Seed Germination

Apart from suitable planting medium and microclimatic conditions during the germinating process of bamboo seeds, germination rate largely depends on species, and on the age of seed.

We test germination of any seed that we offer, for reference. These germination records can be read in the Bamboo Seeds Catalog and the Compilation of Bamboo Seeds. These records should be understood as records on the result of germinating seeds under given conditions, not under optimal conditions, and not as recommendations.

The first seed test, for a certain bamboo species, that we carry out will start by sowing the seeds in the month when we first received seeds of that species. Usually, at later months we will carry out tests again but with lower number of seeds. We do not know records on which months are the best for sowing seeds of a certain bamboo species. We assume that it is best for all bamboo seeds (perhaps with the exception of certain species/genera from cool-temperate climates) to sow them immediately upon receipt.

Temperature during seed germination is one condition that we cannot control here. The record on temperature just indicates the prevailing ambient temperatures during the germination period. Some horticulturists recommend a temperature for seed germination of 23-26 °C.

Our germination tests are not standardized and not representative, and by no means do the records constitute a guarantee to the buyer that his seeds will show a similar rate of germination; the rate may be higher or much lower, or even fail germination. Our standard seed offers are without any guarantee to the customer that the seeds will germinate.

You should not expect a high germination rate for most bamboo species; 30% would be good. For commercially intended propagation, you might need lots of seeds to get a sufficient number of seedlings. Species of Phyllo­stachys, Fargesia, Chimono­bambusa, Chimono­calamus, Schizo­stachyum, and most Dendro­calamus have never reached a high rate of germination here at Baan Sammi, whereas seeds of all species of Giganto­chloa, Oxytenanthera, core Bambusa, and one species of Guadua turned out being able to germinate at 70-90%. Coleoptiles will emerge within one to two weeks (of nearly all species that we tested). Somewhat late germination can happen with seeds of Fargesia, and rather late germination should be expected with some species of Chusquea, like C. culeou, and even with a few tropical species. It might be that seeds of some temperate species remain dormant for long a time, and coleoptiles will appear considerably late. It is recommended to keep seeds under conditions to germinate for at least four weeks, better five to six weeks, before assuming that no more seeds will sprout.