The amelanchier tree, commonly called the serviceberry tree, grows 15 to 25 feet tall with an equal canopy spread. Cultivated for its ornamental value, amelanchier trees produce abundant white blossoms in spring that are set against silver or grey ornamental bark. Small magenta or burgundy fruits develop in summer, attracting birds to the garden. You can propagate amelanchier from seeds collected from the ripe fruit. Successful propagation depends on seed treatment before planting, temperature and the growing medium.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Bucket or zip-top bag
- Peat moss
- Vermiculite or perlite
- 2 to 4-inch pot
- 8 to 10-inch pot
- Potting soil
Collect ripe fruit from the amelanchier tree in mid to late summer. Cut open the fruit and remove the seeds. Place the seeds in a sieve, and wash any remaining traces of fruit away.
Select a small bucket, such as a yoghurt bucket, or a zip-top bag. Mix together equal parts damp sand and moist peat moss. Lay a 1- to 2-inch layer of the mix on the bottom of the bucket or inside the zip-top bag.
Place the amelanchier seeds inside on the peat and sand mix, and cover with another 1 to 2 inches of the material. Place the seeds in the refrigerator for 90 to 120 days. Check the mix every one to two weeks, and mist the mix with water if it starts to dry out.
Fill a 2- to 4-inch pot with seed starting mix. Look for a soilless pre-mixed material at home and garden centres. Make a suitable seed starting mix by combining equal parts peat moss, perlite and sand, or peat moss, vermiculite and sand. Perlite and vermiculite are similar inorganic mineral-based substances that provide drainage and aeration in potting mixes, and they can be used interchangeably.
Make a hole in the centre of the pot 1/4-inch deep. Place the amelanchier seed in the hole, and then cover it with 1/4-inch of the seed-starting mix. Dampen the mixture until it is damp all the way through.
Place the pots in filtered light, keeping them between 21.1 and 29.4 degrees Celsius. Add water when the soil at the top of the pot starts to dry out.
Transplant the amelanchier seeds into an 8- to 10-inch pot, filled with potting soil, when the seedlings grow 2 to 4 inches tall. Keep the seedlings in a greenhouse for the first year, and transplant them out in the spring of the second year.
Tips and warnings
- Amelanchier trees grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9.
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- The University of Texas at Austin Native Plant Database: Amelanchier Arborea
- North Carolina State University: Amelanchier Laevis
- University of Florida Environmental Horticulture: Amelanchier Canadensis
- Iowa State University Extension Horticulture and Home Pest News; Germination of Tree Seed; Richard Jauron; August 11, 2000