Stratification of seeds at home: why and how to carry out


How can seeds be stratified? I'm afraid to freeze them, but I got it with difficulty. Tell me, what is needed for this?


Specialist response

Good day!

Some gardeners often experience in their practice that the seeds that they sowed in the current season do not germinate after the expected time. This applies to both vegetable crops and flower. The problem does not bypass the attempt to grow such plants on our own, which we prefer to buy "ready" in garden centers, for example, juniper, lingonberry. Why is this happening? The fact is that the seeds of some plants, mainly originating from the temperate climatic zone, need to be given a signal for germination by creating storage conditions that would mimic the natural temperature and humidity of the environment during changing seasons. Similar ones can be created using stratification of seeds at home.

What is seed stratification?

So what is stratification? This is a procedure for preparing seeds for future germination with imitation of the natural environment or region of cultivation. For subtropic plants, this is an alternation of cold and heat; for specimens of a temperate climatic zone, a pronounced period of rest in cold conditions is important, followed by a transition to heat.

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To stratify the seeds of some plants, they are specially sprinkled with thawed snow.

Having fallen from the mother plant to the ground, the seed does not germinate immediately. So conceived by nature: if it had sprouted at the end of summer immediately, once in the ground, in winter the seedling would have died from the cold. They must go through a certain stage of development, being at rest in the soil itself or on the surface of the soil, under the snow. So that the seeds that started to germinate do not die during the harsh period of cooling, frost and thaw, there are special substances inside them that prevent the germination of the seed, which is in natural rest.

How to spend it at home correctly

And then what is needed for the seeds to wake up and start growing? For this, it is necessary that a certain amount of time has passed in those conditions, albeit artificially created, in which they are usually found in nature. In addition, plant embryos need moisture. In a humid environment, the hard seed coat softens, nutrients begin to be absorbed.

The stratification procedure is required for most woody plants and cold-resistant perennials originating from the temperate climatic zone. Their seeds germinate better at soil temperatures up to 25 degrees and in most cases require a single pre-cooling.

Step-by-step instructions on the example of clematis

After emergence of clematis sprouts, they need to provide a sufficient amount of light

Let's take a look at the stratification procedure as an example of such a popular culture as clematis, which everyone loved so much for the ability to fill the garden with elegant and bright flowering volumes.

  1. For sowing clematis seeds, we need a low container (up to 10 cm), at the bottom of which we need to make drainage holes. Soil can be prepared from equal parts of sand, compost and garden soil. It should be light and moderately nutritious.
  2. Pour the substrate into the container, flatten, and surface the seeds in the soil. It must be added that for these purposes it is better to take freshly harvested seed material, which will ensure guaranteed germination.
  3. During the entire period of preparation of seeds for germination, the soil in the container should be moderately moist (not over-dried, but not too wet).
  4. Wrap the container in a bag, and it is better to cover it with glass or film.
  5. Then you need to find a warm place with a dim light, where we will send our future seedlings for a week. This will be a warm period of stratification, after which the passage of the cold period begins.
  6. To do this, take the container to the refrigerator and leave it there for a period of 1 to 2 months.
  7. At the end of this period, the final stage of stratification begins: we send our tank with crops to a warm, bright place with a temperature of about 20 degrees and wait for the emergence of seedlings.
  8. After the seeds of clematis sprout, they will need to be cut into separate pots in the phase of 1-2 true leaves and gradually accustomed to bright light. Do not forget to water and feed. Plants will bloom in the second or third year after sowing.

Video Expert Experience

As you can see, stratification is not so difficult. The main thing is to know which plants need it and the seeds of which crops can do without it. As a rule, information about this can be found on the seed packaging or in the reference literature, which will indicate the timing and temperature regime for each particular plant species.


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