The Q&A Archives: Starting Broom From Seed

Question: I have a yellow broom plant that has seed pods with very tiny seeds in them. The pods started out green and have now darkened and dried out. Can I start new plants from the seeds? If so, should I store them and start them next spring or can they be started now? Any advice you can give me would be very helpful.

Answer: Cytisis (Broom) seedcoats have a growth inhibiting chemical that keeps them from germinating immediately after they ripen. In the wild, the seeds would be ejected from the seedpod when mature. They'd land on the soil surface where they'd be subjected to rainfall, and the scraping action of freezing and thawing soil particles. Both of these actions will leach away the chemical retardant and scrape the seedcoat to allow moisture to penetrate.

You can mimic Mother Nature by soaking seed overnight in hand-hot water to dissolve the chemical, then lightly chipping the seedcoat prior to planting. Then sow on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and just press in with your hand. (Cytisus seeds require light to germinate.) Place the trays or pots in a warm area such as on top of the refrigerator. The seeds will germinate in 25-30 days when kept at 70F - 75F degrees.

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