Sweetshrub – Growing More From Seeds

Q: I have a sweetshrub bush with several seed pods. Can these be planted to produce more bushes. How would I go about doing it? And when?

A: University of Georgia horticulturist Dr. Michael Dirr seems to have found time to propagate every woody plant on the planet. He has plenty of information about planting sweetshrub seeds. His first observation is that planting the seeds just as the pods are changing from green to brown gives great results. He notes, however, that planting the seeds after they have become hard enough to shoot from a gun gives terrible results. Many shrub and tree seeds need a period of cold and moisture in order to germinate. (The process is called ^stratification^.) If you have stored the seeds indoors since you collected them, they still need to be stratified. You can accomplish this by wrapping the seeds in damp sphagnum moss, putting the moist mass in a plastic bag and shoving it to the back of your refrigerator compartment. Leave the seeds there for three months then remove and plant them in a plastic flat full of potting soil. A quicker way to get a sweetshrub would be to return to the spot where you collected the seeds and dig up a sweetshrub sprout from the clump. There are usually dozens within five feet of a mature plant.