The Q&A Archives: Starting A Liquidambar Seedling

Question: What is the best way to start, from seeds, a seedling for a sweet gum tree? Are these seeds found in the "spiky balls" you find on these trees?

Answer: The seeds of liquidambar are found in the spiky fruit heads. Each seed has a wing (for dispersal by wind). Once you've collected the mature fruiting heads (they'll turn from green to yellow at maturity), allow them to air dry until the seeds fall from the capsules. The seeds require a pre-germination chill period, then light and heat to germinate. Begin by mixing the seeds in moistened potting soil, sealing in a plastic bag, and refrigerating for 3 months. At the end of the chilling period, sow the seeds on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and press them in with your finger, but don't cover with additional soil. Provide bottom heat. Seeds will germinate in 14-365 days when kept at 65F-75F.

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