According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the skyrocket juniper is a cultivated variety of Juniperus scopulorum that will take a little work for you to grow from seed. The skyrocket juniper has small blue cones that look like berries, and each cone holds one to three seeds. Warm and cold stratification is suggested to break the dormancy of the juniper seeds and help them germinate. Some seeds may not germinate at all during the first year.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Juniper seeds
- Plastic container
- Plastic gloves
- Zip-top bag
- Permanent marker
- Seedling flat
- Sterilized seedling starter mix
- Spray can
- Measuring cup
Store the juniper seeds in a cold area before stratification. Apply the warm stratification in January to help the seeds mature. Allow the seeds to warm to room temperature for 12 hours. Rinse the juniper seeds gently with warm water, being careful not to remove the shells.
Place the seeds in a container of warm water and let them soak for 24 hours. Drain the seeds and place them in a zip-top plastic bag. Put on plastic gloves and place an amount of milled sphagnum moss three to four times larger than the seeds into the bag. Add 1/4 cup of room-temperature water into the bag and close it. Allow the milled sphagnum moss and seeds to soak up the water for eight to 10 hours.
Unzip one side of the plastic bag. Hold the bag sideways and carefully pour out the excess water. Write the date that the warm stratification began and the date the cold stratification should start (three months later) on a piece of masking tape using a permanent marker. Press the tape firmly onto the bag.
Place the bag in an area with a temperature of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. Wait one day to check the bag and pour out standing water. Leave the bag in a warm area for 90 days. When the seeds and moss become dry, add just enough water to make them moist, then pour out any unused moisture. Reseal the bag then check the next day and pour out any standing water. Continue to check for excessive dryness.
Take the seeds out of the plastic bag and rinse the juniper seeds gently with cold water, in April. Place the seeds in a container of cold water and let them soak for 24 hours. Put on plastic gloves. Drain the seeds and place them in a zip-top plastic bag with milled sphagnum moss that is three to four times the volume of the seed. Add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of room-temperature water to the bag and close it. Allow the milled sphagnum moss and seeds to soak up the water for eight to 10 hours.
Open one side of the bag. Hold the bag sideways and carefully squeeze out the excess water from one side of the half-opened bag. Write the date that the cold stratification began on a piece of masking tape using a permanent marker and tape it to the bag
Place the bag in your refrigerator or a cold area with a temperature 1.67 to 4.44 degrees Celsius. Wait one day to check the bag and pour out standing water. Leave the bag in refrigerator for 90 days. When the seeds and moss become dry, add just enough water to make them moist, then pour out any unused moisture. Reseal the bag, then check the next day and pour out any standing water. Continue to check for excessive dryness.
Fill a seedling flat 3/4 full of sterilised seedling starter mix. Water the mix with a spray bottle of water until the mix is wet to the touch. Sow the seeds evenly on top of the moistened starter mix. Set the flat in a large, clear plastic zip-top bag. Zip the bag closed.
Place the flat in a sunny room but out of direct sunlight, where the temperature during the day goes up to at least 21.1 degrees Celsius. Use a measuring cup to pour 29.6ml. water a week into the bottom of the plastic bag and let the humidity in the bag water the plant. Gradually open the bag wider after seedlings begin to germinate, acclimating the seedlings slowly for two to three weeks. Remove the tray from the bag and begin watering the seedlings three times a week using the spray bottle until they are moist to the touch.
Transplant the seedlings into small pots in two to four more weeks. Fill the pots with sterilised potting soil. Dig a hole in the middle of the soil in each pot with your spade to fit the seedling roots. Place one seedling into each hole and press the soil down firmly around each plant. Place the pots in a sunny area and water twice weekly with a watering can (the soil should be wet to the touch).
Tips and warnings
- Check container for any moulding or drying out every two weeks.
- If there is any mould in the bag throw it away.
- Wear gloves when handling milled sphagnum moss.
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