Sea buckthorn is a ‘super food’ and a tree of increasing economic importance due to the health benefits it provides. The seeds contain high levels of antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, and flavonoids, which help to strengthen the immune system and protect you from disease, as well as strengthening your heart. It has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy to relieve cough, aid digestion, invigorate blood circulation and alleviate pain. The juice is used as a sweetener for herbal teas. And the berries are often made into sauces, marmalades, and jellies.
Perennial: Hardy in Zones 3-8
When to Sow: Spring to early Fall
Ease of Germination: Moderate
How to Grow Sea Buckthorn
Canadian viewers can purchase the seeds here: Sea buckthorn seeds.
Sea buckthorn seeds require 90 days stratification at 5°C/40°F to overcome dormancy, or you can soak them in water for 48 hours prior to sowing them. They need some light to germinate so make sure you either surface sow them or lightly cover with soil. I’ve found that soaking the seeds works quite well instead of the hassle of stratifying them.
Sea buckthorn is a perennial shrub. It is hardy in zones 3 to 8. The plant prefers light, sandy soil. Sea buckthorn will grow best in full sun, as it needs a lot of energy to produce a large crop of berries. It cannot tolerate shade at any stage of growth. Prior to sowing, the seeds should be soaked in water for 48 hours and at this time seeds that are floating should be discarded. Surface sow the seeds onto a sterilized garden soil mix. Always keep soil moist but never soggy. It’s very important not to let the soil dry out or the seedlings will die. When the seedlings have a few sets of leaves, transplant them outside in spring after any risk of frost has passed. Spacing: 1 m (3′) between plants, 4 m between rows.
Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition.