Germinate Seeds

Successful Germination Instructions

Germinating lucerne tree seeds need not be the case of trail and error!

Only start the germination process when you are ready to plant your seeds into trays or bags.  Only use COARSE RIVER SAND.

  • Take + 100 – 200 seeds and soak them in a bowl filled with hot tap water to soak overnight.
  • Plant them the next day into a cardboard box approximately 30cm deep filled with coarse river sand. The cardboard box must have holes for drainage


  • Use a stick & make rows roughly 5mm (0.5cm) deep and place the seeds in these rows & cover with straw or sawdust.
  • Place the straw on top to keep the soil moist for prolonged periods. Water lightly & do not to let the soil dry out.

  • The seeds could germinate within a few days, but usually within 10 days they break the earth with living power and showcase two delightful little leaves.

  • Wait till the trees are at least 20cm tall before planting them out in your lands.

Happy farming!

The Life is always in the Seed.

Download these germination instructions ~ Germination Instructions

©   2012

18 thoughts on “Germinate Seeds

  1. Will tree lucern do well in semiarid areas like Mafikeng? If not, what specia treatment should be implemented?

    • Hi Marks good to hear from you,
      The most research concerning these trees has been done in semi-arid areas. They are very drought resistant once established and prefer a semi-arid environment to a humid or wet climate. I say prefer because they do well just about anywhere in New Zealand, but have sustained agriculture in very dry areas of Australia. The young trees will need to be watered on a regular basis by watering can, hose-pipe, sprinklers, irrigation or any other method you have available but cannot survive a hot dry summer without watering untill they are established. Within one growing season the tree is usually able to mine underground resources enabling the tree to survive most winters and future summers with minimal water.
      If you have soils that have good drainage, ie- the water doesnt form marshy areas after good rains, but the ground dries out again after a few days of sunshine, then your soil should be good for establishing lucerne trees.
      Marks one has to look after the trees for the first year and less so as they grow older but once they get to 3.5 years old your cup will overflow with gratitude.
      I hope this answers your question.

    • Hi Glin, actually the contrary is true. The horses have earned a reputation due to the Lucerne Tree being the largest contributor to saving the horse industry in Australia some years back. A chap John Leary writes an article about. He can be googled by typing in his name.
      A good measure will be anything that grazes on alfalfa (ground lucern) will eat the lucern tree. The nutritional values are just about identical.
      All of the best

  2. Hi Myles/Nadene,
    Almost sounds to good to be true. We are out Bela Bela area….. Very hot and VERY dry.
    Will they grow here do you think?
    Thanks for a very informative web page.


    • @Brett, in a word – NO. It is not necessary. All our seeds and trees germinate and formulate their own nitrogen-fixing nodules on their roots without any treatments or innoculants. We recommend that you add some Phosphates when you plant out your trees.

  3. Myles/Nadene,

    Will these plants grow/survive in the Sutherland area, especially winter months. We get quite a lot of snow, some places up to 1.5 meters deep.
    Good luck and regards,
    Sybrand Burger

    • @Sybrand, a simple answer is “yes” if they have been well-established before the winter. They are extremely hardy and recover well after pruning, but will need to be protected if still young and tender. We planted our trees in winter and the frost did not harm the trees. Prolonged cold temperatures will of course be too harsh. My recommendation is that you plant now, in spring, and trust that they are well-established before next June.

  4. Hi Myles,
    I have received your seeds thanks! Do I need to sow under shadenets – it’s already 30-35 degrees here. Thanks Anabel

    • @Anabel, yes, shade cloth will help prevent the seedling from drying out, but remember not to over-water! Keep them moist and not wet i well-drained sand.

  5. Hi, I’ve sown half the seeds and none at all have germinated. I soaked them in hot water, sowed them into sand in seed trays with drainage, then put them in a propagator. I’m in the UK so thought they would need the extra heat. Now I want to try the rest of the seeds, do you have any advice on what else I could try?

    • @Janee, pour hot tap water over your next batch of seeds and leave them to cool off overnight. Plant them the next morning by sprinkling the seeds over a 30cm bed of coarse river sand. Place sawdust or hay approximately 20mm deep over the seeds and then water regularly. They MUST germinate.
      I can only think that the seeds may have been “cooked” in your first attempt.

  6. Pingback: Germination Process: Step One | Harvest Daylily

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