shelf life of seeds?

mashell(z3 MT)April 19, 2010

I have been trying to find out how long harvested seeds will last if cared for properly? (in general, if there is such a thing.) And is there a difference in shelf life of the seeds collected from perennials, annuals, and biennials? Or is the shelf life dependent upon each individual species?

I do appreciate any information on the many questions above... Seems when I ask one question many, many more come to mind.

Thank You!

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Shelf life is dependent on the species, seed collection(making sure seed is completely ripe before harvesting,) and storage(cool, dark, and dry.)
Most seeds will have a high percent of germination for a few years(many in the 5 year range)if they were good to begin with. Some seeds can last quite a long time before the seeds begin to degrade in quality.
There's a few types of seeds that do not last or must be stored in a specific way to keep viable. Woodland spring ephemerals. Many of these need to be sown immediately or kept moist in a cool environment until ready to sow. Fruit seeds like of apples or pears need to be kept in the fruit and then winter sown. Citrus fruit needs to be sown immediately after removal from the fruit.
Some plants are often said to have a shelf life of a year like onion seed, but I've sown seed in the onion family that is a couple years old a few times now and been successful. I'm betting viability drops a lot after the 3rd year.
For really long term storage, freezing is an option. A few things must be done to be successful with freezing. First seed must be really dry so leaving out for a few weeks before packaging to freeze is important. Then when removing from the freezer, you need to let the container come to room temperature before opening, or you will kill the seed.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 9:34AM
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mashell(z3 MT)

Hi Remy,

Thank you so much for your time and information to my questions. Also, your pictures of your roses are absolutely stunning!! Thank you again.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 7:29PM
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