Yesterday morning, Saturday, April 25th, I woke up to a lemon sprout poking its head out of the dirt! Success! We have a Meyer Lemon plant!
This is the Meyer Lemon seed that was chitted and scarified, and then planted in a pot once it had sprouted. I planted it two weeks ago, and was about to give up hope that it would ever come up. Altogether, it took 39 days to go from seed to the first cotyledons.
Additionally, last week, a second chitted Meyer Lemon sprouted, so I planted that one as well.
The blood orange seeds, on the other hand, have all rotted. I dug up the seeds that I had direct sown, and they were rotten too. Oh well. You win some you lose some. I’m just so pleased that the Meyer lemon seeds are working.
While most annual vegetable seeds do not require pre-soaking or any special preparation for germination, seeds of some natives, perennials, and fruits with hard coats will require a bit of extra work on your part, whether it be a longer chitting/soaking period, scarification, stratification, or inoculation with rhizobium bacteria…. Seed scarification involves scraping away part of the hard coating to expose the seed to water and gases that trigger germination. In the natural environment, temperature, soil microbes, and even fire can break down seed coats. Animals eat seeds, which are then exposed to stomach acid which breaks down the seed coat.
Planting Parenting by Leslie Halleck
She has some very interesting suggestions for how to scarify seeds.
I just pulled off the seed coating using my finger nails. It’s hard to know if the scarification helped, or if the seeds just needed more time…
Now that I have a sprouted seed, I need to plant it! But how soon do I plant it? Should I plant it right away, as soon as I see a sprout? Or do I wait for the sprout to get bigger?
I couldn’t find any consistent solid guidance on this, so I decided to wait for the sprout to get a little bigger. Here it is two days after I first noticed the sprout (yesterday):
I decided to plant it at that point. I put it in the same pot as the direct-sown Meyer lemon seeds. As you can see there is no growth of the other Meyer Lemons (at least from what I can see above the soil). After planting the seed, I covered the pot again with a plastic bag to keep the humidity in, and crossed my fingers.