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Storing seeds

Some seeds (e.g. hellebore) is best sown immediately as its viability reduces with storage. However, for many species, sowing is best delayed until a more suitable time of the year such as autumn or spring so the harvested seed will need to be safely stored until sowing. Storing is also required if surplus seed as been collected. Here’s how;

  1. Place dry seed in labelled paper packets in an airtight container with some desiccant to remove excess moisture. Suitable materials include calcium chloride (sold in DIY stores for use in dehumidifiers) or silica gel
  2. Excess humidity or warmth can cause seed to deteriorate or die from fungal disease or rotting
  3. Certain seed must not be allowed to dry out as they cannot then take up water necessary for germination. Examples are walnuts, oaks and magnolias. These seed can be stored in a plastic bag of damp vermiculite, sand, or a mix of moist coir and sand for several months
  4. Store in a refrigerator at 5°C (41°F) until required. Most seed will remain viable in this way for many years