Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun May 22, 2011 12:08 pm
Location: upstate new york

Trying to germinate Eastern Redbud tree seeds....Any ideas?

I am in love with these trees and I have been trying to germinate some since March. I have germinated many tree seeds with great success but these lil' fellows are giving me a run for my money! I researched the process and have tried several ways at the same time. Each way in different pots. The pods were collected from the ground immediately after falling off the tree & some taking from the tree. So far I tried the old fashioned wet paper towel in a sandwich bag ( scaring and not scaring; just planting directly in soil (scaring with sandpaper; scaring with razor-blade), a water soak @ 190* with & without scarification; boiling for 1 minute with & without scarification and lastly a chemical soak in Sulfuric acid also with & without scarification. Not a baby head showing anywhere! How long do they take to germinate? What am I doing wrong? I am a nut with planting from seed but it seems I may have to purchase a seedling (I really don't want to!). Please Oh Mighty Genius Gardeners....please come to the rescue and help this poor person trying to learn from the best!

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1436
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:07 pm
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Maybe these might help?


Question. If you have ready access to these trees, why not try cuttings or air layering?

Green Thumb
Posts: 469
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 1:15 pm
Location: NJ

never knew it is so difficult to germinate. I have one at home and seedlings just come up by themselves starting in April through summer. It gets alot of fruit that looks like peas. I cut them out to dispose them before they drop to the ground. The ones that do drop sprout by themselves after winter.

User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A


You have not mentioned any stratification. Dirr & Heuser notes that fall plantings, following the soak, result in good germination. If you are going to try that this year you should probably collect new seed in the fall rather than use old ones.

I tried these once with no germination either. Since you seem to have access to a parent tree try to locate seedlings, I have seen them under mine, which, by the way, was a transplant from a naturally germinated seedling.


User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Yeah, I was going to suggest what gnome did. I have a redbud tree and I have baby seedlings popping up every where, like weeds. Just find a redbud tree and look around it and you should have plenty of seedlings to choose from. And I'm sure the owners wouldn't begrudge you taking a few!

Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun May 22, 2011 12:08 pm
Location: upstate new york

Thanks for your answers everyone. I didn't try the stratification because I figured the seeds did it naturally. The seeds were picked from ground and tree in March so I thought I could skip that since they did their 6 months of warm & 3 of cold naturally. I guess I should have tried anyway.

The tree they were gathered from was in front of the store my son works at. The trees are surrounded by concrete so even if the seeds fell there is no place for them to grow. The trees are in a very busy business area covered in concrete and macadam.

I'll keep trying. Thanks so much!

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”