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i've been trying to grow some wild plums from seed. They've spent two months in the fridge in a ziplock bag with some perlite and a bit of water, after that i've cracked them and placed the seeds in a wet paper towel. I dunked them beforehand in some water to check if any are viable. they've been now for months at room temp and nothing is sprouting. There were 15 seeds, only three moulded and I removed those, the rest have been in the wet paper towel and haven't shown any signs of moulding or sprouting, they're just not moving anywhere. I even put them on a seedling matt 10 days ago, and still nothing. Any ideas on what's going on / what I might be doing wrong?

  • put them in very damp soil, then let them sprout for about 3 weeks, and pull them out for planting – black thumb Apr 7 at 16:30
  • Thank you, i'll give all suggestions a try. Play around a bit with it. – vandelfi Apr 7 at 20:13
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I'm not sure what cracking them would do, except possibly damage them.

Your stratification procedure sounds OK, but after that they should have been planted about 3 inches deep in compost in pots, not kept on a paper towel. You could try doing that now, then stop fussing over them (except for keeping the compost damp) and just wait. If they don't germinate within 6 months, you probably killed them with your attempts to be kind.

Bear in mind that trees don't need to be efficient about reproduction. If just one plum germinates from all the plums the tree produces in its entire lifetime, that is enough to make the next generation of trees.

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  • thank you for answering, i cracked the seed shells to be able to use the seeds in the wet paper towel method. I'll try putting a couple in compost, see what happens. – vandelfi Apr 6 at 11:04
  • If this fails and you want to try again this fall, Michael Dirr (North American authority on all things woody) writes that you should just plant the pits/seeds outdoors in the autumn - they'll sprout when ready in the spring. If you'd like to try an indoor method, in my own experience you should plant the pits 2 inches in basic seedstarting mix in a small pot, then refrigerate for three months, not two. – Jurp Apr 6 at 13:14
  • Thank you for the input. I'll definitely try out both this autumn. I saw others on youtube putting in soil in a small cup and then stratifying in the fridge as well. I'm thinking now that my stratification period was too short. In any case, it's something to try out and see. – vandelfi Apr 6 at 18:44
  • They may require freezing cycles as part of the layering process. – blacksmith37 Sep 3 at 14:37

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