[Stratification] How to Save Plant Genetics (Part 1 of 3)

[Stratification] How to Save Plant Genetics (Part 1 of 3)

Keith
Keith
11 Dec 2011

If it's too late to take cuttings, keep your cool. You can still save your plant's genetics. 

There are 3 ways to do it.

Part 1: Stratification (this article)
Part 2Clone in Flowering
Part 3: Overwintering

This is part 1 of a 3 part series. Here you learn about stratification - a handy way to germinate seeds.

What's Stratification?

It's a handy way to start off seeds - if your plant has produced fruit or flowers.

In nature, stratification occurs during winter. Seeds get buried under fallen leaves or soil that's been disturbed by animals.

Exposure to cold, moist surroundings triggers the seed's embryo. When spring finally arrives, the seed's hard, outer shell has softened and the seed is able to germinate.

This is what we're mimicking.

Equipment Needed

It's a pretty simple process - not much equipment's needed.

We used:

Equipment needed Equipment needed

We did it with a Dorset Naga - it's one of the world's hottest chillies. As long as your plant has fruit or flowers, you can follow the same steps.

harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga

    

First, you need to harvest the seeds. 

Carefully cut open fruit or your flower's seed pod with a scalpel to reveal seeds. 

 

harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga

    

Gently prod individual seeds out. Be as careful as you can be. Slow and steady really wins the race here. 

 

harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga

    

Place the seeds on a sheet of kitchen roll and remove any debris - this'll reduce the likelihood of getting mould.

harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga

    

Leave the seeds to dry for a few days, then remove more debris.

harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga

    

Mositen your kitchen roll. We soaked a few pieces of kitchen role in an Oxy-Plus solution (10ml to 500ml).

harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga

    

Gently squeeze excess water out of your kitchen roll or media - it just needs to be damp.

harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga

    

Lie out the towels and place the seeds on one side - give each seed a lot of space.

harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga

    

Fold over the kitchen roll and ease the whole lot into a plastic bag.

harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga

    

If stratifying seeds from multiple plants, put each variety in their own labelled bag. 

harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga

    

Seal the bag and pop it in the fridge, ideally with the temperature between 1 - 5oC.

harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga

    

It depends on the strain of seed, but the bag will need to stay here for 4 - 12 weeks. 

harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga harvesting seeds from Dorset Naga

    

When you're ready, move your seeds into a warmer environment to mimick spring, and germinate as normal.

What Next?

If stratification doesn't do it for you, don't give up! There are two other methods to try.

Since both involve chopping at your plant, you'll want to do both at the same time.

Part 2Clone in Flowering
Part 3: Overwintering


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Keith
Keith
About the author

Keith looks after our stock and staff. He's a bit of a hippie and has the hots for chillies. If you want to grow them, ask Keith how it's done.

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