As I was browsing for seeds today I saw a company has some caper seeds. Has anyone tried growing them? They look like a small shrub. I’m sure they wouldn’t be hardy here, but might be fun to try in a pot.
Travis, where did you find the seeds, if you don’t mind? I’ve attempted growing capers with no success. Got some seeds on Etsy - they ended up coming from Portugal. Tried them on two consecutive seasons but none germinated.
I found them on Richters. It looks like they have two kinds, the standard Mediterranean one and one that’s supposed to be more hardy. I ordered a pack of the hardy ones. We’ll see if they germinate.
Mine didn’t do anything. I tried them two years in a row. So, now I got seeds from another seller and just planted them today on a heated mat. These seeds looked much more legit. The first batch were puny and didn’t look much like seeds. Granted, I had never seen a caper seed before so I assumed they were supposed to look like that. Maybe they got crushed in the mail?
The ones I planted today looked nice and big, kinda resembling lupin seeds
Here’s where I got them:
Nothing yet for me. I stratified them for a couple months and moved them to a warm area now. The package even said germination rate can be low so I’m not very confident.
I have never tried.
They are weeds that pop up all over Malta and Italy. I wonder why they can be hard to germinate. Does not seem that way in Malta anyway.
Edit: Here is info about how to germinate the seeds, they need cold stratification, and they suggest a hot/warm water soak first, it does make sense to me, hot dry weather in Malta, followed by cooler weather would be similar to what they suggest Grow and Use Capers: Learn About the Caper Bush | Gardener's Path
I bought seeds from Wanderlust last year and cold stratified, soaked, then put on a heating pad and still had 0% germinate. I wonder if they just don’t last long outside the pods and dried out?
I was just reading if they dry out the odds of them germinating are much lower, whether it be a natural drying out, or an artificial drying out. If they dry out then that is when the warm water and then the cold stratification, then warm water soak again becomes necessary
Here is more good information about it From Seed To Table: Growing Capers From Seed
I bought caperbush seeds from JL Hudsonseeds – they are stratifying in my fridge now and I am doing a total of 2 months stratification before transferring to media with a warm mat. I also bought GA-3 to help them germinate (recommended by the vendor) so I may apply that to half my seeds to evaluate any increases in germination. I’m not very optimistic but it is worth a shot! As a backup I will also try to pickle pre-flowering nasturtiums this season, as I understand they can be a substitute for capers.
edit: before stratification I did a hot water soak for 24 hours.
I’d be very curious to hear how that goes! I tried something similar with my Umbellularia californica buds this year and they are still really tough, I think maybe they needed to be boiled for a bit before pickling. I took some photos of that attempt here:
Please report back if these sprout. I’ve also tried a couple time. I actually wonder if they did spout and I missed it. A couple of my pots have whispy threads that look like coir but more upright than I remember. But no green cotyledons.
Having read all this, I went back last night and dug up five of my ten seeds and put them in the fridge to stratify. I’ll be sure to post if they do anything
Can you see something sticking up here? This is the something that in hindsight, I wonder if I missed. Then cooked it by not moving it from heat mat to sunlight.
Ooo… maybe I just need to give it more time. They says germination can be as long as 3 months. I’m on week 7.
Also, looking back at my picture. It probably all looks like coir. But there is one that looks a bit different to me. In hindsight and all.
I can’t see much in that picture.
This is surely one high maintenance plant for being a weed that grows all over Italy.
@clarkinks I lied, I have a few sprouts!
I think I must have a c-block this year. I was just going through my sad looking seed greenhouse, and the empty pots are labeled, caper, cardamom, caroway, and cumin. The later two, I am stumped. They aren’t exactly known for difficultly. But we’re old seeds.
Those look promising!
After seeing the best way to germinate dry caper seeds, I realized that in Malta the climate is very similar to that Germination process. At least southern Italy and Sicily have a very similar climate to Malta. Where they grow like weeds nature takes care of germinating the seeds that dry in the heat.