Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Member only

Seed-Starting Pre-Treat

Most seeds germinate readily, but others may require a few extra steps to achieve good results

This video is only available to All Access members

This video is available online for the first time ever exclusively for All Access members. Sign up for a free trial to access our entire collection of videos, articles, and plant records.

Start Your Free Trial

Cultivated seeds, removed from nature, are removed from the natural processes they would be undergoing in the passage of the seasons and may require artificial stimuli to overcome dormancy. Scarification is the abrasive processes that some hard-coated seeds undergo in natural soils or the digestive tracts of birds and mammals; while stratification describes the warm moist conditions preceded by cold moist conditions seeds experience when left on the ground through the winter.

In this video, Adrianna Vargo, nursery manager of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants at Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia, demonstrates a couple of techniques you can use to emulate these conditions before sowing the seeds.

For more on starting seeds read her article 10 Seed-Starting Tips in the January/February 2003 of Fine Gardening (#89).

Learn more…
Find links to articles, blog posts, and videos on starting vegetable and flower seeds: All About Starting Seeds

This article is only available to Fine Gardening members

View Comments


  1. User avater
    SimpleSue 02/15/2019

    I'm happy to have just learned about "stratification" on Columbine seeds in particular. I also like to grow Purple Bean Hyacinth Vine from seed each year and I think this year I will try some "scarification" to get them to sprout faster. Thanks for a very informative article.

Log in or become a member to post a comment on this article.

Related Articles

The Latest

Magazine Cover

Take your passion for plants to the next level

Subscribe today and save up to 44%

"As a recently identified gardening nut I have tried all the magazines and this one is head and shoulders above the pack."


View All