Elderberry, Red (Sambucus racemosa) - 50 seeds
•American grown seeds
•USDA Zone: 3-7
OUTDOORS: By far the easiest method is to direct sow outdoors in the fall and let Mother Nature do it's thing over the winter to break the dormancy. Sow at 1/4" depth, 10 feet apart, and 3-4 seeds per plant. Keep moist, but not wet.
INDOORS: Starting inside, elderberry is a long term, multiple stage process that needs BOTH scarification (soaking) and stratification (warm/cold treatment) to break the dormancy. Basically, we're trying to replicate what occurs naturally in nature. It's a long process, but one that we find is extremely rewarding. Elderberry is finicky and it’s such a gratifying feeling when you first see seedlings pop up. Germination rates vary wildly depending on technique from 5% with no seed prep to this technique which achieves roughly a 73% germination rate which is quite high for Elderberry. We highly recommend it.
STAGE 1 - SCARIFICATION: The fastest method is to soak the seeds in sulfuric acid for 10 mins and then thoroughly rinse. The seeds are then ready for Stage 2. The slower, but safer and easier method is to soak the seeds in HOT (175F) water for 10 minutes, allow to cool and continue to soak at room temperature for 24 hours.
STAGE 2 - WARM STRATIFICATION: After the soaking (scarification), the seeds will need a warm period. Place the seeds into a plastic bag with moist peat moss and place it into a warmer area of roughly 72-75° for 60 days occasionally checking to ensure the moss remains damp.
STAGE 3 - COLD STRATIFICATION: After the warm stratification, we will move to a cold period to break the dormancy. Place the damp peat moss seed bag into the refrigerator for 60 days occasionally checking to make sure moss remains damp.
STAGE 4 - FINALLY READY TO SOW: After that process (I know it's long), sow seeds at 3-4 seeds per pot at 1/4" depth with pH 5.2 to 5.14 mix and put pots in a warm, sunny area. Water regularly to ensure the soil is moist, but not wet. Allow 45 days to germinate.
STAGE 5 - TRANSPLANT: The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.
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