Growing raspberries from seed...

18 September, 2014

One thing I've always wanted to grow has been golden raspberries. Those golden orbs have been tantalising me ever since I started growing my own fruit, and despite my best efforts over the years have evaded me.

Raspberry, growing and harvesting tips

I mean, who isn't jealous of this sort of harvest.

I have tried three lots of golden raspberry canes to no avail. They all survived, but nary a one has produced a yellow berry. Plenty of red ones, but not a golden berry in sight. I have no idea why. (Feel free to illuminate me should you have the answer.)

So I have defaulted to the next (and perhaps only other) option: growing from seed.

I'm sure seed grown raspberries have all the perils of any other seed grown plant i.e. it is somewhat of a genetic gamble. But I'm prepared to give it a go.

I purchased two lots of seed (on ebay, so it must be legit); a golden raspberry and an orange raspberry, whatever that may be.

The seeds are funny looking things, kinda like a peanut.

These were actually purchased a while ago, and have been sitting in my fridge doing the required time, to stimulate a cold winter.

Now that we are in spring I am eager to see if they will actually grow. So out of the fridge they came.

The tricky thing about raspberry seeds is that they have a very tough outer coating, which makes getting water in to allow the seed to germinate very challenging.

In the wild the seeds rely on animals eating them, which exposes the seeds to stomach acids which break down the protective coating, meaning after they have passed out of the animals systems the seeds are more easily able to absorb water and germinate.

Given I don't exactly have an friendly neighbourhood wild animal I can ask to kindly process the seeds for me, I needed an alternative plan.

Doing a little online investigative work I found three main strategies to emulate the action of stomach acid:
1. Scratch the seed coating,
2. Use another acid (most commonly peroxide), or
3. Pour boiling water over the seeds.

So I thought I'd hedge my bets and give each of these a go, doing a little trial in the meantime.

Strategy 1: Scratch the seed coating.

The easiest way I found to do this was with a sewing pin and concentrating really hard (raspberry seeds are really very small). Occasionally the seeds were so hard the pin actually slipped off and the seeds pinged off in crazy directions. After a while I realised stabbing the seed coat with the pin worked much better than trying to scratch the seed coat surface.

The stabbed seeds look a little like this.

Strategy 2. Peroxide.

I used a 9% peroxide solution (as it was what it happened to be easiest to get my hands on) and let the seeds wallow in it for about 30 minutes, then rinsed it off.

It would be slightly ironic if this works best, as it just makes me think I've bleached out all the red colour of the raspberry. Of course I know this is scientifically absurd, but it makes me laugh.

Strategy 3. Pour boiling water over the seeds.

I simply poured over just boiled water from the kettle and then left them to cool.

The post-treatment seeds have all been laid out on kitchen paper, which is easier to keep moist compared to seed raising mix. It is also easier to inspect to see if the seeds germinate.

Each of the three methods have been clearly separated on the paper towel, so any obvious difference in germination rates between strategies should be able to be determined.

The paper towel then got lightly sprayed to moisten the paper towel.

The it all got folded up and put in a plastic bag.

Fingers crossed this works!


  1. Ooooh those are beautiful - no wonder you want to grow them. what a clever idea to trial the different ways.

    1. Cheers. I figure its just hedging my bets, hoping at least one of these is a successful method.

  2. I'll be interested to see what happens. I've grown strawberries from seed but not raspberries.

    1. I've grown alpine strawberries from seed, but not the general hybrid ones. I didn't know you could. I will be sure to blog results (if any...)

  3. I simply love little experiments like this - can't wait to see how it turns out!

  4. super dedicated you are, all those experiments. sounds and looks like something my dad would do.
    i love the look of the golden raspberries, especially when mingled with the normal red ones. do they have a different flavour?
    i can see them adorning a pavlova. not traditional pav topping, i know, but so pretty and festive for christmas.

    1. Really, they are less designed experiments and more a 'what the heck' moment. I have only eaten golden raspberries once, in Prague (bought at a market in gorgeous little fruit packs of strawberries, blueberries, red and golden raspberries and topped with a little sprig of redcurrants for eating on the go - it was divine!) and I recall them being a little less raspberry flavoured, though still noticeably raspberry flavoured (if that makes sense..)
      I agree, they would be excellent on a pav!

  5. Replies
    1. Sadly no. But that was also partly my fault as I wasn't keeping an eye on them as much as I probably should have. I'm going to give raspberry seeds another go this spring, and if they don't work then I'll give up on the idea of growing from seed.