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Old 02-13-2009, 02:44 PM
Location: USA
3,966 posts, read 10,141,531 times
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I was in the store the other day look at the large abundance of seeds from herbs to vegies and wondered, how long would they last in that little package.
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:04 PM
Location: Beautiful Raleigh, NC
532 posts, read 2,740,223 times
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I'm looking at some seed packets I just bought. They say "packed for 2009 Sell By 11/09". IMO this means they are fine in the packet until 11/09. I'll bet the packets you are looking at are dated.
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:06 PM
Location: rain city
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The packages come with a use-by date. Once the seed packet is opened though, the seeds should be used that season.

Depending on the kind of seed and the climate conditions, some seeds can remain viable for centuries, and longer. Archeology digs turn up viable seeds stored in pottery jars from ancient times.
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Old 02-13-2009, 03:49 PM
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I really do not know for sure. I know I have planted seeds (like poppies, nastursiams(sp?), cosmos, merigolds, 4 O'clocks, pinks, dianthis, columbine, cucumbers, and a few others.) that were at least 10 yeas old and still had plants come up. I think if you keep them in a tight container in a cool dark area a lot of seeds will last a really long time.
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:38 PM
Location: somewhere close to Tampa, but closer to the beach
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Overall seed viability often depends on not only the manner of which they are stored..but also on plant genetics...

While many will store well, and still germinate years later,..some are notoriously short lived...and have to be planted within the year of harvest...

Some good examples of this type include such tropicals like Plumeria seeds which are best sowed within the first season after they are produced...I myself have tried this and had nearly a 100% success rate that first year..

The following season,.i went ahead and started left over seed..and out of the 15 i started,..only one completed germination..

Another example are the Tabebuia ( trumpet tree ) genus.. Last summer i purchased seed from a source which i thought had harvested fresh seed..none of them germinated after i attempted 3 different seeding techniques...and further examination of left over seed revealed that the seed embryos themselves were dessicated..so i went ahead and purchased seedling plants which are developing quite well..and appear to be hardier to my area than what was suggested..both specimen saplings taking two nights of direct exposure to tempertures of 27f..with no problems or damage,..can't say the same for my 2yr old Plumeria seedlings which really took a hit even though they were sheltered..

For anyone looking to work with this genus from seed in zones 9a and 9b.. where obtaining specimens of any size are hard to come by, make sure you get fresh seed..

Other things which can influence germination success include where the parent plants came from...

Out here in CA., many of our natives herald from areas which have a natural fire cycle and seeds from plants like Flannel bush, Manzanita, many Pines, several Annual and perennial species, and even some of the Salvia species must have a burn treatment in order to sprout..and trust me,..this technique works quite well with any of these..

Still,..there are seeds which require a certain amount of winter cold..or a freeze/thaw cycle to sprout. Dodecatheon, and Meconopsis are acouple ..

Then there are several Palm species which only respond to a certain degree and duration of warm tempertures of the soil to sprout..and even when these conditions are met,..may take 1-3 years to emerge..

The seeds of most legumes ( Peas, beans, Coral tree {Erythrina}, Cassia, Lupine, Dwarf poinciana family) have very hard seeds which were genetically designed to remain in the soil for long periods of time and are generally quite long lived when stored properly..This is why Acacia or scotch broom seed will appear sometimes years after the original plant was removed..Ive readily started lupine seed years after id collected them

The one thing which often will shorten seed viability in storage,..moisture. always make sure seed of any type is stored in a cool, dry location.

As for light exposure,..id say keep them somewhere dark..or at least away from direct light..some are very sensitive to it..

Lastly,..when planting, remember that smaller seeds must be placed just below the surface...mainly because these are " Light responsive " types and will not germinate when planted too deep..

Many larger seeds can be safely placed a little deeper..

Still,..there are a few which seem to require deep planting..for successful germination..
infact,..some palm and lily seeds seem to work their way down to a certain depth before sprouting..
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:12 PM
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow in "OZ "
24,286 posts, read 26,136,133 times
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They found fertile seeds in the "Great Pyramids".... as long as they are dry and in a dark place they should ( depending ) on type last for years... Put them in plastic zip lock bags or containers. In a closet in the house....
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