Abrianna
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New to Bonsai: Winter Confusions?! Sow CherryTree from seeds

So, I've read that bonsais become dormant in winter, but what I can't find anywhere is this:
Is it okay to plant bonsai seeds in the winter?
I know this may sound silly, but are the seeds themselves dormant? And can a bonsai tree grow in late winter, or are my seeds now doomed to die? I was given a kit as a birthday gift today and in my excitement planted the seeds already. I followed the instructions carefully, but I'm now worried that I shouldn't have planted them in the winter, should I have waited till spring? Please someone help shine some light on this situation for me and what I can expect from this situation. Thank you!

evtubbergh
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Re: New to Bonsai: Winter Confusions?!

Don't worry, they will be fine. Most likely they won't germinate until it is warmer but it depends where you keep them. If you keep them inside in a warm place they may germinate before winter is over, in which case you will need to keep them warm but provide light when they are big enough. Since your winter is almost over (is it not?) you might be fine.

Deciduous trees (and therefore the same type of bonsai) do go dormant in winter. Seeds go dormant for various reasons; no water, they need to pass through the gut of an animal, they need fire and of course temperature so a seed would generally germinate in spring so the young seedling does not get killed by frost.

So actually people in this forum have been starting their seeds for vegetables indoors now so that at the start of spring they are big enough to go straight outside.

What type of seeds are they? Don't they need cold stratification?

tomc
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Re: New to Bonsai: Winter Confusions?!

Most non tropical tree seed needs a winters slumber in soil, moist and cool-cold. Its called cold stratification. Most tropical tree seeds don't need the cold but will need some cycles of weather to work out seed inhibitors in order to grow when its best for that kinda tree. (going into rainy season etc).

You haven't said what kind of tree seeds you have or where you are growing so its hard to be more specific.

I planted crab apple, persimmon, osage orange, this fall in Ohio and they have slept outdoors in the cold and snow since the fall.

Seeds are tough, tree seeds are meant to live outdoors. As are tree babies. :)
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Abrianna
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Re: New to Bonsai: Winter Confusions?!

The seeds I have are cherry blossom seeds, and I live in New Hampshire, meaning lots of snow in the winter. And yes, winter is ending and it's been getting warmer. Thank you for the tips! I'm not sure whether cherry blossoms are a type of tree that need the cold for that period of time like you said, because it was never mentioned in the instructions that came with my kit.

tomc
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Re: New to Bonsai: Winter Confusions?!

Abrianna wrote:The seeds I have are cherry blossom seeds, and I live in New Hampshire, meaning lots of snow in the winter. And yes, winter is ending and it's been getting warmer. Thank you for the tips! I'm not sure whether cherry blossoms are a type of tree that need the cold for that period of time like you said, because it was never mentioned in the instructions that came with my kit.
Prunus (the almond, cherry, plum peach) family do better with cold stratification. I lived in the lakes and monadnock areas from 1972- 2010.
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applestar
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Re: New to Bonsai: Winter Confusions?! Sow CherryTree from s

I'm REALLY curious what kind of instructions came with this kit.

For hardy trees that need cold stratification, I sow in well draining mix in 1/2 gal nursery container (or beverage carton with drainage holes) and put outside in semi-sheltered location in fall or mid-winter. One year, squirrels dug up every pot so now I cover with something (usually a piece of chicken wire type fencing).

I've also "planted" the seeds directly in the ground in the fall, but have had mixed success due to tags getting lost, multiple "seedlings" coming up in the same general area with no way to know which one is the intended one if I don't know how to ID the seedling, etc. :oops:
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tomc
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Re: New to Bonsai: Winter Confusions?! Sow CherryTree from s

I'm scratching my head. I don't *think* I've ever seen barbados cherry seed offered as part of a bonsai kit. Which the only "cherry" I might not want to cold stratify.

Most of the kits I've seen had a pine and maybe a spruce as seed...

More *Scratching head*. Shrugs shoulders...
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evtubbergh
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Re: New to Bonsai: Winter Confusions?! Sow CherryTree from s

You really need to cold stratify your seeds. Put the seeds in a ziplock bag in moist soil in the fridge for 3 months. Or put the whole pot. I have a feeling it's too late to put them outside for that long. Has anyone had success with a shorter period of cold? I'd love to know.

I hope your kit came with more than one seed. If it came with only one I would google cold stratification until you know exactly what to do to give it the best chance possible.

Then plant it out in a warm area in the pot with the same soil. All the soil you use must drain properly and not hold too much water. You should bottom water the pot once the seed is in in order not to wash the seed out. To do that you place a tray underneath the pot and water into that. The soil will absorb the moisture.

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