Hello friends ! I am new here, this is my first post and wishing to go beyond my ignorance ! Can some kind soul please tell me how to grow Acer seeds ? When do you collect them, when do you plant/propogate them, what treatment/timescale or other significant detail should I be aware of ?
First we need to know what kind of Maple seeds
such as Japanese Maples, Norway Maples, Silver
Maples and so on you wish to germinate?
There are some differences in how we may want to
plant the seeds depending on which type of Maple
we are dealing with.
Each person has their own game plan for collecting
seeds, storing the seeds, planting the seeds and then
monitoring the germinating seeds. I will tell you
how I have done it, which may differ from how
others might do things.
We have two options right off the start, do we
plant the seeds as soon as we collect them or do
we store the seeds for future planting? Due to
my location I can pluck the Japanese Maple seeds
right off the tree in late Spring and plant them
directly in a wooden planter box about 4" deep.
I will use a pencil, eraser end, to make my hole
for seed placement and only go down about 1/4"
in depth and cover over the seed. With winged
seeds I leave the wings on. The soil mix that
I use is 3/8 Forest Humus,1/8 Peat Moss, 1/4
coarse sand, 1/8 Vermiculite or Perlite or a
combination of both and 1/8 fine silt. I keep
my soil medium moist, never super wet.
Over the course of a year there may be some
germination and of those plants that have
germinated I will transplant them, when I
feel they are ready into a pot such as a 2"
"peat" pot and then take care of each seedling
individually until each seedling establishes
enough of a root system to be placed later
in a 4" or larger plastic pot.
For storage of my Trident Maple seeds that I
harvest around in late July or August, depending
on the tree, I will over winter those seeds by
placing them in a sealed plastic sandwich baggie
filled with moist, not wet, Peat Moss and place
the seeds in the baggie making sure that the seeds
are completely enveloped by the Peat Moss. I
make a furrow in the middle of Peat Moss, place
the seeds in the furrow and then cover over the
seeds with the Peat Moss and then refrigerate
them in the Butter compartment of my refrigerator.
I will leave them in there until the Spring when I
want to plant them but I will check the baggie
about every 10 days to 2 weeks or so after a month
has gone by to see if any of the seeds have indeed
germinated. If they have germinated I will
carefully place them in a 2" pot if necessary and
grow them on indoors if need be. A greenhouse
grower may chime in from here and tell you how
he or she does things once the seeds germinate.
Others in this forum may do things different and
that is okay. One thing to remember is that some
Maple seeds can take as long as 6 years to germinate.
Most seeds germinate within the first 2 years from
I use no fertilizer or liquid additives at all for the
seeds and the young seedlings. I want root system
so I am extra cautious of protecting the roots.
There are advantages both ways of planting now or
storing and planting later. I like to get the Japanese
and Full Moon Maple seeds in the ground quick
if I can, as I have ample length of growing season
to work with should the seeds germinate. Most but
not all Maple seeds will germinate faster upon being
stratified, being placed in the refrigerator, for a time
period. The seed germination process comes down
to, when do you want your seeds to be planted, what
weather you will or might have when the seeds start
to germinate, are you going to grow the seedlings
outdoors, indoors under lights or in a greenhouse.
I can only say this for myself but I expect to have at
best a 10-15% germination percentage if I plant the
seeds directly into the my planter. I can increase the
germination percentage by stratification to around
25-30% if I do not mind waiting a few months later
to plant the seeds.
My method for Japanese Maple hybrids is very simple: I collect the seeds when brown, in October or November here in the UK. They lie flat on the surface of a seed tray filled with ordinary seed/cutting compost. A thin layer of fine chipped bark is added on top. The tray is covered with agricultural fleece which is just fastened with string or a rubber band. I use small pieces of cut bamboo to lift the fleece slightly and stop it from lying actually on the seeds. The fleece just gives a little protection from frost and wind, for the ones that germinate early. The tray is left outside all winter. I take the fleece off in March or April and there are loads of maple seedlings an inch or so high.
A variation of this method is to fill a plug tray as above and lie the seeds on it. Then the seedlings grow in plugs ready for potting on. The only problem with this is that you can sometimes get two or three seedlings in one plug, but overall the disruption to the roots at potting on is reduced.
I just got tired of stratification in the fridge... I had a low success rate with it, lots of problems with mould, and lots that just didn't germinate, for whatever reason. Keeping them outside actually seems to have a higher success rate. I don't know what the germination percentage is, but since I collect the seed from my own Japanese maples, I am not too bothered - I probably got about 60 seedlings this year, which is far too many for me. I guess I probably collected in the region of 200 seeds to start with.
Obviously using this method the Acers will not come true - especially as I have three different types that are old enough to cross pollinate - but it is fun to see the resulting variety. Some of them are big-lobed like the common Acer Palmatum, but some are very much towards the dissectum end of the spectrum.
Can do a photo of the results if anyone is interested.
Thank You for let discover to me this fantastic forum!
I've some maples like yours, but I can see their leaf are not regular. They will become better in the future?
How many leaf can have a maple for to bear a transplant?
( Ciao, se vedemo!)
Milli .... I have found that it is better to allow a new maple to grow strong before planting on into a larger pot
They do not seem to like being moved on too much, and certainly each new pot should be just a couple of sizes bigger than the last
Patience is the answer here I think ..... I don't judge it by the number of leaves ... I just feel it when the time is right
All Japanese maples take a few years to settle down to what will turn out to be their finished state
Good luck with your plants