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SpecialistMichael, MS, CSCS
Category: General
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Experience:  Senior Information Specialist
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Can anyone explain the "cold treatment" process of certain

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Can anyone explain the "cold treatment" process of certain seeds? What does it mean and what happens if seeds are not cold treated? This question is specific to Rose seeds.

Mike here again - I hope the garden is getting there and the tomato plants are filling out a bit.

So the idea behind cold treatment is basically a winter simulation so it can break that dormant cycle. So roses for example generally are from colder(colder than equatorial for example) climates, so the dormancy(I think of it as laziness) period basically needs a kick start to get out and grow/germinate. Basically its a simulation of the typical moist, cold winter - like a bear hibernates in winter before spring where they grow and fatten up... same idea.

Northern states have that period like winter :).

Usually its a sub 45 degree temps for roughly 3 months, slightly damp paper towels and just check and make sure they are damp..

Does it make sense?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks Mike, sorry I don't know why I didn't think to specifically ask you this question but I'm glad you responded. Garden and tomatoes doing well I'm glad to say. If the seeds were not cold treated would you say it could take up to 3 mos to germinate? This is what the seed seller told me.
Thanks, Dave.
Thats great to hear.

The seeds could definitely take 4-8 weeks to germinate and sure, conceivably up to 3 months. This is why a lot of people do this cold stratification before planting, the seeds really like that "signal" of "winter.

There are tons of seeds that are cold treated already, but I take it yours were not?

If you're planting them now and want to try it, you could kinda-sorta get a faux cold treatment. You would have to put them in a place(if planted) where the temps at night reach something in the area of maybe 55ish(though im not sure how cool it gets there) and then keep them in that spot, at least at night for a week or 2. Really though it shouldn't hinder germination, they just prefer that cold treatment in the months before planting.
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