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Growing Coral Bells (Heuchera) from seed

Holladay, UT(Zone 5a)

Has anyone here ever grown Coral Bells (Heuchera) from seed? I have several different varieties, and have easily gathered the seeds, but I've never had any of them grow. I'm doing something wrong and would really love some help!

Natalie

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

Natalie,

I've grown several Heuchera species with good germination.
I always winter sow them and sow them on the surface, because they need light to germinate

Jonna

Holladay, UT(Zone 5a)

Thanks Jonna! I was planting them in the Spring and covering them! Makes sense why it never worked! Have you ever put them in the freezer then started them under grow lights?

Natalie

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

Natalie, I never put them in the freezer or started them under grow lights.
I prefer the natural way. I don't know in what climate zone you live, but I suppose your USDA zone is colder than mine. I'm in zone 6.
Cold hardy plants in your zone will germinate well if you winter sow them. That's how it happens in nature.
If you don't know how to winter sow, see http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/wtrsow/
or
http://www.wintersown.org/

I only sow tropical annuals indoors, but I never use grow lights.

Jonna

Holladay, UT(Zone 5a)

Hi Jonna, I just noticed that you are from Belgium! It's been fun meeting people on here from all over the world!

I'm in zone 5, and need to figure out how to add that to my name. I'll figure that out in a bit.

I've never grown tropical annuals either, but maybe I'll give that a try one day. I hybridized my daylilies for the first time last year, and started the seeds indoors under grow lights. They did okay, but they were a little on the small side. I was just so anxious to make sure they survived, as the winters where I live can be pretty bad, and I also wanted to baby them along! They did so much better after I potted them up and put them outside! Next year I think I'll sow half of them them directly in the garden and the other half inside, and see which method is best.

I've never had any Coral Bells grow from seed in my garden on their own. I'm positive that many seeds have fallen or been blown around by the wind, so I'm wondering if maybe they are just hard to get started where I live. I'm going to try winter sowing them this year. Do you put your seeds in pots, or just scatter them on the ground? They are the tiniest seeds I've ever seen! No need to answer as I can always look at the links you sent.

Thanks so much for your help, and it's been nice meeting you!

Natalie

Holladay, UT(Zone 5a)

Jonna, I just wanted to thank you again for your help. I loved the second link that you sent! I'm going to try this myself! It's sounds almost too easy, and I always need something to do during the cold winter months, so this will be perfect!

Natalie

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

Natalie, I suppose you're question about how to winter sow the Coral Bells is answered by the second link: in containers. If anything is not clear, feel free to ask me more information.

Jonna

Holladay, UT(Zone 5a)

Hi Jonna,

I was planting some seeds in pots, and thought I'd go ahead and plant some coral bell seeds too, just to see what happened. I'm happy to report that I've got lots of little plants growing! I was saving all of them to winter sow, since my husband has decided that he'll build me a small green house, but it was worth trying. I'm so excited to see seedlings!

No need to respond. I just wanted to share my happiness with you! I plan on growing lots more this winter!

Natalie

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

Natalie, it makes me happy to hear the Coral bells germinated well. And I'm happy you let me know.

In general seeds must be sowed as deep as their size. Very small seeds (like Coral bells) need light to germinate. There are always exceptions, because some bigger seeds need also light to germinate.

It's my pleasure to help you with my (limited) knowledge of sowing seeds. So if you ever have questions about sowing seeds, let me know, I might be able to help you.

Jonna

Bloomington, IN(Zone 6a)

Natalie, I started some Heuchera Americana 'Marvelous Marbles' last year indoors. As I remember, the seed needed to be at 50 degrees for several weeks. I put them in the basement and about half germinated. The sprout is TIIIINNNYYY!!! Planted one out - I lost the other 2 in the mad spring rush - and it grew weakly for about 2 months and died. Sorry I don't have better news, but that's what happened!

Holladay, UT(Zone 5a)

sherriseden, I just planted mine outside, and they are growing. I've seen more than one place that they need to be at 50 degrees, but apparently this isn't set in stone, since I've only had about 5 nights with that temp since sowing the seeds, and they are growing great! I'm positive that I didn't mix the seeds up and plant something else in that pot, so they don't always have to be at 50 degrees for several weeks!

Jonna, you made me laugh when you said you have limited knowledge! You are a seed genius!

Natalie

Edinboro, PA(Zone 5a)

Where are the seeds in coral bells? In the tall flower stalk?

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

Yes, the seeds are in the tall flower stalk. Let the pods turn brown and gently cut the stalks and put them in a paper bag. Shake them and the very small seeds will fall in the bag.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Jonna,
I have several varieties or heucheras like ginger ale, blackberry crisp, miracle, etc. Will they come true from seed? I thought they wouldn't and have been deadheading them instead of saving the seeds.

Büllingen, Belgium(Zone 6b)

roserairie, most cultivars won't come true from seed, but you can give it a try to see what plants you get. They are quite easy to germinate and to grow.
But until you're sure they will come true, I advise you not to trade those seeds, or to tell the people you're not sure they will come true.
The Heuchera's I have are no cultivars and come true.




Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Jonna, that's what I thought. I'll try some seeds and see what happens.Thanks for the advice

Somewhere in, MD(Zone 7b)

I'd like to thank y'all too, for this discussion and the questions answered. This has decided me to collect some seeds at work today and try my hand at them this Winter with winter sowing. (I'd been wondering what I was gonna WS this winter!) =)

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Quote from JonnaSudenius :
In general seeds must be sowed as deep as their size. Very small seeds (like Coral bells) need light to germinate. Jonna


When it states that seeds need light for germination, all it means is to surface sow, not light literally. Tiny seeds could never make it to the surface if covered. They would use up the nutrients stored in the seed to tie them over long before they reached the surface. I have never come across a mideum or large seeds that does not need to be covered. They have enough nutrients stored for them to reach the surface.

I have sown Coral Bells sprinkled on fine moist peatmoss. I use fine cut peatmoss for all tiny seeds. For larger seeds---if in doubt---make a furrow and sow the seeds into it. Push the soil up against the side of the seeds and you will have the best of both worlds. Coral Bells need stratification (moist cold) so into the fridge they go, peatmoss and all for 2 weeks.

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