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Seed Germination: What seeds can I sow now?

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Forum: Seed GerminationReplies: 4, Views: 81
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April 11, 2012
9:29 PM

Post #9079160

Hello everyone!
This is Mouli (Chandramouli) from India. I am a garden enthusiast (DUH! :D). Anyways, there's this lovely friend of mine who brought me seeds from Germany but the problem is I am not sure as to when to sow them. The instructions in it says sow during spring, but Spring in India and Germany and other western countries is different. Spring in this part of India (South - Chennai) is very hot. The temperature right now is 81 deg. F (27 deg. C) and can get to a maximum of 93 deg. F (34 deg. C). See? That's really hot for temperate zones, but just the beginning of warm weather for us - tropical dwellers.

All the websites that I see suggest that I sow them when the temp. is around 70 deg F. Here's the list of seeds that I have. I'd really appreciate if someone can tell me which ones I can sow now. A quick reply would be really great as I don't have much time. Because almost no seeds germinate during May heat as the soil dries up quickly (btw, I use coco peat, which retains moisture for long even in this heat).

Zinnia (I think I might have success with this. What do you say?)
King Protea
Rocky Mountain Columbine (I have these in refrigerator for over a year now - read somewhere that it needs cold stratification and so waiting for expert's advice as to when to sow these)
Dwarf Cockscomb
Pale Conflower (Echinacea pallida)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Mariposita (Schizanthus grahamii)
Cistus x cyprius var. ellipticus
Muscari comosum
Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia)
Meadow rue (Thalictrum rochebrunianum)
Common Violet (Viola odorata)
Sturt's Pea (Swainsona formosa)
Coral Pea (Kennedya Beckxiana)
Romulea amoena
Trumpet Lily (Lilium regale)
Turk's Cap Lily (Lilium martagon) - these need alternating warm and cold temps. so do I wait till the heat is gone or can I start them now?
Hemp-Leaved Hollyhock (Althaea Cannabina)
Evening Star (Mentzelia decapetala)

Muskmelon (Cucumis melo)
Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana)
Wild Strawberry 'Temptation' (Fragaria vesca)
Garden Strawberry

(I am a fan of strawberries and am obsessed with growing them from seeds. I'd be oh-so grateful if someone can tell me when I can start these. What's the maximum temp. that the seeds would germinate in? I have like three seed packets of the Garden strawberries)

If possible I'd appreciate if you can say which seeds need light.

Thanks a ton for all in advance :)
(I envy you all spring gardeners - in a good way though :))

(Zone 6b)

April 12, 2012
8:56 AM

Post #9079626

Hi Mouli,

To be able to answer your questions, please let me know what the average temperatures are in your region during spring, summer, autumn and winter. Do you ever get frost? The most important thing to know is what the lowest temperature is in your region. Some of the seeds you mentioned need a cold period.

Kind regards,



April 12, 2012
10:02 AM

Post #9079696

Hi Jonna, here's the temperature info:

Jan - 66 to 84 F
Feb - 68 to 87 F
Mar - 71 to 91 F
Apr - 78 to 95 F
May - 82 to 100 F
Jun - 80 to 100 F
Jul - 78 to 96 F
Aug - 78 to 95 F
Sep - 77 to 93 F
Oct - 75 to 89 F
Nov - 71 to 84 F
Dec - 69 to 84 F

The maximum temperatures mentioned aren't always the same - mostly it's a 2 to 5 deg. less than that. Moreover the summers are humid too. Hope that would help.

We don't get any frost at all. Only in the mountains up in the north (Himalayas) does it snow. Our climate is more or less like that in Florida in US. About the cold period, I can move them to refrigerator, like the Martagon Lily.

(Zone 6b)

April 13, 2012
12:52 PM

Post #9081136


I can't tell you about all the seeds you want to sow, because some of them I can't grow here, because it's too cold here.
But I suppose those ones you can sow them anytime in your region.

