Should Turkish rocket be cold stratified?

Turkish rocket seed.
Turkish rocket seed.

Despite turning up in near every book on perennial vegetable gardening, tips on starting Turkish rocket (Bunias orientalis) from seed seem scarce.

I sowed the seed in sifted compost, covered with a flat to keep animals from getting in, and left it in the cold.

I first tried planting it indoors, as the only information I had found said the sprouts appear 4-6 weeks after planting, and got nothing. I assumed the seeds must have been bad.

I tried seed the next year from the only other source I could find, but stratified the seeds outdoors from January to mid-March. This was about two months of subfreezing temperatures and resulted in near 100 percent germination

I’m growing more this year and bought the seed from the first source. I’m pretty confident lack of cold was the only problem.

I wonder how short a stratification is enough though?  Having the opportunity, I’m planting in January again.  If anyone sprouts them successfully with less (on purpose, or by accident), let me know.

Right now Wojchiech Smyzanski, who is a private seed collector that sells seed from his collection, and Restoration Seeds are the only two sources for the seed I know of. If you happen to know of another, or would be interested in selling or trading some of your own, let me know and I’ll add you to my seed sources page.


  1. After reading your post last year about Turkish rocket, I bought some seeds from Restoration and planted them. They came right up in late summer, with no cold treatment. I’m not sure that they made enough growth to survive the winter, so I may need to plant again. But somewhere down the road, I look forward to having enough buds to eat.


    1. Oh….. well that rather disproves my idea they need stratification. Thanks for letting me know.

      I guess back to the drawing board to figure out why I didn’t get any sprouts the first time I tried.

      Then again, I have an inkling of who I’m talking to. You aren’t the average gardener. About what percentile do you think you got? >

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If you don’t mind the postage, I can see 4 sources in the UK – a couple on ebay plus which I know to be solid and which I have no experience with.

    Maybe you can look at seedaholic’s sowing notes to see if they can add anything to your experience:

    Also, in the USA, there’s which apparently sells grown plants but has currently run out. I mention this because I read that if roots are wounded, they will sprout (think comfrey).


  3. Once you decide to order from outside the US you can also consider from France. They can take their sweet time to send your package but they always do. And hey, it’s only January. They carry a huge selection of just about every kind of seed.


    1. I feel quite inept now. I’ve seen before, but didn’t notice they had that. This is why I publish my seed sources. Thanks. It’s not so much a problem of buying outside the US. Wojciech, who’s seed I’ve had the best luck with, is in Poland.

      Food forest farm is pretty much always sold out. I will be dividing some of my plants/ making root cuttings. I’ll have to post on it to let everyone know how it goes. There’s one especially large plant that grew up from a dropped seed, so it will be an attempt at eradication. I don’t have much hope of succeeding at that, and if it does come back I certainly won’t mind. I’m getting seed because I have two clients for whom I drew up perennial vegetable garden designs and I said I’d grow them plants.

      I have had an account with b-and-t for a while but have yet to actually order from them. I might soon though, as they have cabbage thistle (Cirsium oleraceum), which after reading Barstow’s “Around the World in 80 Plants” I want. -Any experience with that?

      Thanks again for opening my eyes to the other sources.



  4. Not much experience really with non-woody plants other than lucky breaks… When I try, I eventually fail more often than not because my available time and concentration comes in fits and starts. This is more compatible with shrubs and trees so that’s what I focus on.
    Seedaholic is reliable. B-and-t is good but delivery times are all over the map.


  5. I think a lot of things in gardening happen “just cuz.” Or, more accurately, a thousand small nonmeasurable things about the soil, weather, microbiota, and who knows what else conduct to one outcome rather than another. More and more, I think that “wisdom” in gardening can be summed up as “plant a bunch of stuff all over the place, and don’t get too hung up on things that fail.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Words to live by. Thank you for reminding me.

      I asked because I figured you might have used some high quality compost. Thinking back the first time I tried and failed I used potting soil. Many fungi exude small amounts of gibberillic acid which is well known for breaking some seeds’ dormancy, and for some seeds is necessary for sprouting.


  6. Thanks for this…..I’ve also tried Turkish Rocket this year and so far nothing – to be fair they have been in the seed tray about 3 weeks so still a chance.

    I’m going to try cold stratification after soaking (also a bit of scarification with sandpaper on a few lol) with some seeds today in the fridge – hoping 4 weeks is enough! Any ideas on the shortest time and the approx temp?

    Maybe the post about the seeds that germinated had already experienced some cold before you bought them? I’ve started to think quite a few hardy perennials would benefit from this – after all its what they would experience in nature.

    Anyone had luck with Good King Henry…..had similar problems last year and think it may be down to needing stratification.

    I wish there were more sites with better information on growing these types of edible perennials from seed – so thanks for posting!


    1. I have had best success with medium temps in the 50 to 70 degree range from shaded areas next to bricks under my planting tables. The more regular moisture may also be an element. And I find this for both rocket and GKH.

      Apologies for the late reply. Hope you’re finding success this time.


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