How to Grow
Flowering Dogwood Trees From Seed
by Michael McGroarty
Dogwood trees can be easily grown from seed, however 99.9999% of the
seedlings that sprout will be Cornus Florida, which is White
Flowering Dogwood. It doesn't matter if you collect the seeds from a
White Dogwood or a Pink Dogwood, the seedlings are likely to be white.
predictable way to grow a Pink Dogwood, Red Dogwood, or one of the
beautiful Dogwoods with variegated leaves, is to bud or graft the
desired variety onto a White Dogwood seedling. Learn more about the budding
begin producing seeds right after the petals drop from the flowers.
It's a slow process that takes all summer. By late summer the seeds
begin to turn red, which means they are just about mature. Don't pick
them too early or the embryo will not be fully developed and they
will not be viable. When the seeds are fully developed they will
begin to fall from the tree, and at that time you can begin to pick them.
Ripe seeds can be
removed easily. If they don't pop right off when you grab them, they
are not quite ready, give them another week or two. Don't let them
fall to the ground, the chipmunks, birds and other critters love
them, and usually eat them as fast as they fall.
Once picked, let
them sit for a week or so, until the pulp begins to soften. At that
time soak them in a pail of water to further soften the pulp. While
still in the pail of water squeeze the seeds between your fingers to
separate the seeds from the pulp. Once they are separated slowly add
water to the pail until it overflows, allowing the water to flow over
the edge of the pail slowly.
The viable seeds
should sink to the bottom of the pail, while the pulp should float to
the top. Allow the pulp to float out of the pail until you have
nothing but clean seeds lying on the bottom of the pail. Drain the
water and spread the seeds out on a table to dry. Once dry the seeds
can be stored in a cool dry place. They will keep this way for some time.
seeds have a very hard outer coating on the seed, they need to be
pretreated or stratified before they will germinate. This process
softens the outer coating so that water and oxygen can enter,
initiating the germination process. There are several ways to
stratify Dogwood seeds, from treating them with acid to storing them
in the refrigerator. I will share a couple of techniques that I think
will work the best for someone with little experience.
requires that you decide what day next spring you would like to plant
the seeds and then counting backwards on your calendar for 210 days
to start the stratification process. Here in the north May 15 is a
good target date for planting because by then we should be safe from
frost. You don't want Mother Nature to do them in before they even
have a chance.
Two hundred and
ten days from May 15 would put you around October 15 to start the
stratification process. To stratify the seeds using this technique
simply place them in a plastic bag with some moist (not wet!) peat
moss, or a mixture of moist peat and sand. Poke some holes in the
bag, you don't want it air tight. Store them in this mixture at room
temperature for a period of 105 days.
After 105 days
move them to your refrigerator for another 105 days. Don't put them
way in the back where they might freeze. You want them cool, but not
frozen. After 105 days of storage in the refrigerator they should be
ready to plant outside. Just time it so that you get them outside
just after the danger of frost has past.
While the seeds
are being stored check them weekly, if you have fungus growing in the
bag sprinkle a little fungicide in. Near the end of the storage
period you should be checking for germination, as soon as 10% of the
seeds have germinated they should be planted out. If it's too early,
plant them in a flat indoors, just make sure they get plenty of sunlight.
To plant them
simply sprinkle the entire contents of the bag on top of the soil and
spread it out. Sprinkle some light soil over top. Do not plant the
seeds too deep. ¼" of soil over top is all you want. Water
them thoroughly after planting, then allow the soil to dry out before
watering again. Make sure you plant them in an area that drains well,
you don't want them in soggy soil or they will rot.
technique. Another technique is to nick each seed in a couple of
different places with a knife right after the seeds are cleaned, and
plant them out immediately in the fall. Cover the seed bed with a
piece of screen so the critters don't dig them up and eat them.
I don't know.
There are so many variables that can change the outcome that I have
not seen where one works better than the other. I suggest you do some
each way and see what works best for you. I like getting them planted
right away in the fall and putting Mother Nature in charge, but it's
disappointing if something happens and you have a poor stand, that's
why it's always nice to try some both ways.
You can also grow
Chinese Dogwood (Cornus Kousa) from seed. Chinese Dogwood is very
popular because it flowers much later than most other ornamentals.
Late June is
usually when they are in bloom, and the flowers are cream colored
against dark green foliage. It makes the flowers look mint green in
color. Just use the same techniques as above.
About The Author
McGroarty is the owner of FreePlants.com. Visit his site and sign up
for his excellent gardening newsletter. He can be reached by email at email@example.com