Seeds, we know, are best planted in Spring. But when is Spring? In northern climes, it’s the season in which snow is replaced by rain. In the San Francisco Bay Area, it means highs of 64 degrees farenheit versus winter highs of 58 F. As is often the case in bonsai, specific dates for seasonal work depend heavily on the local climate.
The temperate Bay Area climate offers significant flexibility. After a couple of warm weeks in February, I decided it was a good time to plant the Japanese black pine seeds I’d collected last fall (See Pine cone technique and More pine cone technique).
About 75 Japanese black pine seeds
Before prepping the pot and planting the seeds, I began by soaking them in a glass of water.
I had the idea in my head that I should soak the seeds for 24 hours before planting. The idea is to “wake the seeds up” and cull any remaining duds from the bunch (floaters, in most cases, are sterile). I’d done the same on several occasions before, but never more than half of the seeds sank after a day in the water. This year, I let the seeds float around for a full three days before planting them. Each day a few more sank until nearly all had made it to the bottom.
I began soaking the seeds on a relatively “warm” day (63 F) but then rain came (55 F!) and it’s been relatively cool ever since. Normally the seeds sprout after a two weeks of lukewarm weather, but after several cool weeks, I have yet to see a peep out of them. Unless they’re all duds, I’m optimistic they’ll pop after the next warm week.
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