How to grow honeysuckle from seeds?
Both edible and decorative types of honeysuckles are easier to propagate vegetatively. When the cuttings are cut or separated, all the characteristics of the mother plants are preserved, which is especially important when growing varietal honeysuckle with improved characteristics. But despite all the advantages, no less often honeysuckles are grown from seeds. The most economical and least labor-intensive method of seed propagation of honeysuckle allows you to get healthy and perfectly adapted to the conditions of the plant in large quantities.
Representatives of the genus Honeysuckle (Lonicera) - deciduous and evergreen shrubs, among which there are erect forms, and curly or creeping lianas. All honeysuckles have simple, dark green, oval with a pointed edge, opposite leaves. Snow-white, cream, pink, yellow or red flowers are very elegant and beautiful, they can be fragrant and almost odorless.
The fruits of honeysuckle are very diverse, they do not ripen every year, ripen in June-August. They can be black, blue, ink, in decorative species - also red or orange. But always the fruits of honeysuckle are juicy berries, sometimes growing together in fertility and ending with a different tip - with a “nose”, pointed, flat, with an original roller. In all honeysuckles, the berries hide seeds that are small compared to the size of the fruit. Each berry contains from 4 to 18 seeds.
The main methods of propagation of both decorative and edible honeysuckles are considered vegetative. Honeysuckles are propagated by lignified and green cuttings, undergrowth and layering. The seed method is considered less productive and more complex, but this is not entirely true. Efforts to obtain honeysuckle from seeds need minimal, this is the most economical way of propagating this shrub in all senses.
The disadvantages of seed reproduction - the inability to preserve the qualities and characteristics of the mother plant - are relevant mainly for edible species of honeysuckle, because it is primarily about taste and productivity. But for decorative species, the seed method is rightly called the simplest and easiest. If the task is to grow a rare variety that cannot be bought in the form of seedlings, propagate ornamental species or obtain a large number of plants, then the seed method is an excellent alternative.
When propagating from the seeds of the first harvest, honeysuckle will have to wait up to 5 years.
Self-collection of honeysuckle seeds and their selection for sowing
Propagation by seeds of edible honeysuckle varieties is not in vain considered a problem. In the offspring obtained from one plant, there is a very large variation in characteristics and qualities. To grow edible species of honeysuckle from seeds, you need to choose the sweetest varieties, because in ordinary cases it is impossible to avoid a strong manifestation of bitterness.
With independent cross-pollination, it is recommended to use at least three varieties, for each of which bitterness is uncharacteristic. For fruitful honeysuckle, it is better to choose purchased seeds, the producers of which are specially engaged in breeding and guarantee that you will get at least part of the plants with the declared characteristics from the seeds.
For propagation from seeds and sowing, it is very important to choose ripe, even overripe honeysuckle fruits. It is better to sort the berries from their harvest, leaving the largest and fleshiest. Seeds are usually extracted by crushing fruits, rubbing them through a sieve, cheesecloth or rubbing by hand. The further processing strategy may be different:
- Seeds can be cleaned by soaking the pulp with water. The flesh of the berries floats in the water, but heavy seeds always settle. Thorough washing allows you to get clean seeds, ready to dry.
- Since the remnants of the pulp do not affect the germination of seeds, you can simply crush the berries on paper or napkins that absorb all moisture and thoroughly dry the remaining pulp and seeds, using them for sowing.
- If the sowing is carried out after harvesting, then the drying of seeds may not be carried out using crushed berries.
You can buy honeysuckle seeds both in packaged and in the form of berries. In the latter case, the selection rules are the same as for self-collecting seeds. When buying ready-made seeds, you need to make sure of the suitability for sowing, the availability of full legal information and recommended agricultural techniques, as well as carefully check the botanical name of the plant, the name of the species and variety.
Self-collected honeysuckle seeds, which will be sown in the same year, it is better to keep under room conditions, and not in cool. The only thing they should be protected from is light and hot temperatures. For sowing next year, the seeds are kept cool, providing them with stratification. Old seeds are stored at temperatures from 2 to 5 degrees. If you buy honeysuckle seeds, then in the choice of temperature and storage conditions, follow the instructions on the package with seeds.
Germination of up to 75% of honeysuckle seeds is maintained for two years. Only at the age of four, the germination rate is twice or more fresh than fresh seeds. If the seeds were stored in a cool place at a temperature of 2 to 7 degrees, then honeysuckle seeds do not lose high germination until 7 years.
