Germinating Henna
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Patrick Liuzzi
Posted on: July 12, 2004

I was hoping that perhaps you could give me some guidance concerning the germination of henna seeds. I received these seeds about a month ago by internet purchase, and have not had much luck with germinating them. I followed the instructions on the seed packet, but with no results. I have a feeling that there is something I am doing wrong but I am not sure what.

After reading the seeding seminar on your website, in particular, the section pertaining to hard to germinate seeds, I have come up with some questions that perhaps you can answer.

1.) I have tried sanding the seeds, but am never sure if I have over sanded them or under sanded them. When sanding the seeds, how much do you sand them? Just quickly over the top once or twice? Would soaking the seeds in water work just as well in place of sanding? If so, how long should this particular seed be soaked?

Sanding the seeds only helps when seeds have a hard, impermeable seed coat; but henna does not have a hard seed coat. If anything, sanding henna seeds could cause damage to the embryo and lower germination, not raise it.

Soaking the seeds may help, but we have not experimented with soaking so we cannot tell you whether it will or won’t help.

2.) Is the germination of henna seeds aided by cold stratification prior to adding bottom heat? If so, for how long?

Cold stratification does no good. The plant does best in hot weather with ample watering followed by quick drying without getting completely dry. Likewise, the seeds prefer warm conditions for germination. Use bottom heat and seeds should germinate in 10 to 14 days.

3.) Do they require light to germinate or darkness?

They are not affected by either light or dark according to the germination expert Dr Deno. They also won’t germinate at room temperature. We have found they germinate when it is hot in the greenhouse.

4.) About how long does henna take to show any signs of germination?

10 to 14 days.

Thank you so much for any input you can give me. I hope to soon add these plants to the collection of happy plants that have benefitted from your sage advice!

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