Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Letter about Planting Seabuckthorn Seeds

Root Nodules on seedling plant started last February.

Just today I answered an email about planting some Seabuckthorn seeds someone had purchased.  Much of the information is contained in this blog, but I thought repeating the my emailed answer might be helpful. and a timely addition now.

Glad the seeds arrived in good condition.  Soaking is not necessary.  There have been a number of studies documenting the effects of soaking and the results are germination speed is only a day or two quicker.  Not really worth the extra step, but it is an option.  If chosen, I recommend a 24 hour soak. 
Sow the seeds in a soil-less sterile mixture of vermiculite and peat moss. (ordinary bagged seed starting soil) at a depth of @ 1/2 cm.  They should emerge in about 10 days.  Normal care should be taken as you would any seedlings started indoors.
Since the number of seeds ordered are many and I don't know what facilities are at your  disposal, I will expand a bit with more technical information for the professional.

These stratified Seabuckthorn seeds can be seeded indoors in pots in January or early February in vermiculite/peat moss mixture (40:60).  The containers are placed in a greenhouse with a 16 hour photo-period at a temperature range between 25-27C and a 70-90% relative humidity.  
Germination will occur in @10 days. 
Immediately following germination and prior to the formation of true leaves, an application of fungicide may be necessary to control seedling damping-off.
Maximum growth may be obtained by using bright full-spectrum fluorescent or hi-pressure sodium lighting.  A soluble starter fertilizer (10-52-10 N_P_K) should be applied with each irrigation for the first 3 weeks following planting.  
After this, a complete soluble fertilizer (20-20-20, N_P_K) is applied in the same manner.  
A moderate amount of air circulation is recommended.  Seedlings should be acclimated (hardened off)before transplanting in the spring.
One seedling per pot should be allowed to grow for 3 months before transplantation to the field in early May. In light sandy soil the root is buried 6-8 cm deep to encourage the development of another tier of roots and the new seedlings should be watered as required.  
High density planting in the field can be 1M x 1M.  More commonly the rows are planted with plants 1M apart and 4M between rows.

I know that's a lot of information.  For the person with a green thumb, there are some good suggestions.  Not to worry though if all the details are not followed exactly.  As with any young plant (or animal for that matter), infancy is a time in which care should be taken and neglect carefully avoided.

I look forward to hearing how they do.  Please let me know.
All the Best - Tom 


  1. Good luck.
    I'm from Portugal trying to do this...

    1. Thanks, and good luck to you. Keep us updated how it goes.

  2. Can I plant seaberry seeds indoors in New England in the autumn?

  3. Hello Justin, OUTDOOR PLANTING
    Direct-seeding outdoors is best done in the spring. Fall direct seeding is reported in China but I cannot find any details about their process. I tried last year in Maine and the seedlings did surprisingly well. Even very small ones tolerated temperatures from summer-like to early snowfalls. They survived the winter and early spring but then died. Now that was an experiment and they were not cared for during that time. (the Maine location is 6 miles from the nearest paved road and the only access during winter and spring is snowmobile or ATV respectively. Could they had done better? Maybe. I am trying a similar experiment this year at my primary residence in Massachusetts. Time will tell if I have better results.
    For the Spring.....
    Seeds can planted at the soil surface and kept misted or lightly covered with soil to make the moisture less dependent on daily care.
    Seeds should start to germinate within 5-10 days. A good number of seeds per planting site is recommended at spacing of 1 m. within the row and 4 m. between the rows.

  4. Nasa

    Hello all,

    I'm interesting seabucktorn small facility. All i want to do is produce final products from seabucktorn.
    let me tell, where should i contact?

    1. Aaliii, You are welcome to contact me through my profile at the bottom of the page.

  5. Hello!
    thank you for all of the information you so generously share. I think I have read all of your blog entries this morning. Much of it twice.

    I was interested to know where it is referenced to space plants at 1 meter apart? Information that I've seen seems to consistently recommend two meters between plants.

    1. Jp, I forgot to say how much I appreciated the kind words about the blog. I try and, well, thanks for reading telling me you have enjoyed yourself here. --Tom

  6. Hi JP,
    They will do fine in either configuration. How you plant them should be determined by the planned use you have yourself. If you are planting a hedge then the 1 meter or less is good. If you want some for a swale or permaculture or small farm planting then giving them some more room would be fine. In my field of 500 I wish I had planted them (in hindsight) 2 meters or so apart, not because they require the space but it would be really great to be able to operate my 52" sickle bar mower easily in a checkerboard pattern. As it is now it runs down the rows on each side of the plants but between the plants take more work to wiggle the machine between them trying not to cut the plants themselves. I have done that a few times. The come back fine but I, of course don't want be doing that too often!

  7. Hi Tom,
    I just bought seeds from you... but I realized that it is too late for field planting in my area (mediterranean climate in Spain, very dry and hot in the Summer). I want to try with Outumn planting, because Spring here is too short. How I do to keep your seeds during the summer? I put them in the fridge, wet or dry?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jesus, Storing the seed is best in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Keep them as received, dry. To answer the question about grafting - Yes, they can be grafted in very early spring. Ben Falk has done most of the testing of this that I am aware of. I haven't seen much in the way of information coming from him however. Here is a good link with some information We haven't done any grafting yet. When we do, it will be to see if female plants grafted onto male plants is viable.

  8. Hi Tom... a question that I forgot...
    Did you tried to graft your Sea Buckthorn plants, or you know that it is possible? It seems a logical step after seed planting...
    If the answer is yes, do you know another grafting combination that it is working?
    Thank you so much
    Best wishes

  9. Hi Tom... thank you for the usefull info! In between, I found this from the Singh book: "Seabuckthorn experts (Danilin and Grebennik, 1977) have successfully tried grafting in the male and female plants of seabuckthorn. Some of the scions, used, were treated with a solution of heteroauxin. Male rootstocks of seabuckthorn gave better scion survival and also better scion growth in the first year. The mean increment of scions treated with heteroauxin was greater than that of controls. The cuttings of 79 mm diameter are prepared during autumn and stored at low temperature or snow, to prevent them from drying. Cuttings can also be prepared during early spring. Grafting is carried out in one-year-old branch. The cuttings must carry unbrust buds. The place of grafting is tied with a piece of polythene sheet. After the 40 60 days, polythene sheet is relaxed or removed"

  10. Hi Tom,

    I wish to grow Seabuck thorn in India ( Karnataka - the weather is like Florida)

    How to go about it?

    1. It may not be possible. For fruit, the plant requires about 2 months of cold weather in it's environment for proper buds to form. If you get that where you are in India, then you will be fine. The seeds are easy to germinate. Expect 3-5 years before the new plants show the flowers which will either be male or female. There is now way to tell ahead of time. Good Luck! Seeds can be purchased on