An embarrassing question

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

I am very embarrassed to ask this, especially on a forum designed to help with those really exotic plants, but I am having trouble getting Calendula to germinate!

I have lots of Calendula started: wintersown milk jugs, indoor flats, outdoor big pots with glass over, and a big pot with no glass. I also have a big pot in a cold frame.

Is there a trick to this plant? I can believe I got some old seed in some trades, but not 5 or 6 different kinds! Plus some was commercial purchased this year.

The temps were in the 70s/50 nights last week and down to the 40s/upper 20s this week.

Suzy

Blyth, ON(Zone 5b)

Hi Suzy. How long has it been since you sowed them? I am starting some indoors under gro lights. I have two different ones - Victoria Sunset and Pacific Beauty, 18 of each, both from the same source. The Pacific Beauty started popping up within days and all but 3 have germinated. The Victoria Sunset, however, took 12 days for the first one to germinate, and the rest are very slowly following at about 1 more every 4 or 5 days.

I have also winter sown some Citrus Smoothies, but my containers are still under the snow so I don't know what kind of luck I'm going to have there yet.

--Ginny

Central, ME(Zone 5a)

Hi Suzy, You could also try direct seeding. My Calendulas reseed themselves so efficiently I have to pull some up. I don't know what variety they are, but they are an orange color. Once they are planted they are always there. I would be happy to send some seeds. Cyndie

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

I start my calendula indoors. I cover them lightly. Stokes seeds suggest total darkness, but mine sprouted under lights, sown about 1/8-1/4" deep. I think the 40F nights may be interfering with germination.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

We had a really wet fall last year and it was cool and all of my calendula seeds started sprouting on the flower before they fell so I didn't get to collect any seed, when I was trying to start them on the picnic table last spring I only got two out of a whole package and got very frustrated, this year I'm just going to pitch them when it starts raining in the spring after all the freezing weather of course lol

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Cyndie, Thanks for the offer, very generous of you, but I had more packages in my stash. :) Ginny, It's been a month or longer for them all, so I started more. It's good to know about the staggered germination, but I don't like it!!!! And Weezing, I'll take it as gospel about the temps and I just indoor sowed 3 more whole packages, this time of 'Radio', 'Indian Prince' and 'Citrus Smoothies'. I have 'Victoria Sunset', but I want to get this right before I sow them since I only have about a dozen seeds from a trade. And if all of the 3 pots I just did fail, too, I have 4 packs of 'Pacific Beauty Mix' and I'll throw them out on top of the ground ala LeBug! LOL! I just love Calendulas and I really wanted some!

Thanks for the help, ladies,
Suzy

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

As an update -- 2 of the 3 pots of the Calendula seed I sowed indoors under lights on March 16 just broke the surface this morning. YAY! It is interesting -- the darker centered ones must take longer or something; that's the one pot I wanted the most, and also the one that hasn't germinated yet.

Suzy

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

That last pot will germinate Suzy it's just teasing you lol

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

........as a matter of fact, I did my nightly checking and lo and behold! I have a sprout in the pot and a couple bumps. Luckily I noticed because I'll be busy and then gone tomorrow, and they (the pot) weren't under the lights far enough. It looks like I will have more Calendula than I'll know what to do with because I noticed the wintersown pots sprouted yesterday afternoon. That leaves the big containers that have no sprouts....I wonder why? I was going to have some big flowerpots of only Calendula -- nothing else in them and then when they get ratty looking in July, I will pull them out and slip some Zinnias in them.

Suzy

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

Suzy, don't get rid of your Calendula for the fall that's when mine started blooming the most I don't think they like the hot weather. Mine didn't like the hot weather so I put them under some other plants but when the fall came they went crazy!

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

That's good to know, Lea -- I think a lot of plants are like that, including pansies. I started a bunch of Clarkia/Godetia but they are very little. I think I would have been better off starting them in July to bloom in fall. Well, this is all new to me, so I have to expect a learning curve, right?

IO have to uncover 300 milk jugs today, only to cover them back up (maybe?) for next weekend when we're forecasted for low 30 degree temps at night. This is a huge time consuming chore and I'm not looking forward to it at all!

At this point, though, I have 100s of Calendulas, so I'm not sure how well I can hide them LOL!

Suzy

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

Why are you covering them up? Maybe you can sit them in the shade if they are germinated if they aren't I wouldn't cover them up. I had a few things germinate and I just sit them on the back porch they still get the morning sun for a couple of hours and then it's shade the rest of the day, you have a greenhouse don't you? If I had a greenhouse the ones that are germinated I would just sit in there until it rains then I would put them out if they need watering.

300 jugs! I have a lot more to go and inbetween transplanting from downstairs and a lot of other things I have to do I can't get the rest of mine planted, I need to get to work! lol I planted some pansies for this lady I know and think it was rather late cause they are only up a couple of inches, need to harden them off and get them outside, think I will start that right now lol

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

Here's my take on pansies -- I buy them in the fall, plant them in the ground, and wait for spring. They will bloom until a hard freeze and drop all their seed, too. Right now, and i can take a picture, but won't have time to post it, but right now, mine are a good 4 inches across with loads of blooms and buds. I did mulch them, but that's because I wanted it to look nice as much as for protection.

In the fall, when the weather starts to turn nasty, they go on sale for $1.99 a flat (for 18 - 4" pots) or 25c for a 6" pot and I load my car up, usually 2x! I also planted seed (direct sowed because the seed was old) last middle of July and those are also about 4" across, but don't have any flowers yet.

I think I got 5 flats and lots of baskets. The baskets outside all winter died, but the ones in the garage lived. I had them in the house and tried all kinds of things with them (that's how I know they drop their seeds, because they were all over the table!) Turns out the ones in the garage are all alive and well after I cut all the nasty stuff off. If I hadn't been real clever and moved them to the middleof the garage one day to catch some rays, I would have even more, but Mr. Clean ran over them with his big ole SUV. LOL!

Well, just like you were saying with the Calendula, the pansies don't really care for hot weather, either, so I am gong to get even more Calendula seed and try this July for fall bloom and possibly to stick around and bloom next spring.

Now, covering back up the milk jugs...I have to go through them and see which will be frost tender, but the forecast will be in the low, low 30s next Sun & Mon. We all know thatcan change for the better or worse, but I need to think about the milk jugs containing frost-tender perennials and annuals and see if they need to be covered up. Does that make sense? Not the Calendulas, but what's in the milk jugs. The Calendula I was going to try to hide planted in the beds, but I have too many to actually hide L0L!

That stupid greenhouse doesn't keep things warm, BTW. As far as I can tell I get a one or two degree break on the cold temperatures, and only if the sun had been shining the day before. Mr. Clean is not interested in letting me use a space heater because of the money.

I am running off to Chicago tonight and won't be back for a few days. Mr Clean is taking care of the babies. He's the best I can get with the wages I pay!

Suzy

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