The Q&A Archives: Linden Trees

Question: I live in area 4 and have collected some seeds from a Linden tree. The seed pods are quite hard and difficult to open. I have cracked open the pods and there are two seeds inside the pod. I would really like to try to start these seeds. Are there special procedures needed to germinate these seeds? Will they open after they are dried or after they are soaked in water?

Answer: Seeds of Tilia, or linden, can be germinated in the following manner: Fruits ripen in September or October, and can be shaken from the tree after the first frost. Each fruit has a woody shell (pericarp) which must be softened prior to germination. Commercial harvesters soak the seed in concentrated sulfuric acid, but that's not practical for most homeowners! You can remove the pericarp by cracking it open, as you've done. Then place the seeds in a plastic bag filled with moistened potting soil, seal, and keep it in the refrigerator for 3 months. After the 3 month chilling period is over plant the seeds in individual pots of moistened potting soil and provide bottom heat. Viable seeds will germinate in 30-60 days when kept at 70F-80F.

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