for the past 4 years. I have trees now in all 4 sizes. I don't think they're stenocoma but are hardy enough to be grown in zone 5. I have some of my trees in ground in my zone and some planted in zone 5 with no winter injury so far.

I have sold many cedar of lebanon trees to different regions and all are doing well.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 8:42AM
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"I've been growing them for the past 4 years" - unfortunately, that's not a good test of hardiness, if those winters happen to be a run of mild winters. Some time a severe winter will come along and then they could be killed. 50-100 years is a better test period.

Congrats on trying, though! The Lebanese trees are (by definition!) Cedrus libani var. libani, not var. stenocoma (which comes from southwestern Turkey).


    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 9:22AM
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livingfossil(6a Dayton OH)

I would love to get a Cedrus libani var. stenocoma. I can never find one though. I do have a Cedrus deodara var. shalimar that survived the winter though. :)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 12:11PM
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Do I soak the seeds first than put them in the refigerator or do I soak the seeds after taking the seeds out of the refrigerator?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 11:21PM
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livingfossil, Forestfarm sells them right now. 29 bucks for a one gallon.


soak them first.

I actually continue soaking until all sink.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 7:15AM
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Should I dry off the seeds before putting them in vermiculite than the refrigerator?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 8:32AM
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If anyone knows of a source for stenocomas that are blue like atlantica I want some. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 11:51AM
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Hi Midwestjeff,

The ones I saw in southwest Turkey were quite blue. Take a holiday there and collect some . . . get enough, and you could probably pay for the trip selling the seeds to everyone else who is forever wanting it ;-)


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 11:57AM
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If I could afford it I would do that. Thanks Pineresin!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 3:47PM
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I have only had about 4 seeds sprout from 1 oz. of seeds.

Where did you buy your seeds? When were they collected?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 5:52PM
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many thanks for all the information in this thread

i have the good fortune to live opposite a beautiful old cedar of lebanon in a church yard in the uk - could almost touch the branches from my second floor window before they were trimmed a while ago

it is currently shedding seeds by the thousand, so i thought it would be a good chance to see if i could germinate some

i'll follow the helpful instructions from this thread, but as i'm no expert, could someone explain what cold stratifying is?

many thanks

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 3:46AM
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"could someone explain what cold stratifying is?"

Giving the seeds an artificial winter to imitate the winter they haven't had, if the seeds have been stored in a warm place after harvest. Since yours have had a natural winter outdoors, they won't need it.

For reference, it is done by mixing the seeds with damp sand, and storing them in the fridge at +1 or +2°C for a month or so. Seeds "know" it is time to germinate afterwards, when the temperatures change from cold to warm.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 8:59AM
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I bought from F.W. Schumaker this year and I had 40+ germinate and now I'm down to 36 as a few bit the dust. I did exactly what I said above and I do it for every type of seed:
When I'm ready to begin stratification, I soak them for days even if it takes a week. When they all are at the bottom of jars which is what I use, then I get my sterilized sand (lightly damp) and put them into my refridgerator for a month. While the seeds are in jars of warm water (I start each day and night with water that is very warm (warm enough that it won't burn my own skin but that it's very hot) and I place the jars on a seed starting heat mat and leave them, the jars, on there...

When stratification time is up, I read the packets directions and sow them at the depth the packet says to do so, again, with my seed-starting flats receiving bottom heat (68-72 Fahrenheit). Then I pray they will germinate! lol

So, Schumaker's 2007 batch I had decent results with. I either ordered a 1/4 ounce or 1/2 an ounce or 3/4 to an ounce .... I really don't remember.

I use tupperware tubs without drainage that are 6 or more inches tall and moniter them unconsciously. I just know because I've grown so much stuff that a bell rings in my brain when it's time to water things. And contrary to popular belief, I use whatever I have laying around to start seeds. Half my seeds this year were 50/50 peat/perlite and the other half were from potting soil and then I emptied all my old junk stuff and recycled that potting mixture of everything including the kitchen sink. What you don't want to ever use in a greenhouse is compost or anything that isn't sterile.

I think a heat mat in this case would help the germination along.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 2:11PM
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Perhaps someday I would like to go to Turkey (Anatolia) for a holiday and also for "harvesting" Stenocoma seeds.
When do the ripe cones open? So, what would be the best time for such a trip? (I guess somewhere in the autumn, but what would be the most appropriate time???)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 2:15PM
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