Jonna - I didn't know that it needed light to germinate. Probably problem number 1. I did sow them at room temperature and then gave them a chill period. Then they're supposed to germinate at 41 to 53 degrees F. Was this your experience? Thanks so much for your response.
Usually I winter sow my Primula's (without giving them a warm period first) , but in August I sowed Primula capitata and they germinated quick without a cold period.
Just sprinkle the seeds on the surface. If you don't winter sow them, don't give them water from above (unless you have a very fine sprayer), otherwise the seeds may be washed into the ground. Just water them from the bottom. Don't overwater them, but never let them dry out.
I think not giving them light was your problem last year. If you got viable seeds, they'll germinate this time.
I started with three plants two or three years ago. I unintentionally left old flowers on the plants and they reseeded. I was surprised and excited. Does that count as winter sowing? They are not visible right now, but there must be at least a dozen now.
Thanks for the great advice. I'm ready to start sowing some seeds this weekend.
Shune - I'm hoping the plants will overwinter here since I think I may be pushing the zone a little. If it survives here, I'll be more than happy if it self-sows.
Cindy, you can leave them outside all winter, they'll germinate in spring. If you have enough seeds you can try to sow them indoors too.
Shune, it does count as uncontrolled winter sowing or sowing in autumn, haha. But the 'real' winter sowing is controlled, because the containers protect the seeds and later the seedlings against havy rain, slugs, mice, etc.
And self sowing is very nice if you want more plants, but if you want to grow new plants, winter sowing is a good option.
Well, it's the same here. I'm glad my Primula's Denticulata Lilac self sowed. Usually I oversee Primula seedlings in my garden because they're so very small and growing slowly in the beginning, so they are usually killed when I'm weeding.
Primula's grow very well in my zone 6, but the Primula Denticulata lilac is my favourite, because it has the biggest flowers and it's the first Primula that blooms here. The picture shows just a young plant, but I need really a space of at least 40cm when they grow up.
And I'm also in for new plants! I just winter sowed 200 new species. Usually at least 100 will germinate well.
Jonna - Those are beautiful! But I can't imagine starting 200 new species. Even 100 is stretching my resources. Do you do your WS differently than the milk jug technique? I have a portable cold frame that I use for protecting some more vulnerable perennials or shrub cuttings but I'm thinking if I got really ambitious, I could use that as one giant milk jug.
Keeping my fingers crossed on 'Miller's Crimson' as there were only 8 seeds left in the packet. But they are now nestled in a 4-pack inside a produce container outdoors. I don't have the right conditions for a lot of Primula but I'd love to have more.
Cindy, English is not my mother language, so I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'stretching my recources'. Can you please explain that to me?
Am I right that you're in zone 5? If so, you'll will be able to grow a lot of Primula's.
Well, 8 seeds is not much, but if they're viable it will give you a good start.
We have no giant milk jugs in Belgium, but I used to winter sow in containers from the Chinese take-away. They are from white plastic with a clear cover.
Last summer/autumn I started a new experiment. I sowed my seeds in vermiculite. Since the results were very promising I now winter sowed all my seeds in it. I bought 300 small containers for just $ 25. Usually I leave my containers outside, but since the vermiculite weighs hardly a few grams, I decided to place them in my unheated greenhouse, otherwise they will be blown away when we get heavy winds. But if you have no unheated greenhouse, you can place them outside if you cover them with something havy.
I also sowed some tender perennials/annuals indoors in vermiculite and already 12 species germinated. The advantage of sowing indoors in vermiculite is that I don't have to water them at all, and there is no mould and I can pile them up, so I need less space. Have to wait how all will work out, but until now I'm satisfied.
Jonna - Sorry for my poor wording. By "stretching my resources" I meant space to grow, room to plant that many varieties, etc. But you seem to have managed that very well with being about to stack your containers. I do have a little attached greenhouse but I keep it heated during the winter for some of the tropicals or tender varieties. The way you describe your set up, my little cold frame might just work next winter. Right now the cold frame has some shrub cuttings I did over a year ago. They were too small to plant out last year so I'm keeping them an extra year. They should be going into the ground in the spring. I like the idea of using vermiculite - much cheaper than buying expensive seed-starting mix.
As for growing conditions for the Primula, I thought they needed quite a bit of moisture in the soil. And I'm not sure if they could tolerate our hot, humid summers. What is your summer weather like?
Cindy, the Primula's need indeed a bit of moisture. Our summers are not so hot, usually between 68°F and 79°F
and enough rain. But last summer we had no rain at all for 6 weeks and temperatures were between 80°F and
86°F. The lack of rain toghether with the high temperatures killed 2 of my Primula's and the others had a very hard time, but they survived. I must say, we were not allowed to water the garden during a month, because the water here comes from wells and they were dried. We were only allowed to use water for cooking and drinking and we were allowed to take a short shower. The fine would be $ 700.00 if they catched us watering the garden, washing our car or cleaning our yard with water. We have 2 big containers where rainwater comes in (about 1700 liters or 450 gallons), but I needed that to water my young raised plants in containers and after a few weeks even that water was gone.
We also missed a lot of rain during the second half of the summer. I live about 15 miles from Lake Michigan where we get our city water and you'd think that we would get ample rainfall but some summers do get very dry. The heat was also in the 90's and very humid. Not very hospitable for Primulas. I now have 3 50 gallon rain barrels but they don't last very long without rain. I do have Primula vulgaris or common primrose. I started it from seed years ago and it does survive here and blooms very early. Very cheerful with it's pale yellow flowers.
Thank you for your compliment about my website :)
I love to get seeds of the Epimediums, but please be aware of the fact that they need to be shipped shortly after harvest and moist packed (best in vermiculite, but if you don't have that, just with a bit of dirt were the plants are).
Collecting seeds from Epimediums is not so easy. They drop off the plant while they're still greenish/yellow. You might
use organza baggies to collect them or put a small plastic bag under the plants, so you can collect the dropped seeds.
And I'm not only interested in the seeds of my want list. Every plant I can grow here and I don't already have seeds of is interesting to me.
I wonder if Epimediums cross-pollinate as readily as Aquilegias do. I have an Aquilegia plant that popped up on its own - a spurless medium rose color. Would seem that perhaps one of A. clematifolias crossed with something else.