The Q&A Archives: Redbud Seed

Question: I missed out on getting redbuds started from seeds over the winter. I have collected some seed pods that have been exposed to the weather all winter and am wondering if these seeds are useable, and if they are useable if there is some "quick" way to get these seeds started during the late spring so that they can grow in pots and be ready for next spring's planting or if they can be planted sometime this year.

Answer: Redbud (Cercis canadensis) seeds require a cold moist stratification period so the exposure to the winter is not a problem. If you plant them outdoors now they may germinate this spring. However, according to Michael Dirr's "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants", the seeds have a hard seedcoat and internal dormancy so they may require scarification in sulphuric acid for 30 minutes followed by 5 to 8 weeks of cold (refrigerator will do) moist (place the seeds in a dampened paper towel or dampened peat moss inside a plastic bag) storage prior to planting. You might experiment with the seeds you have and see what works. This tree can be difficult to transplant except when it is very small, so an alternative might be to look for seedlings in the garden and transplant them to the location where you want them to grow. This can be done in early spring or early fall.

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