With what do you treat your seeds?

Bromelain? Septic enzymes (if so, what do you use?) Nothing?

I use paper towels dampened in a Captan solution. Not for any enzymatic effect, but to cut down on fungus problems. Germination is highly dependent on the seed parent (and to a lesser extent on the pollen parent). For me germination rates vary from almost 0% to almost 100%, with an average of about 35%.


If I recall correctly, Henry Kuska wrote an article some years ago for the RHA newsletter in which he was mentioning some different enzymes that he had experimented with. One I do recall, with a tad of humor, was Drano to soften up the seed coat a bit. Don’t know if any of this is still valid or not, but I’m sure Henry will read this and respond if any of it is. Another humorous posting on this forum several months ago was someone who fed the seeds to their pet doves and collected the seeds out the other end – which supposedly aided the germination process. Wonder if he/she put a tag on its neck to keep track of which bird ate what seeds?? I laughed and laughed at this one. Maybe it worked - only the dove?? and the hybridizer know for sure. If you can’t have fun with this, why do it?

The dove thing-- that’s me. I’ve noticed something very interesting about this. I have much less unhealthy seedlings using this method. I’ve wondered why. I think that when I feed Cartman and Noel rose seeds, they digest the runts, and whatever is not digested, well you know what happens. And I am not the only hybridizer who has done this. I know there was a hybridizer who had a pet parrot…

Some of you have wondered what have I done in order to retrieve my seeds. I’ve developed my own method. There is a specially designated container for my birds. All I have to do is place them on their little “toilet” and let them do their thing. Then I put a mesh over that container, and put it underneath running water. The excrement then washes away, leaving only the seeds. In that way I never have to contact with the fecal mater, which may carry lots of diseases that may be harmful to people.

I don’t always use this method. And I’ve noticed that they will not eat anything bigger then rugosa seeds-- hybrid tea seeds are too big for them to swallow. And if they eat hybrid tea seeds, I have trick them by mixing it up with a seed mix.

I’m sure your birds are glad you’re not hybridizing peaches, Enrique.

I do nothing special to treat my seeds. Seeds are shucked from the hips whenever I get around to doing it: harvest happens late October/early November and hips are labeled and put in plastic bags in the fridge. I clean then over the next six weeks, returning them to bags with wet paper towels. I do not treat the seeds with anything. No enzmes, no fungicides, nothing. I have found that mold on the seeds CAN help break down the seed coat. Out of about 20,000 seeds last year, I got about 8000 or 10,000 seedlings, half of which didn’t get potted up. Many varieties germinated at near 100%.

Some people insist in treating their seeds to prevent fungus in the bags but I don’t see a need for this, UNLESS you wait until seeds germinate in the bags, in which case the seedlings can be damaged by fungi. I sow my seeds in flats of soil mix well before they start germinating in the bags.


I, like Paul, don’t treat my seeds with anything. I just harvest them, shuck them right away and place the seeds on moist paper towels in plastic bags. I have tried a little hydrogen peroxide on the paper towels to keep down mold, but since I’ve heard much about some molds helping to break seed coats down, I don’t any more and simply let things mold.

If I had birds I think I would try Enriques method of feeding to birds, but I don’t so I can’t.


In 1982 Bob Harvey , Muskogee, OK, did a test with apple juice, gibberellin, vinegar, and Rootone.

His results:

Seeds soaked in apple juice for 24 hours, then placed in jars with apple slices for 2 weeks: 61.9 % germination versus 42.9% for control (84 seeds in each).

For 51 seeds sprayed with gibberellin: zero germination, versus 30 % for control.

For seeds soaked in vinegar (1 tbls/qt for 24 hours): 22.5 % germination versus 10.3 % for control (80 and 78 seeds).

For seeds treated with Rootone 27.3 % germination versus 15.2 % for control (33 seeds in each batch).

So, Henry, are any of these statistically significant? Seems like seed soaked in water should have been used as a control. Perhaps seeds soaked in any liquid would increase germination.

So Henry, do you treat?

SunQueen, I assumed that you were familar with my web page since you mentioned the chemicals that I use in your original question. If you are not, my procedure is given at the following link (if you return to the page before, you will find other articles of interest):


I do a lot of crosses with species and near species which often take 2 years to germinate on their own.

There was an article in the British hybridizing newsletter a number of years ago concerning the use of composte activator to soften the seed coat.

It appears we have 3 tasks to accomplish before germination occurs.

The first is to remove or weaken the seed coat.

The second is to remove the chemical inhibitors.

The third is to add germination promoting chemicals.

Link: home.neo.rr.com/kuska/germinationmethod.htm

Thanks Henry. Wonderfully detailed explanation on your website. I wonder if soaking seeds in pineapple juice would do the same thing, since that’s where bromelain comes from? I use a pineapple juice soak as a chicken marinade and it breaks down the fibre structure nicely so you get very juicy chicken.

I think, I’ve read all of Henry’s articles on his website. I have found his articles easy to read and understand as a learning hybrizer. Henry, I looked long and hard for a drain cleaner that claimed to disolve cellulose with no luck. So, I cleaned my seeds in a blender and proceeded from there. The seeds eventually went into paper towels and half were popped into the fridge, and I left the other half out, just to see what happened. After a while, I noticed that in some baggies, the mold was rapidly breaking down the paper towel. When I tried to seperate out the seeds I had a very hole-y mess. In those bags I had a higher rate of germination.

So, my question is why just a few of those bags created the mold that disolves paper and others did not? Also, how do I get that mold in the rest of my bags?


Your chicken marinade sounds delicious, SunQueen!


Dinner, tonight at 6. :slight_smile:

Better not be my Silky Chickens :stuck_out_tongue:

Carlota said: “Henry, I looked long and hard for a drain cleaner that claimed to disolve cellulose with no luck”

The following Google search was for “enzyme drain cleaner cellulase”.


Enzyme is the key word as I am not talking about strong acid or strong base liquids. In Ohio I have found the enzyme drain cleaners in food stores and in hardware stores. I recommend the powders as I did have poor germination from one liquid one.

Link: www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=enzyme+drain+cleaner+cellulase&btnG=Google+Search

Ok, I bought some Bromelain caps, 500mg. Do I use 5 tabs in a 1/4 cup? 1 to a whole cup? Or doesn’t it matter? Maybe, given the above statistics, I probably should add a few tabs to some apple juice and the soak the seeds in that!

I think that you will find that 1 tablet will be hard to dissolve in 1/4 cup. You could start with that (stir and let set for awhile) and then add more water until it all has dissolved. I would not try heating the water to speed up the dissolving as the heat could break down the enzymes.

As a follow-up to this thread, I tried the bromelain tabs (24 hour soak) and I really can’t say I see any difference in germination rates between the treated and untreated seeds, at least with these tablets.

Also, I pre-treated some seeds by soaking them in pineapple juice. The only thing I found here was an increase in mold growing on the seeds, even after being washed well.