Planting Wild Berries and Seeds
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Brett Lowry
Posted on: October 22, 2003

Several of the herbs I grow are from wild seeds from here in Wisconsin. Some, such as the bittersweet I have growing in the yard, have berries. What is the best way to treat berries so that I can plant the seeds in the spring? For now, I’ve put those that fell on their own in a tray of soil under a pot outside. Is there anything else I should do?

Berries generally produce germination inhibitors and unless the flesh of the berries is scraped off and the berries washed and soaked repeatedly in water, the seeds won’t germinate. In the natural way the berries would have been eaten by some animal-usually birds, the flesh ground off by the digestive system and then excreted with a bit of natural fertilizer! Very often they also need a cold period of at least three months as well before they will germinate. It would be best to put a pot planted with the cleaned and washed seeds outside in the fall and they will probably germinate well in the spring.

If you do not want to plant the cleaned seeds now in the fall, keep them damp and in a loosely closed plastic bag in the crisper of your fridge over the winter and plant in the spring.

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