How to Germinate a Tamarind Seed

Tamarind pods contain seeds that germinate in warm temperatures.
Tamarind pods contain seeds that germinate in warm temperatures. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Tamarind, perhaps best known for its brown, edible seed pods, is native to Africa and widely grown in warm climates around the world. Growing your own tamarind tree has several advantages; for example, its wood makes tough, durable lumber and all parts of the tree may help treat digestive disorders and jaundice. When scarified in warm water, tamarind seeds germinate readily. Tamarind seedlings can live indoors in a container, or you can plant them in your garden to grow a full-size tree, providing you are in an acceptable climate for the plants to thrive.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed starting tray
  • Potting soil
  • Compost
  • Heating mat (optional)

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Collect ripe pods from the tamarind tree and set them in the sun to dry. The drying process takes up to one week.

Break open the dried tamarind pods. Remove the pulp and gently wash it in lukewarm water to separate the seeds. Let the seeds dry in a shady spot for two days.

Soak the tamarind seeds in a glass of lukewarm water for 24 hours before planting. If desired, cut the edge of the tamarind seed coat with a knife. This scarification improves germination.

Fill a container with potting mix. Plant each tamarind seed about 1/2 inch deep and 1 to 2 inches apart. Sprinkle compost over the top layer of soil. Moisten the soil with water. If desired, place the container on a heating mat.

Wait for tamarind seedlings to emerge. This usually takes between five and 10 days. Some tamarind seeds take a month to germinate. Do not immediately place tamarind seedlings in direct sunlight.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plant the tamarind tree in a garden, where it can grow to full size, if you want to harvest pods from it. Container-bound tamarind trees are unlikely to bear pods.


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