Germinating Jubae

The germination of Jubae chilensis is technically very easy, but requires a lot of patience.

Fresh seeds must not be allowed to dry out and should be immediately planted. It is best to throw all of the nuts together in a kind of a bed, cover it with a layer of soil or saw dust about 10 cm. thick and keep it moist at all times. We had to wait for 10 months for the first sprouts to appear. From then on one should dig up the nuts from time to time, check them, take out those which germinated or started germination, and then cover up the remaining nuts. Never throw out the nuts which did not germinate, because the whole process of germination may take several years!

In Catholic University of Maule and even after FIVE YEARS still there were new sprouts coming! We have ours just over a year... As a rough estimate, the first year you may expect anywhere from 20 to 30 % of the nuts to germinate, and then each year the percentage will decrease, to total about 70% - 80%.

We have planted the seeds in April, they passed Chilean winter in the soil (humidity during 4 - 5 months, temperature in soil around +4 + 8C, with frosts down to -5 C), then in spring and summer the temperature went up to around +15 + 20 C and we continued to water it moderately. In January the first sprouts appeared.

There may be faster ways of germinating (by controlling temperature). A higher temperature (up to 30 C) may accelerate the germination (someone reported this method to us), but we do not have information whether the natural cold stratification we had is absolutely required or whether you can plant immediately at higher temperature. The long germination times are due to hard shell, and it may well be that alternating high and low temperature together with moisture one can accelerate the break-down of the shell and obtain faster germination.