Dates of sowing honeysuckle seeds
Honeysuckle offers many options and different methods of seed propagation.
Honeysuckle seeds can be sown:
- in the spring, the year after collection, for seedlings;
- in the summer in the soil or containers (if the fruits are collected from the honeysuckle of early-growing varieties and species);
- under the winter in the soil.
Spring sowing in containers is considered preferable, because plants do not require protection for the first winter and additional shelter, grow faster and achieve decorativeness, meeting their first winter with fragile seedlings. But the main advantage is that small seedlings that appear very early in the soil often do not withstand competition with weeds and require very careful care, and growing in containers in the course of the year makes it easier to preserve fragile plants. From the point of view of fruiting, summer sowing is preferable, because then the plants will bring the first crop a year earlier.
Sowing honeysuckle before winter
Before winter, seeds are sown mainly of Korolkov’s honeysuckle, which are better germinated after prolonged stratification. But today more and more often this method is recommended for other types of honeysuckle, because it is much simpler than traditional sowing for seedlings.
Honeysuckle is sown before winter in late October or early November, after the arrival of the first frosts. Crops should not be too deep, but you can sow seeds densely enough, because next year they will pick for seedlings anyway. It is better to prepare the soil at the sowing site at least a month in advance by adding organic and mineral fertilizers to it, carefully selecting all the specks and adjusting the composition for a loose and light structure.
You can sow seeds not in seedling beds, but in large containers and boxes, which can be transferred in the spring to the greenhouse milking an earlier “start”. There is no need for shelter for the winter with any growing option.
Winter honeysuckle crops in the spring, as soon as the soil thaws, sprout very amicably. The plants are allowed to grow until mid-summer and only in July they dive into seedling beds (it is advisable to transplant seedlings with a height of at least 10 cm). Seedlings can be transferred to a permanent place only next year.
Sowing honeysuckle seeds of early varieties after harvesting at the end of June-July
Sowing seeds of honeysuckle, collected in the middle of summer, is carried out immediately after collection. It is better to sow seeds not immediately in the soil, because the preservation of plants in the midst of heat can be a big problem, but in containers. Protection for the winter will be needed by any summer seedlings, because the plants still do not have time to get strong enough to frost. Honeysuckle seeds are preferably sown in large wooden boxes.
Sowing honeysuckle seeds is carried out on loosened, leveled and well-watered soil:
- Sowing is rarely carried out, leaving a distance of 2 to 10 cm between the seeds, in furrows or superficially, only slightly covering the seeds with soil.
- In order to preserve and retain moisture in the middle of summer in the midst of heat, young shoots, containers or soil should be preserved by covering with a film or glass. Shelter is removed immediately after emergence. Usually, when sowing freshly harvested seeds, seedlings appear after 20 days.
- Young seedlings are provided with thorough care, maintaining a stable humidity and preventing the soil from drying out. Regular watering is carried out until the beginning of autumn, when a third or fourth pair of leaves should be formed on the plants.
- Boxes for the winter are dug into the soil or left in protected, secluded places. But in any case, young seedlings need careful protection - - a high layer of mulching or careful shelter with spruce branches with additional snow pouring in winter.
The next season, the shelter is removed from the plants gradually, focusing on the weather and protecting young plants from severe frosts, at least with a layer of mulch until mid-April. Young plants dive in May or June, transferring to beds for growing. In the third year they can be planted in a permanent place (if it is possible to provide more frequent watering, then diving can be carried out immediately to a permanent place). Plant care is standard and should include watering, weeding, mulching.
Spring sowing of honeysuckle seedlings
The option of sowing seedlings is the only productive way of spring sowing of honeysuckle seeds, since the seeds are small, germinate quite quickly, seedlings are very fragile and tender. When sowing directly into the soil, it is almost impossible to maintain seedlings. Honeysuckle seedlings are sown in March or April.
For spring sowing, fresh, collected last year, honeysuckle seeds do not need stratification. They have a short dormant period, so if the seeds are not stored for more than 2 years, you can not worry about any additional measures. But older seeds should preferably be kept in the cold, but without freezing for about 1-3 months. Stratification at a temperature of 2 to 5 degrees accelerates the process of germination.
Preplant treatment in the form of soaking in a weak solution of potassium permanganate for 24 hours is needed for any kind of honeysuckle seeds, even freshly picked.
