The Q&A Archives: Sophora Japonica Seeds

Question: I have a 1 year old packet of seeds of Sophora japonica. How should I plant these seeds and grow the tree? I live in Canada where the winters are extremely cold Right now we are in the middle of a blizzard with temperatures of -20 celsius. Will this tree survive outdoors in my area?

Answer: If the seeds for your Japanese Pagoda Tree (Sophora japonica) were stored properly, they should germinate without problem. The factors that rob seed of viability are heat, light and moisture. Seeds should be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark area such as the back of a closet or cupboard, or in a basement until it's time to plant. Japanese Pagoda trees are hardy to about -20F, (zone 5 in the US) so it should grow in your region. Seeds need to be soaked for 24 hours prior to sowing, and they need bottom heat to germinate. Nick or chip the seedcoat slightly and place the seeds in a cup, covering with warm water. Drain the water and sow the seeds on top of moistened seed starting mix, just pressing in with your hand. (They need light to germinate.) Place the pots or trays on a propagating mat or greenhouse heat cable. The seeds should germinate in 10-21 days when kept at 70F - 85F degrees.

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