Last month I ordered some seeds from eBay. The seeds took a bit to arrive, apparently the first shipment got “lost”. But after an email, the seller sent the shipment <again?>, and since it has almost 2x the number of seeds, I’m happy. Since these tree species are hard to find in Toronto, I decided to grow them from seeds. For as little as $10 bucks, it’ll be a good experiment.
I first soaked the seeds in hot water to perform the scarification process. I boiled water, and then let it sit a bit until it’s not too hot, then dumped the seeds in. Some seeds begin sinking to the bottom in an hour or so. While 1/5 of the seeds are more stubborn, and wouldn’t take in enough water to sink onto the bottom. Simply repeat the process until they all sink to the bottom. After they all sink to the bottom, scoop them out and put them aside, awaiting to be planted.
I opted to use these containers for my seeds. They’re generally available from take-outs, so I had plenty of them lying around.
In order to ensure proper drainage, and that the pots don’t get waterlogged, I drilled a few 3/4″ holes in the bottom of the pot. I then covered the holes with a plastic mesh to ensure that my bonsai soil doesn’t also escape through the holes.
To keep the mesh in place, I used a piece of wire, and twisted it as so above. Then insert into the mesh and fasten it onto the pot.
Here’s the finished pot with mesh attached. Next step is to prepare the bonsai soil. Instead of using expensive akadama for my bonsai soil, I opted to use diatomaceous earth instead. I went to Napa and bought a bag of diatomaceous earth (a.k.a. granular absorbent). After sifting out the smaller particles, the larger particles would go into the bonsai mix. The small particles would clog up the drainage holes, so therefore, we want to sift them out of my bonsai mix.
The next ingredient of the bonsai mix is some high performance bedding (HPB) I head lying around from my stone patio renovation a few years back. These stuff are pretty clean, so can just be used straight out of the bag.
The next ingredient is small bark chips. I had these left from by orchid growing. I would say getting them from the orchid society is the best way to obtaining them. These small bark chips breaks down way too easily when growing orchids, so I’m not using them for my orchids anymore. So, into the bonsai mix they go.
Now line a layer of play sand on top of the bonsai soil. This is where the seeds will be planted.
Since the soil below is already wet, when placing the sand above the soil, the sand will wick the water from the soil, and become wet as well. Make sure to lay it evenly. Then use tweezers to make tiny holes for the seeds to go in.
Now simply place all the seeds in the holes.
The last step is to place a thin layer of sand on top, then tamp it down so that the sand won’t run off when I water.
Now I simply label the pots, then place the lid back onto these pots. The final step is to place them outside, such that mother nature can work its magic. Throughout the cold winter months, the seeds will go through stratification. Hopefully by spring next year, I’ll see some seedlings sprouting.