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Winter Sowing: Seed Viability

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birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2010
3:57 PM

Post #7752187

1. I have some Gallardia 'Red Plume' seed left over from last year. I have not sown any this year as I thought it would come back this year. So far, it has not. come back. I thought it was a perennial, but apparently, it is not. How long is this seed viable?
2. Can you tell me how to extend seed viability other than putting it in an envelope in a cool dark place? T & M says it's an annual.
3. I have the same question regarding Rudbeckia 'Cherry BranWand did not get any germination. Is this plant sterile? Any tips? I really like the plant. I tried this third question on Seed Germination Forum and received no answer.
This may not be the correct place to post this, but I hope someone here has an answer or direct me to the correct forum.
tabasco
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH
(Zone 6a)

May 4, 2010
3:17 AM

Post #7762452


1. Typically fresh gallardia seeds will germinate better than older seed. Often times gallardia seed germination is erratic. Usually it will take about 3 weeks in 68 to 75 degree temps to get it to germinate. They need light to germinate so don't cover with much soil at all. Gallardia are short lived perennials. They require impeccable drainage and sometimes this is difficult if you have wet winters .

2. To extend seed viability: many people keep their seed packets in a tupperware or tin in the refridgerator. I have heard of folks keeping their seed packets in the freezer too, but others say this is a no-no. I suppose it depends on which seeds you have in inventory. Otherwise keep them in a tin in the basement or other cool place. Many seeds keep well for years although their germination may not be tip-top. I keep my seed packets in a baseball card binder album~~I don't refrigerate but I probably should.

3. There is much discussion about germinating Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy' (is this the one you are growing?) on the Echinacea forum that may interest you. Apparently it is a happy reseeder although it sounds like some got mixed results. Germination should take about 3 weeks at around 70 degrees (and some recommended a cold period too) although some remarked that their seeds from Harris Seeds were not as a successful as others.

Here is the link: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/969011/

If you are Wintersowing your seeds, hang tight for a bit more. You may seem some results yet. I find rudebeckias are a bit fussy~~right now I have 5 containers of them~~some with the very same seeds in them and the results are quite erratic. A couple of the containers show nothing, the others are cram packed with seedlings. That's mother nature for you!
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

May 5, 2010
5:20 PM

Post #7767524

Thank you for the information. I have Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy' seed and I was wondering if the seed will be viable next year. It's a year old. The same goes for the Gallardia 'Red Plume'.
I read the Echinacea thread. It was interesting.
tabasco
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH
(Zone 6a)

May 17, 2010
1:25 PM

Post #7801376


birder, How is your seed sowing going?

Just to follow-up with your last post, you can't really tell if a seed will still be viable the next year, but chances are some of it will be good, especially if you store it properly. Though you probably won't get the same germination rate that you would have gotten if planted the first season.

If your echinacea is a hybrid, then there is always some question about whether the seed will produce true to form. Most times it will make some new plants and some of them, but not all, will be true to form.

But sometimes a hybrid will not make viable seed at all. Perhaps you can glean more info on your particular echinacea seed viability from the link I posted above.

Oftentimes the two best way for a home grower to make more of a flower they like, especially hybrids, is 'by division' or by 'root cuttings'. Good and thrifty gardeners have been know to buy one nice plant and then take cuttings from it and root in water or planting medium. You will have a baby plant right away and can plant it into the garden. There is more info on this on the Propagation Forum. Taking cuttings like this is only for your own use, not for sale: it's against the law to sell hybrid patented plants without a license.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

May 18, 2010
4:48 PM

Post #7805397

I did not sow either seed: Gallardia 'Red Plume' or Redbeckia 'Cherry Brandy'. I was really hoping they would come back from last year, but neither plant returned. I think they are both really nice plants, but I am disappointed they were not perennials. I may try to grow it next year.
tabasco
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH
(Zone 6a)

May 18, 2010
4:57 PM

Post #7805419


Oh, well, there's always next year for the garden...!

