P1140783Lucerne trees flower prolifically from mid-winter to early spring (July to September) in abundant, fragrant white flowers.   Bees and birds love these flowers — honey farmers — take note!  The flowers develop into seed pods, each containing about 6 – 8 seeds.  Once brown and dry, the pods split open and the seeds fall out.

P1120604To harvest lucerne tree seeds, we prune the branches with their seed pods while they are still unopened and keep them in a store-room until the pods pop open.  We hand-pick our seeds from their pods and never use the more commercial means of vacuuming seeds off the ground.

  • We sell our excellent quality seeds in packs of 100s or 1000s.
  • Seeds are posted as registered mail and we email you the tracking number.
  • Germination Instructions and some extra seeds are included in the seed pack.
  • Order online on our prices and order page.


Only start the germination process when you are ready to plant your seeds into trays or bags.  Only use COARSE RIVER SAND!  Do NOT use potting soil, or fertilizers, or manure, or compost to germinate your seeds as the seeds will rot.

  • Soak +100 seeds in a bowl filled with hot tap water overnight.
  • Some seeds may swell up while other seeds do not.  This makes no difference to the seed.
  • Plant your soaked seeds in seed trays/ seed beds or individual potting bags the next day.

Germinating seeds in a deep seed trays or seed beds ~

You can plant your soaked seeds in deep seed trays, or plastic crates which have depth for the roots to develop, or you can prepare a raised mound of coarse river sand as a seed bed and sow your soaked seeds directly into the mound.

  • Prepare seed trays or seed bed approximately 30cm deep filled with coarse river sand. The tray must have holes for drainage.
  • Use a stick & make rows roughly 5mm (0.5cm) deep and place the seeds in these rows & cover lightly with straw or sawdust. The general rule: the seed size = the soil depth for planting.
  • Place the straw on top to keep the soil moist for prolonged periods.
  • Water lightly regularly & do not to let the soil dry out!  This is vital!
  • The seeds normally germinate within 15 days and they break the earth with living power and showcase two delightful little leaves.  Other seeds may take longer before germinating, so keep your germination seed tray watered and slower seeds may still emerge several weeks later.
  • Wait at least 40 days for maximum germination before potting out seedlings into individual potting bags.
  • Dig deep beneath the seedling roots, lift the potting soil and lay the seedlings on their sides and gently lift each one out of the potting soil. Do not pull the seedlings up from the tray as this will damage the roots.

Keep the remaining sand even if the seeds did not germinate. Keep watering for several weeks. The slower seeds will still germinate! Transplanting the young seedling into individual potting bags~

  • Wait at least 40 days for maximum germination before potting out seedlings into individual potting bags.  Once most of your seeds have germinated and has developed proper leaves, it is ready to be potted out into individual bags filled with well-drained, sand-soil mixture.
Seedlings with true leaves ready to be potted into tall potting bags.
  • Dig deep beneath the seedling roots, lift the soil in the seed tray under the seedlings and lay the seedlings on their sides near the potting bags. NEVER PULL SEEDLING UP OUT OF THE SOIL. This damages their fine hair roots and the plant will die.
  • Use a dibber (a pointed stick to make a hole in the soil) and prepare a hole in the potting bag’s soil.   Wiggle the dibber around to make the hole in the soil wide and deep enough.

    Garden dibber. Any thick, pointed stick will also do the job!
  • Gently lift each seedling out of the germination sand and place the roots in the hole in the potting bag, and gently press the sand around the seedling.

    12 b
    Amazing, dense, deep root development!
  • Water immediately and then water regularly lightly, but be careful not to over-water.  These trees do not like to stand in wet soil.  Micro sprayers are excellent as they give a fine mist and will gently water your little saplings.
  • Only plant small trees out into the land when they have sturdy stems and are about 40cm – 60cm high.  The stems should be as thick as a pencil.
  • Keep the remaining sand even if the seeds did not germinate. Keep watering for several weeks. The slower seeds will still germinate!
Trees ready for planting

Download the instructions ~ Germination Instructions

The Life is in the Seed!

Copyright © 2012 by Myles & Nadene Esterhuizen

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher permitted by copyright law.



9 thoughts on “Seeds

  1. My sade ontkiem en kom op , maar baie van hulle kry nie die dop van die saad gebreek sodat die blare vry kan uitkom nie – dit lyk of die dop te hard is en die blare is dan vasgevang daarin. Wat doen ek verkeerd? Die sade is in riviersand geplant op omtrent 5mm diepte en word gereeld benat – ek probeer die top lagie klam hou in my kweekhuis met fyn besproeiing.


    • @Francois, although I have heard of this problem on other lucerne tree websites, we have not experienced this problem with our seeds. We germinate 1000’s of seeds weekly during our growing season and have not found seedlings becoming trapped. Those seedlings that have the seed shell on them seem to push through and the shell falls off.


  2. I Had simular problems with my seed. I sterted to remove the shell and it just continue growing, it seems to be seed that did not swell enough in the water prior to planting


  3. Ek wil graag die volgende weet:
    1. wat is die botaniese naam van die Lucernetree
    2. in watter klimaatstreke in ons land groei hierdie bome goed.
    3. waar in die Wes-Kaap is julle?


    • @Ansophie,
      1. Cytisus proliferus (Tagasaste)
      2. Die boom doen heel beste langs die kus, in sanderige gronde en in ‘n matige klimaat, alhoewel hy sal n uiterste weer omstangigede oorleef.
      3. Klein Karoo, in die Uniondale distrik, tussen Oudtshoorn en George.


    • @Ray, We have not used inoculent for any of our seeds and they have germinated very successfully. Should you wish to add an inoculent (Groundnut & Cowpea Group Inoculant. Contains Bradyrhyzobium sp. (Vigna) bacteria which is a bacterial legume inoculant for effective nitrogen fixation on legumes.), this should be mixed with the seeds as per the packet instructions, usually after soaking the seeds as in our germination instructions.


    • @Pierre, yes, these trees should do well so long as they are planted in spring, watered regularly during dry seasons and protected from severe frost while still young saplings.


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