Germinating Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (indian night jasmine)

Sunnyvale, CA


I have a few (15/20) nyctanthes arbor-tristis (parijaat/indian night jasmine/sad jasmine) seeds with me.
I need help in germinating these seeds.

I believe these seeds are viable. I am trying to germinate these seeds indoors but I did not have any success so far.
I tried to germinate them in peat moss pellets but no sign of seedlings even after one week. I did not go through any pretreatment. I took the seeds out of their pods and put them in wet/damp peat moss pellets. I put 3 seeds flat and 3 seeds edgewise. No luck so far. The indoor temperature was 60 to 70 degrees F.

I have attached a picture of these seeds with and without their pods. I cannot afford to experiment much with these seeds as I have a very limited number with me.

Can someone advise me how to properly germinate these seeds?


This message was edited Jul 5, 2012 10:55 AM

Thumbnail by chiku_ca
Sunnyvale, CA

Finally I have had some success with germination of seeds.
The success rate is around 1 in 10 seeds germinate when conditions are favorable.
I got more seeds (around 70/80) and experimented liberally with those seeds.

My observations with Nyctanthes arbor-tristis are as follows:

1) Peat moss pellets do not work. : My success rate is 0 % (I spent around 30 seeds and none of them germinated)
2) Low temperatures do not work. Temperatures above 70 F is what allows the seeds to sprout.
3) Seeds should be broken out of their pods. If seeds stay inside their pods, they eventually rot.
4) If seeds are too thin, they will not germinate. I did not have any success with edgewise thin seeds, small but meaty seeds were ok.
5) Dryness does not work, seeds should never get dry. Wetness also does not work. But moisture works.

What works?

1) Topsoil loosened,
2) Paper & bag
3) Moisture
4) High temperature (it is from the tropics).
5) Scarring [added 08/20/2012]

I planted around 40/50 seeds in loose topsoil in my vegetable patch. The outdoor temperature was consistently above 65 F and most of the time above 70 F. The vegetable patch was kept moist by periodic watering. Excess water always drained away. After about 3 weeks I saw the first set of seedlings. In about a month I have total 4 seedlings growing in my vegetable patch. I have attached the pictures.

I put 10 seeds in a moist paper towel. Put the paper towel in a zip-lock bag and puffed it up by blowing air in it. Left the zip-lock bag by the window. After about 10 days one of the seeds sprouted. I see that one more seed is still healthy and it may sprout. Paper bag method has been the fastest and most successful method so far.

[Edit 08/20/2012] I gently filed some seeds with a file/sandpaper just enough to tear away a little bit of seed coat to expose the seed and increase water permeability. This scarring increased the germination rate from 1:10 to 6:10. Some botanists believe that scarring does not have any advantage. That may well be the case. The improved germination may be because of higher ambient temperatures. But the bottom line is, it did not hurt the seeds and I saw higher success rate.

I have attached some pictures.

Now it is all about taking care of these seedlings and growing them into healthy plants. Any pointers in this matter are well appreciated.


This message was edited Jul 24, 2012 2:22 PM

This message was edited Aug 20, 2012 2:33 PM

Thumbnail by chiku_ca Thumbnail by chiku_ca Thumbnail by chiku_ca

Thank you for your advise. I am trying to germinate a batch these days before it gets cold and your paper towel method sounds very promising. Thanks again!

Sunnyvale, CA

This is how a seedling has grown in 3 months.

This message was edited Sep 17, 2012 11:47 AM

Thumbnail by chiku_ca
Cerritos, CA

I am really amazed. I have been waiting to get the seeds I have ordered from india. I got some from Georgia vines about a month ago, when I tried to get the shell out a very this fragile almost moth eaten seed came out 5/6 seeds. The last one I planted but is rotten. Anyway, I will try again when I get more seeds. For you how many seedings survived? Do you want to sell any? Thanks.

Frisco, TX

I can imagine the feeling of accomplishment here.
Still trying and not giving up!!!

Sunnyvale, CA

[quote="chiku_ca"]This is how a seedling has grown in 3 months.

This plant did not survive the winter frost :(.

I should have potted it and brought it indoors. It had grown about 1ft tall. I foolishly assumed that it will survive the cold if I cover it. But the temperatures dropped to 34 F and the plant did not make it through the frost.

Back to square one ...

Holly Springs, NC(Zone 7b)

I recommend scarring the seeds, soaking them for 24 hours, and then planting them in a non-soil seeding mix. You'll probably want to give them some BOTTOM heat and keep them in about 70 degrees. Don't let them dry out, but no need to drown them as the soaking will have moistened the interior of the seed.

Sunnyvale, CA

Hi Chiku_ca,

I am very sorry to hear that you plant did not survive. Have you tried to grow Parijat again? can you please provide update? I am very much interested in growing Parijat in pot. I have fond memories of Parijat when growing up in India.

There seems to be very little information available on web on how to grow it.

Btw, I live in the same town near Vallco Mall, so we probable share same/similar micro climate.

I'd appreciate prompt response.

Sunnyvale, CA

I have 2 plants in pots. 1 plant is 1 year old. It stayed indoors in a small seeding pot for about 10 months and for the past 2 months it is outdoors after re-potting in a 2 gallon pot. It lost all the leaves after I moved it outdoors. I had lost all hope on it. But very recently (about a month back) new leaves have sprouted. These new leaves are very small though.

The other plant is about 4 months old. I recently re-potted it and moved it outdoors. I hope it survives.

Sunnyvale, CA

I learned that when this plant is small, re-potting does not go well with it because of transplantation shock. I also learned that if this plant gets root bound, it is difficult for it to survive.

It is better to re-pot this plant in a large container before it gets root bound. It is important to be careful while transplanting It. Also don't let them have wet-feet/cold-feet after you transplant them. It is better if the root-ball does not lose any soil when you transplant. This way it will have minimal transplantation shock.

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

I need seed Parijat -Harsingar nyctanthes arbor-tristis .Can any boby tell is it avaible in UAE Sharjah contact [email protected]

Fremont, CA(Zone 9b)

Hi Chiku_ca,

I have been contemplating growing a Parijat plant in a pot as well and am in Zone 9B.

Thank you very much for the detailed explanation on germinating the seeds. I was wondering how your plant is doing now and if there are any tips with regards to how much it would grow in a 2 gallon pot?

I have limited space and would not be able to go beyond a 10-15 gallon pot.


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