How Do I Germinate Guayacan Seeds?

“I have tried unsuccessfully to germinate seeds “Lignum Vitae”. I have asked the grower what to do and followed their guidance…..any suggestions?” Question from Eddie of Chula Vista, California

Dear Eddie,

The Caribbean tree-of-life or guayacan (Guaiacum officinale (syn. Lignum vitae), Zones 10-12) is rarely grown in the US. In my experience plants of tropical origin with large seeds have a short life and germinate quickly where native. Getting fresh seed of Guaiacum officinale just off of the plant will likely be a challenge because it is hard to find. If you do find fresh seeds, then a pre-treatment is needed to get them to germinate:

I also found another article about starting the seeds (Click here to read the article.) You can try buying the seeds once more if you can find a fresh source that can be shipped quickly. Another option is to buy a plant. There are online sources, though they are uncommon: I hope that this information helps.

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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