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Avatar for PATRICK66
Aug 31, 2020 1:51 AM CST
Johannesburg, South Africa
I have been trying for a long time now to source someone or some company to provide me with seeds for Blue Spruce trees. I live in Johannesburg, South Africa and the seeds I can get locally all fail to germinate hence me looking for help from gardeners overseas. I have spoken with a number of US nurseries who sell Blue Spruce but none are prepared to tell me where they get their trees from as those are the places that would have seeds. Can anyone help?
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Aug 31, 2020 4:29 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
GROW ORCHIDS!!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
You have to soak them in water for 24 hours. Take them out and let them dry overnight.
Plant very shallowly in a "soiless" seedling mix. If planted too deep, they probably won't germinate.
Taught classes on Orchids and Orchid growing and led hundreds of bird walks. Retired Wildlife Biologist.
Avatar for PATRICK66
Aug 31, 2020 12:40 PM CST
Johannesburg, South Africa
Thank Big Bill. I have done what you suggest plus a number of other methods all to no avail. Soaked overnight. Dried. Planted in light potting soil. Planted in fine river sand. Even tried using the method we get Protea's to germinate here which is soaking them in a solution that contains the effects of a fire which produces good results in Protea seeds. I have managed to grow many different types of Protea thru these methods. But I do not believe the seeds sold me here will germinate hence my need to source sellers in the US who would be willing to sell me seeds that they use to germinate the trees themselves. Thanks for the advise though. Much appreciated.
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Aug 31, 2020 2:09 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
GROW ORCHIDS!!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
Sure thing!

They probably won't sell seeds because it is such a small thing and not worth their time and effort. Unfortunate but it could be the case.
Taught classes on Orchids and Orchid growing and led hundreds of bird walks. Retired Wildlife Biologist.
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Aug 31, 2020 7:08 PM CST
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Hybridizer Region: Minnesota Seed Starter
The WITWIT Badge Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier
Never heard of soaking spruce seed before. Blue spruce (Picea pungens) don't need a cold treatment to germinate, but it does help jump start them and provides a more uniform germination period. Put the dry seed in a ziplock bag of moist peat, sand or potting mix. Put it in the refrigerator (about 4°C) for a month or two, then bring it out and plant them (13-21°C). If you have enough seed, you can try soaking some to see if it makes a difference. Be sure to use a freezer bag. With a regular bag, you will need to watch and make sure it doesn't dry out inside the bag.

It's possible that your local seed is not viable to begin with. Most spruces need cross pollenation from another genetically different spruce of the same species. From any spruce cone, there will be flat non-viable seed, and hopefully plump viable seed, too. I don't know how common a North American blue spruce are in South Africa, but it is doubtful it could hybridize with any other spruce that grows there.

This site sells the seed you want
https://sheffields.com/
When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers. - Socrates
Avatar for PATRICK66
Sep 1, 2020 2:17 AM CST
Johannesburg, South Africa
BigBill. That's what I thought until I saw the message from Leftwood!

Leftwood, if I was with you when I saw the link you gave for seeds I would have kissed you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For the first time I have a source of seeds! Thank you so much! You are a star! Let me get onto the site and see what I can find. You have no idea how you made my day.

If you chaps are looking for seeds from my side, like Protea, let me know and I will try and help you out as well. Not sure if you are into this side of gardening.
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Sep 1, 2020 10:34 AM CST
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Hybridizer Region: Minnesota Seed Starter
The WITWIT Badge Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier
Glad to be of help.

There aren't that many South African plants that survive way up here in USDA zone 4, but there are a few. Before climate change kicked in about 10 years ago or so, I had a lot better luck. Now I am relearning how to garden in such wacky weather. Years ago I had two species of iceplants (then called Delosperma sp.) that were very hardy. Not so anymore. But now I have built a place I think will be suitable, so if you happen across any seed of Ice plants (mesambranth species) like Delosperma, Aloinopsis, Stomatium, ebracteola wilmanniae, Rabiea albipuncta, Bergeranthus jamesii, Hereroa, Rhinephyllum, or similar that are zone 5 hardy or better, I would appreciate that. Also there are few I am willing to keep inside for the winter, like Gladiols venustus, G. ecklonii, Gladiolus uysiae, G. longicollis, Laperousia orogena, Hesperantha vaginata, Oxalis palmifrons. Not expecting anything, though, just if it comes across your radar...
When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers. - Socrates
Avatar for PATRICK66
Sep 4, 2020 1:11 AM CST
Johannesburg, South Africa
Will do that for you Leftwood. It would be a pleasure. I am not too familiar with your zones although I often see and read about them on line. I do know zone 4 is way up towards Alaska - I think? Man that's cold. Let me see if we can get any of those mentioned but doubt it due to our climate not coming even close to yours. Once again many thanks for the seed site. Stay safe and well my friend.
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Sep 4, 2020 3:26 PM CST
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Hybridizer Region: Minnesota Seed Starter
The WITWIT Badge Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier
Cold weather doesn't always follow the global latitudes. There are parts of Alaska that are actually warmer than I am in Minnesota, USA, even though I am a thousand miles farther south. Zone 5 winters have lows of -26 to -29°C, but even though it may never get that cold anywhere in South Africa, often plant species retain cold hardiness inherited from their ancient past, when the cold hardiness was needed.

Anyway, I realize a lot of the species I mentions are pretty uncommon. Just keep an eye out, and maybe think of me.
When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers. - Socrates
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