But I believe both of those are perennials, they just were not 'survivors' in your garden. I'm betting your gallardia succumbed to poor drainage, and who can tell about the rudbeckia? Don't know about that one. Sometimes they are fickle.

If you try to start them from seed next year since they are perennials (as opposed to annuals which complete their growth cycle in one year) they may take two seasons to come into bloom.

Good luck.
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

May 18, 2010
6:26 PM

Post #7805626

Rudbeckia hirta and gaillardias are short-lived perennials. I'm lucky to get 2 full years from them. Sometimes gaillardias do perform as annuals, only lasting one year. Neither like winter wet, and I have clay soil- 'nuff said there.

Rudbeckia Goldsturm are more reliable perennials.

Karen
hanseycollie
Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO
(Zone 5b)

May 19, 2010
7:10 AM

Post #7806666

Kqcrna, you just answered a question I had since none of my Gaillardias came back this year! I planted new ones last year and they were lovely, but with the horrendously wet and snowy winter we had, NONE of them returned. We also have clay soil though I planted them in MG hoping that would help. Thanks for the information ... mystery solved!
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

May 19, 2010
8:21 AM

Post #7806897

Well, last year, they both bloomed the first year after winter sowing. I planted them on a hill so I am thinking they probably had pretty good drainage.
I lost an Agastache 'Apricot Sprite' that was its second winter and the Gallardia 'Red Plume' and Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy'. I am some what puzzled why I lost them as they are all on a hill with pretty good drainage. My soil is minimally amended clay, but it was on a slope. I am happy to know that they are perennials. I thought they were when I purchased the seed fronm T&M, but they didn't come back this summer. And, after losing both plants, I checked back with the T & M catalog, and it said the R. 'Cherry Burgundy' is an annual.
Swalllowtail Seeds says Gaillardia 'Red Plume' is a perennial. Swallowtail also says it's an All American Selections Winner, so I am even more puzzled why it did not return. If they are perennials, I will winter sow them again.
I am a little discouraged regarding winter sowing annuals. It takes the little plants so long to "grow" before they bloom. And then, poof, they are gone. With the perennials, I winter sow them, and then plant them out in the fall. They do really well the next summer.
tabasco
Cincinnati (Anderson, OH
(Zone 6a)

May 19, 2010
9:35 AM

Post #7807160


Mmmmm...perhaps the soil on the slope is too clayey although the rain washes off it. I was just on another forum where they were discussing that issue. The 'expert' said that even though it would seem planting on a slope would be good 'drainage', if the soil has too much clay in it it still will not give the plant the aeration it needs. (Everyone on that forum then ordered loads of sand amendments! LOL)

Rudbeckias are wonderful in the garden (I love 'prairie sun'), but I think some of the echinaceas are stronger and more reliable (and the butterflies like them better for us). Perhaps subbing in one of the 'not overly hybvridized' echinaceas like 'ruby giant' for the pink rudbeckia...?

Gaillardias stink in our garden . If the wet soil doesn't get 'em the mildew from humidity will. I think they are truly meant for gardens in the southwest and California ...
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

May 19, 2010
3:43 PM

Post #7808186

Years ago, I had Gaillardia 'Goblin' and Gaillardia 'Burgundy' in the same area, and they bloomed a lot and returned for several years with neglect from me. It's a mystery to me why they did not come back. Maybe, they did not get well established before winter.
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

May 20, 2010
6:52 PM

Post #7812156

Coneflowers are definitely long-lived perennials. But if you love rudbeckia and want them to last for years, try Goldsturm.
http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/53325/

Karen
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

May 20, 2010
9:20 PM

Post #7812527

Yes, echinaceas are great. I have never tried any other Rudb. My brother grow Rudb. and it re-seeds and grows like crazy.

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Other Winter Sowing Threads you might be interested in:

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