Almost any soil and containers for honeysuckle sowing. A universal substrate or light garden soil with high organic content is perfect. You can use an interlayer substrate consisting of humus, peat and sand in equal proportions. As for containers, it is better to leave small plates for ordinary seedlings: honeysuckle is sown in large wooden boxes or flower containers.
Sowing seeds in containers in spring is very simple:
- Containers fill with soil and level the surface, trying not to tamp the soil.
- Seeds are laid on the surface of well-watered soil. Thick sowing is undesirable: for honeysuckle it is better to do without picking, so the seeds are laid out at least a few centimeters apart (the optimal distance is about 10 cm).
- Top seeds are covered with a thick layer of sand or a mixture of sand and substrate with a height of 0.5 to 1 cm.
- Containers or boxes are covered with film or glass.
The conditions for seed germination must be carefully monitored. Honeysuckle seeds require stable heat - temperatures above 20 degrees in the room, bright lighting. The soil moisture level should be kept constant, but watering should be done very carefully, without washing the seeds out of the sand.
Honeysuckle seedlings appear on average one month after sowing. With stratification - even after 3 weeks.
Growing plants requires standard care. Stable soil moisture without waterlogging and good lighting allow plants to actively develop. Diving seedlings is carried out only with dense sowing, planting plants with a height of about 3 cm at a distance of 5-10 cm in large boxes.
Planting seedlings in the soil can be carried out in late spring and early summer, but usually the transplant is carried out only in the second year, in May. With this strategy, for the summer, containers with seedlings can be taken out into the open air, and young honeysuckles leave the hibernation in the room at a temperature of 2 to 10 degrees Celsius. Plants are transferred to the garden (not to a permanent place, but to seedling ridges for growing for several more years), located at a distance of 15-25 cm between the seedlings.
Growing requires accurate, but systemic watering, loosening the soil and weeding (both procedures can be replaced by mulching). From the bright sun on hot days and immediately after transplanting, it is better to protect the plants with additional shading.
Honeysuckle landing in a permanent place
Honeysuckle seeds obtained from seeds, like all honeysuckle in principle, perfectly tolerate transplantation. They are not planted in a permanent place before the second year, but if desired, plants can be grown up to 3-7 years and only then transferred to the place where the honeysuckles were planned to be used initially. To avoid mistakes, it is enough to pay attention to lighting and soil characteristics, to prepare planting pits in advance.
For honeysuckles, choose light, well-lit areas or scattered, light and uneven partial shade. The stronger the shading, the worse the honeysuckle blooms. Climbing species are more photophilous, forest species are more shade tolerant. Despite the fact that honeysuckles are considered shrubs and vines that can grow on almost any soil, it is better to avoid too dry and damp soil. The greatest decorativeness of honeysuckle is achieved on drained, loose, nutrient soils with a pH reaction of 7.5 to 8.5. Organic and complete mineral fertilizers are best added to the soil.
For honeysuckle blue, even in regions with severe winters, autumn (August-September) planting is preferable. For other ornamental and fruitful species, planting in spring at the end of April is preferable.
The recommended landing distance depends on how you use the honeysuckle. In decorative groups or in an orchard, single cultivation, a distance of 2.5 or 3 m is left to a neighboring plant. When planted in hedges, the distance is reduced to 1.5-2 m.
For honeysuckles, they dig out pits with a depth and diameter of 25 cm to 50 cm, depending on the age of the plant (the older the seedlings, the larger the pit). Before planting seedlings in a permanent place, you need to lay a high layer of drainage on the bottom of the planting pits (drainage made of gravel or broken brick is better for this shrub).
Plants are placed in a landing pit on a small mound, so that the root neck, taking into account shrinkage, remains at the level of the soil. The roots of the plant must be carefully spread and evenly distributed, carefully and gradually filling the voids with soil. Complete the planting of honeysuckle seedlings with abundant watering and mandatory mulching around the entire perimeter of the planting pit.
Caring for young honeysuckles is not complicated. From the second year after planting in a permanent place, full mineral fertilizers are applied annually in the spring, and in autumn, from the year of planting, wood ash is planted in the soil. Before active growth, it is best to protect plants from drought. In the future, honeysuckle is enough 2-3 irrigation per season.
The rest of the care comes down to deep loosening of the soil (up to 25 cm), mulching, pruning after dropping leaves or in early spring before the start of growth with the removal of damaged, unproductive and old branches, constantly updating the crown to 5 powerful trunks.
Even in the first year after planting in a permanent place, honeysuckle grown from seeds does not need protection for the winter.