Directions for Germinating Belladonna Seeds
Belladonna (Atropa belladonna) seeds are very likely to be dormant and may not germinate without a pre-germination treatment. The exact dormancy mechanism is not clear, so several methods have been proposed to break seed dormancy.
Pre-Germination Treatment Choices
1. Gibberellic Acid. Seeds are soaked in a 100-200 ppm gibberellic acid (GA3) solution for 3-4 hours. Gibberllic acid is a natural plant hormone. It is available from horticultural and scientific supply houses.
2. Seeds are soaked in concentrated sulphuric acid for 2-3 minutes, then rinsed thoroughly in water before planting.
3. Seeds are soaked in a 25% (w/w) solution of caustic soda (sodium hydroxide), then rinsed thoroughly in water.
4. Seeds are soaked 8-10 hours in water, followed by freezing for 24 hours at 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). Putting the seeds in a freezer will work.
It is our recommendation that one of choices 2-4 be followed by choice 1. There are several reports that belladonna seeds need gibberellic acid. The other choices, #2-4, all work to physically alter the seed coat, while the gibberellic acid works to alter the hormonal balance in the seeds to cause the seed embryos to begin development.
After pre-treatment, sow in a seed box and keep the box at 25-35 degrees Celsius (75-95 degrees Fahrenheit). Germination will be slow and sporadic, taking 100-200 days.