Full Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:29 am
Location: Northern MN

Japanese Maple Tree seeds. How to germinate

I got some Japanese maple, acer palmatum seeds off ebay for 4 bucks. I am wondering how do I get them to grow?

It said to put them in water for 24 hours. So I am doing that. So if they maybe sink to the bottom then are they ready? Then stick them in a plastic bag with some dirt and put them in the fridge? Is this how I get them to grow. Iv done some reading and everyone on the internet has a different opinion. I don't want to goof this up. Its only 4 bucks but if it doesn't work I wont try it again.

Anyone know? Or had any success? They look like those little helicopters that fall off the trees in the fall.

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


I've had very spotty results when trying to germinate Japanese Maples seeds that I have purchased. I believe the problem lies in how they are treated before they are shipped out rather than how they are handled afterward. It seems that once they are allowed to dry out they are very reluctant to germinate. They only time I have had any consistency is when I have collected and stored my own. I collect them in the fall and store them cold and barely damp all winter, never allowing them to dry out.

You basically have the technique outlined, soak then stratify for 90-120 days. Here's the problem though, three months from now it will be the middle of June and getting a little late in the season to start them. They have to put on a certain amount of growth before the weather turns cold and that time-line may be pushing it.


User avatar
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1855
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:40 pm
Location: N. California

around here we just have an outdoor sand bed. the seeds are mass planted in the fall just as they ripen(wings are brown but seed is still original color) they are sheltered with a covering sort of like a cold frame, but its vented to stay cold. in the spring most of them come up, some more or less depending on the tree/cultivar. they are left to grow for a season and then transplanted when dormant the next season. from there they are either to be grafted on or left to grow.

Return to “Seed Starting Discussions”