Seed Treatments

Our packets are labelled with “Smoke”, “HWT/Scarify”, or “Cold Stratify” if a seed pre-treatment is known to improve germination. Viable seeds are essentially alive but of course dormant. Pre-treatments are used prior to sowing to help break this dormancy, often simulating natural environmental conditions such as bushfires.


Smoke treatment recommended – Smoked vermiculite:  A dry granulated smoke-infused product designed to promote germination of smoke responsive species. It is specifically designed for use on seed trays and developed to improve application techniques of smoked water at nursery level. It has the same density and consistency as commercial vermiculite. It will accomodate hand or mechanical spreading applications onto seed or tube stock trays.

Once water is applied, the smoke-water is released into the growing medium, thereby interacting with the seed in situ. The phenolic compounds within smoke also promote natural fungicide. Recommended application rate is 120 grams per square metre, spread over the surface of the growing medium.

For more information on smoke treatment visit Seed Germination Data Sheet.


Scarification recommended. The aim of this pre-treatment is to break the hard seed coat. This can be achieved by using a sharp knife or sandpaper. We offer a scarification service for quantities greater than 250g at a cost of $5.50 per kilo/species or part thereof.


Hot water treatment recommended. This applies to hard-coated seeds and is an alternative to the above method. This treatment can vary with the type of seed but usually involves pouring hot water (close to boiling) over the seeds and soaking for a few minutes to a few hours.

“Cold Stratify”

This simulates the period of dormancy during winter and then the return to ambient temperature recreates the onset of spring. Mostly applies to alpine and sub-alpine species. This requirement can be accommodated by placing seed in a closed container (containing moist vermiculite or similar material) in a refrigerator for 1-3 months before sowing.

There are other treatment methods, but the above are the most common. In this field of knowledge there is much yet to be known…

For further information see the ASGAP Guide to Plant Propagation from Seed