Smoke As A Catalyst to Germination
Extensive research over several years at the famous Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Perth, Western Australia and at several other organisations has shown that the seeds of many species of Australian native plants benefit from – or even require – the naturally occurring chemicals in the smoke from the burning of Australian bush litter as a catalyst to germination.
Australian bushlands often regenerate quickly after a bush fire. Much of this is due to the germination of seeds after the fire. Seeds are often released after the fire into a bed of ashes or are already in the soil covered by ash. When good rains arrive chemicals from the smoke held in the ash and soil help to trigger the germination of the seeds.
The burning of leaves and grass on top of potting mix before sowing the seeds will also work for some seeds – but this can be impractical in a home environment.
Our Packaged Wildflower Seed Starter Granules
Convenient, effective, economical, natural and safe. This is a granular non-bio material (similar to Vermiculite) containing the smoke and chemicals from the burning of bush materials. It is designed to be sprinkled on top of the soil or potting mix after sowing the seeds. The first watering of the seeds will release the smoke chemicals from the Seed Starter to wash around the seeds. Alternatively, for seeds which need to be soaked in water before sowing, the Seed Starter granules can be placed in the water with the seeds.
Wildflower Seed Starter is recommended for most of our range of packaged seeds and it will not harm others in our range for which smoke treatment is not normally required. In addition, smoke treatment can also help produce stronger seedlings – in many cases improving their survival after germination. The chemicals of smoke held in the Seed Starter are – as far as we know – safe to handle despite being a little strong smelling.
Click here to learn about How Much Seed Starter Should I Use?
Smoke treatment should assist the germination of Australian native plant seeds in other climates – given the right soil conditions and proper care from the grower.
For best results follow the instructions on the selected seed envelope and the additional instructions on the Seed Starter envelope.
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