Seed Treatment

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C And D
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Seed Treatment

Post by C And D »

Many types of seeds will not germinate with normal sowing techniques. I’ve heard of treatments but was never provided specifics on what should be used, partly due to the propriety secrets of commercial growers.
As far as treatments go, the question is; why do the seeds need treatment?
The answer is; they are naturally treated in habitat by some mechanism.
Obviously the most common natural treatment is the digestion of the fruit by some organism, and the subsequent elimination of seeds. There is also seed abrasion by wind or water aided travel.
To mimic the digestion of the fruit, the seeds need to be treated with hydrochloric acid at a similar strength as the stomach of the animal that eats the seeds.
After some experimentation, I found that HCl caps can be used as safe way to treat seeds, rather than using high strength hydrochloric acid which I cannot recommend.

Instructions
Empty 1 HCl cap into ~½ cup (4 ounces) of water, add seeds. The HCl cap won’t dissolve completely, but keep mixing it. The seeds may sink when done, or just crack their waxy coating. After 15-60 minutes, strain the seeds out, rinse well with fresh water, then dry them as fast as possible. I spread them on a paper towel, pat them down, and then change towels in a while. If they are left too moist, they may germinate!
Last edited by C And D on Sun Nov 17, 2019 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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mmcavall
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Re: Seed Treatment

Post by mmcavall »

C And D wrote: Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:17 pm
Instructions
Mix 1 HCl cap into ~½ cup (4 ounces) of water, add seeds. The HCl cap won’t dissolve completely, but keep mixing it. The seeds may sink when done, or just crack their waxy coating. After 15-60 minutes, strain the seeds out, rinse well with fresh water, then dry them as fast as possible. I spread them on a paper towel, pat them down, and then change towels in a while. If they are left too moist, they may germinate!
Hello, Craig/Denise,
I’ve found this information very useful.
Recently I tried germinating a number of seeds of Tephrocactus and Tunila species, without success. After proceeding cold stratification, only 2 seeds of about 50 germinated. So I would like to try your method.
I would like to ask you what are the exact HCl caps’ specifications , since they may be found in different concentrations (considering also we are in different countries). So if you could provide the name/concentration of the product you used, it would be important.
Just another question: after rinsing the seeds can I sow them immediately? Or do I need to dry them? It is advisable to perform cold stratification after your procedure, or just sow them directly as we do with the usual bag method?
Thank you very much for sharing!
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C And D
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Re: Seed Treatment

Post by C And D »

I wrote this post with the intention of using it as instructions for the HCl caps I sell.

But of course, this doesn't work well here on a public forum, with folks all around the world that would like more info, which is an admirable desire.
So if you want to find a source, you can find them at Specialty Vitamin Shops or on the web and are used to aid human digestion.

The product contains Hydrochloric Acid and an enzyme called Pepsin, both of which are naturally produced in the stomach to aid digestion. Pepsin, a protein digesting enzyme derived from porcine, is known to have an off odor when exposed to heat and moisture. This is not an indication of spoilage.[/quote]
Last edited by C And D on Sat Nov 16, 2019 11:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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C And D
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Re: Seed Treatment

Post by C And D »

Just another question: after rinsing the seeds can I sow them immediately? Or do I need to dry them? It is advisable to perform cold stratification after your procedure, or just sow them directly as we do with the usual bag method?
I see no need to dry the seeds first if you are going to sow them immediately.
I have never experimented with cold stratification, so I cannot advise on this subject.

I've seen multiple articles on seed abrasion on cold habitat species, where the seeds need a portion of the seed coat cut off, are sanded off. With this in mind, it seems that the seed coat on these types of seeds is very tough. The cold stratification process probably aides in cracking the tough coat as well. Whereas, the HCl treatment dissolves the outside of seed coat to an extent that water can penetrate the seed to the start germination process.
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mmcavall
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Re: Seed Treatment

Post by mmcavall »

Ok! Thank you very much for all information!
I will try it.
keith
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Re: Seed Treatment

Post by keith »

That's clever. I do remember seeing this product in a health food store long time ago for people with low stomach acid.

