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Bonsai Cultivation Tips

About Basic Care of Seeds
It is important to maintain the freshness of the seeds in order to facilitate proper germination. This is why you should store all your seeds in a refrigerator in order to preserve their freshness until you are ready to begin the germination process. Seeds can be stored in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator in the plastic bag we have provided.


About Germination Instructions
Once you are ready to germinate your seeds, you have two germination methods: Natural germination or Forced germination.

Natural germination: Sow seeds outside in autumn. Over wintering the seeds will accomplish all the necessary natural processes seeds require to germinate. Next spring, you should have sprouted seeds.

Forced germination: you are accomplishing the germination process artificially. Therefore, you will need to follow the steps listed below. Each seed is different; however most of them require three steps. Some may require more while others may require less.

These steps are:

1. Scarification

2. Stratification

3. Sowing

Scarification
Each seed has a shell around the live inner part. Some are harder than others. The goal of the scarification process is to soften the shell and allow water to reach the inner part of the seed. You will scarify the seeds by placing them in water, usually a glass or a bowl, for a period of 24 to 48 hours. Use warm water preferably from a recently boiled kettle. Viable seeds will sink after 24 hours while others will float on top. If there are still seeds floating after 48 hours you can discard them as they are empty seeds. Once completed, you are ready to begin the next step (Note: some seeds require you to proceed directly to the third step).

Cold Stratification
The next step is the cold stratification period. This step is where the seeds spend a period under colder temperature permitting the chemical in the seeds to develop and trigger the germination process. Fold a piece of paper towel in two and moisten with water. It should not be dripping wet but moist. Place your seeds on the moist paper towel and fold it over the seeds. Place the paper towel with the seeds in a plastic bag and store them in your refrigerator for a period varying from 30 to 120 days depending on the variety of seed. We suggest that you check your seeds every 30 days in order to prevent rot and allow for proper air circulation. You should also check for germinated seeds. If this is the case, take the germinated seeds and proceed to the next step.


Sowing
Sowing can be accomplished in the ground or in a pot. We recommend a rich, moist medium of sand / coir / vermiculite. Make a small opening in the soil (approximately 1cm deep), place the seed in the opening and cover it with a few millimetres of soil. Keep the soil moist.


Extra step (false autumn)
If you choose to germinate your seeds via the forced germination process, you may be required to follow this extra step if the seeds have been stored for a long period. This step takes place prior to the cold stratification. All you have to do is expose the seeds to ambient room temperature for 30 to 90 days. This is called heat stratification and is accomplished by leaving the seeds exposed on a plate or bowl but NOT in full sunlight. After you have achieved this step, you resume with cold stratification.

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