The following seeds need a cold period in your region:

Rocky Mountain Columbine (I have these in refrigerator for over a year now - read somewhere that it needs cold stratification and so waiting for expert's advice as to when to sow these) - try to sow these now. It would help if you can find a bit colder shaded spot to let them germinate.
Pale Conflower (Echinacea pallida)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Muscari comosum
Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia)
Meadow rue (Thalictrum rochebrunianum)
Common Violet (Viola odorata)
Trumpet Lily (Lilium regale)
Turk's Cap Lily (Lilium martagon)these need alternating warm and cold temps. so do I wait till the heat is gone or can I start them now? - sow these in the fridge now for at least 8 weeks and bring them outside than.
Hemp-Leaved Hollyhock (Althaea Cannabina)
Wild Strawberry 'Temptation' (Fragaria vesca) (this is a very hard one to germinate in your region, it needs a long cold period and I doubt you can grow this one with succes)
Garden Strawberry

The other ones in in your mail can be sowed now.

Almost all the ones that need some cold are not so easy to grow in your region. I suggest that you sow them in shade and keep the seedlings out of the hot afternoon sun. But to be honest, some of the seeds you got won't grow in your region, like the Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia) and the Viola odorata. It's simply too hot.

If you have enough seeds of the Mariposita (Schizanthus grahamii), I would like to trade with you. Please have a look at my website to see if there is something that interests you.

Kind regards,



Casper, WY
(Zone 4a)

May 7, 2012
10:19 PM

Post #9115102

Mouli, this may help you with the seeds that need coldness to sprout. It is how I do all my seeds, including daylily seeds.

Photo #1
Sprouted daylily seedling in a kitchen towel just prior to planting.

BEGIN BY SOAKING SEEDS OVER NIGHT IN HAND HOT WATER. This will plump up and soften the seedcoat.

I use a damp kitchen paper towel, cut in half and moistened. Squeeze out the excess water. Fold it in half. Place the seeds in a corner and fold one end over the seeds. Place this package in a small ziplock bag and zip it, leaving a small opening to blow air into the bag to fill like a balloon. Once filled, zip it closed. Place in fridge crisper for 3 weeks to stratify the seeds. After 2 weeks, check to see if any have begun to sprout, which sometimes they do. After 3 weeks, move to room temp to germinate.

Sprouting time depends on variety. At this point, check the seeds several times during the week, starting after the 3rd day. As soon as seeds have formed a radical (tiny roots forming) with a tweezer grasp the seed casing of those and transfer to seed flat or pot. Make a hole with a pencil and guide the root into the hole. Plant so the seed is 1/4" below the surface, 1" or more, apart. Be sure to place roots downwards in the hole. If the roots have grown into the paper towel, just tear around the roots and plant it. Do not try to remove the roots from the paper. The paper will eventually rot.

Until the sprouted seeds have broken through the soil, they do not need light. However, once they do, grow them in a sunny window, under light, or place the flat outside in a protected area if weather is warm.

When the seedlings are large enough to handle, pot them in a 3" pot. I use the 3" foam cups made for coffee. A screwdriver will easily punch drainage holes. The cups are cheap to buy at Walmart, or if used, save them from work.

Skip the fridge if seeds don't need coldness to sprout. As far as light, small or tiny seeds should be sown top of soil (surface sown) and not covered. That is all "require light" means. It isn't referring to actual light, just not cover seed. If covered, they would never make it. Larger seeds needs to be covered.

This method will work with Rocky Mountain Columbine and Echinacea purpurea. It is how I did it. If stored properly (in fridge) most seeds will be viable for years.

When it states to sow spring, sow seeds in the coolest month in your country. That would be January.

By the way, your written English is very good.

Edited to add that the photo is of daylily seeds that sprouted in kitchen paper towel, just prior to planting.

This message was edited May 7, 2012 10:21 PM

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