My guess this is for big cactus seeds.
esp_imaging
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Re: Seed Treatment

Post by esp_imaging »

C And D wrote: Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:17 pm To mimic the digestion of the fruit, the seeds need to be treated with hydrochloric acid at a similar strength as the stomach of the animal that eats the seeds.
After some experimentation, I found that HCl caps can be used as safe way to treat seeds, rather than using high strength hydrochloric acid which I cannot recommend.
This does looks like interesting, thanks for sharing the details.
It obviously seems worth a go for tricky to germinate Opuntiods with fleshy fruits - Tephrocactus, Cumulopuntia etc. Have you tried it on other hard to sprout succulent species? Cyphostemma springs to mind..
Also, I often get zero germination on "normal" cactus seeds, for no apparent reason, when other species sown in the same conditions germinate well. Is it worth a go in these cases? Trichocereus springs to mind as a posssible candidate, I've had rubbish germination for several species from various sources this year.
mmcavall wrote: Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:01 pm
Recently I tried germinating a number of seeds of Tephrocactus and Tunila species, without success. After proceeding cold stratification, only 2 seeds of about 50 germinated. So I would like to try your method.
Have you tried this yet? Or anyone else on the forum? it would be great to hear any other experiences before I give it a go.
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mmcavall
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Re: Seed Treatment

Post by mmcavall »

esp_imaging wrote: Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:33 pm
Have you tried this yet? Or anyone else on the forum? it would be great to hear any other experiences before I give it a go.
No, but I'm planning to try. I've found some difficult to find the same caps here and I finally did, this week, but it is a bit expensive for me (I could buy several plants or seeds instead), so I did'nt take any decision for the moment.

Also, I have easy access to other acid products so I am thinking of using something cheaper, but I'm unsure about concentrations and times...

I'll be back in the near future to share my experience.
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tumamoc
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Re: Seed Treatment

Post by tumamoc »

I imagine this is easier than waiting for a tortoise to poop the seeds out, then retrieving them.
Bosenoge
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Re: Seed Treatment

Post by Bosenoge »

I tried on a Tephrocactus geometrizans seeds which are standing in the propagator from January, but no results yet. I have a batch of other Tephro and Opuntia seeds waiting to be sawn, so Ill give it another try. If anyone is interested, i bought these caps:https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B0158U ... UTF8&psc=1 . Its the same composition as the brand recomended.
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tumamoc
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Re: Seed Treatment

Post by tumamoc »

C And D wrote: Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:17 pm Mix 1 HCl cap into ~½ cup (4 ounces) of water, add seeds. The HCl cap won’t dissolve completely, but keep mixing it. The seeds may sink when done, or just crack their waxy coating. After 15-60 minutes, strain the seeds out, rinse well with fresh water, then dry them as fast as possible. I spread them on a paper towel, pat them down, and then change towels in a while. If they are left too moist, they may germinate!
So you drop the capsule in the water, stir, and it (partially) dissolves? I tried the product, but I opened the capsule and poured in the contents instead. However, the material--maltodextrin, maybe?--just floated on the top of the water and didn't seem to mix in at all. I'm not sure if my seeds got any of the HCl. Next time, I might try putting it into a plastic water bottle with a screw on cap and just agitating it.
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C And D
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Re: Seed Treatment

Post by C And D »

To address the above questions:

The instructions should say "open the capsule and empty contents into the water."

The white powder does not dissolve much, it floats on the top and is quite hydrophobic (repels water), but I tested the pH of the water and it is between 1 and 2, which is quite acidic.

You can put it in a bottle and shake vigorously.

Recently, I had a couple large Epiphyllum fruits, and after straining out the pulp in a water solution, I noticed that the seeds had a jelly like coating that was very durable. I soaked them for 30-minutes with one cap and the jelly broke down and after drying the seeds they were free from the barrier.

It reminded me of the other times that the HCl caps worked, it seems to be required for plants that produce large fruits with nutritional pulp.
Aloe plicatilis, Cyphostemma, Cleistocactus, Epiphyllum, tropical cacti, etc...

and not needed for dry fruits that break open on their own and distribute seeds without animal digestion.

You can use any form of Hydrochloric acid for this treatment, but if you not a chemist, you need to worry about getting the right concentration w/o dissolving the seeds completely.
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Craig and Denise Fry
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