Bitter Melon
Answered by: Ginny
Question from: Sandra
Posted on: April 15, 2011

I bought bitter melon seeds and have found them impossible to germinate. They have a very hard shell and need special treatment I understand in order to germinate, but I have not had success yet. Can you please advise?

Bitter melon seeds will germinate well if they are soaked in water for a few hours. Then, since the seed coat is extremely tough, you can scarify it. Use a sharp knife and gently etch it. Alternatively, you can crack open the coat by holding on to the thin part of the seed, and using pliers to apply gentle pressure on the ridge where the two sides of the seed coat meet. You must be careful not to damage the embryo inside, or all will be lost. Some growers start Bitter Melon seed by placing them in a damp paper towel in a baggy , and placing this in a warm place. The seeds should sprout in a week or two. Then, sow the seeds in your medium, at about 3/4 of an inch deep (2 cm) . Grow them on in a warm, sunny place of about 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (24-27 degrees Celsius). Good luck with your seeds!

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