Soap Tree Seeds

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About & Species

Soap Tree Seeds
(Gymnocladus chinensis)

The Soap Tree is the Chinese relative to the Kentucky Coffeetree. Native to China and East Asia the Soap Tree is a slow-growing tree that grows up to 40 feet tall. It is considered a rare ornamental tree. Hence its name - the fruit is used for washing fabrics and in body washes.  

Soil Type: Prefers deep well-drained soil in full sun.

Zones: 8 to 11

Germination Range: 60-80%

Stratification Requirement: This seed has a hard shell and requires stratification.

Indoor Planting: If your seeds require stratification or scarification – do the recommended pretreatment before planting indoors. Planting Instructions: Fill a container with seed starting mix to about ½ inch from the top. Place your seeds 1 inch to 1 ½ inches below the soil surface. Gently water your seeds to keep moist, not soaking wet. Heat & humidity is critical for germination. Germination may occur in 1 week or as long as 3 months (depending on the species). Place the seed container on a heat mat under growing light(s). Keep your growing lights on 14 hours per day. Keep your heat mat on 24 hours per day. Once your seeds germinate, move each seed into its own container under the growing lights and on the heat mat. Keep your seedlings indoors for 2-3 months before transplanting outdoors in the spring (May to June).

Outdoor Planting: If your seeds do not require stratification: the best time to plant tree and shrub seeds outdoors is after the last frost in your area (spring). In the Northern states – the best time to plant seeds outdoors is from May to June. If your seeds require pretreatment: you should plant your seeds outdoors before the ground freezes in your area (late September to early November). Your seeds will naturally stratify during the cold winter. Germination usually occurs in May or during the spring season.