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Daisies "Alaska" planting information

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Went to HD to buy my MG potting mix today and saw they still had a good selection of flower figured I'd buy some Shasta Daisy(Alaska) The information on back of pkt. gives days to germination 14-21 Days to bloom 180-300 also states blooms second season from sowing. To me this means I should have planted them back in the fall? There's 352 days in a 180 days is almost 6 mo. Does this make sense? It shows it's a perennial. Duh! Are the starter plants you get at the garden center started that early?

Have you noticed how small the print is getting on these seed pkts? Almost need a manifying glass. Let's wage war against these seed companies!

"Sunray" coreopsis states it germinates in 15-20 days but days to bloom is 90-100 which is about 3 mo. so I might be okay to plant by last of April or first of May. It states it will have flowers the first year.

Pained Daisy(Pyrethrum) Germinates in14-21 days, days to bloom180-300 days, so I might not get any plants until late summer?

Galesburg, IL

Many perennials will not bloom until the second season if they are planted outside just after your frost free date (April-May). I usually start my perennials from seed starting about Mid-January, and will step them up from a 128 plug flat into deep 804 trays/ yogurt cups or into 1.5x 6 inch plant bands. They'll stay in them until planted out sometime in May/early June. If you start your seeds in the next month, you should be able to get some blooms from all three of the above mentioned varieties this year.

And yes, most of the "starter plants" you find in the stores are started about this time of year, or even earlier depending on the species of flower.

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

During the 80's I owned and operated a commercial greenhouse in Nebraska. I started most perennials to be sold from seed in August. Once they were large enough to transplant, I replanted them in a coldframe. They remained there until the following spring. They were then potted in 3" pots and sold.

I have started many of my own plants this way here in WY. By spring, these seedlings are husky plants that bloomed during their normal season. I think these seedlings of hardy perennials actually need a dormant season to mature them into blooming the following year.

I have also started perennials during early spring. They would not bloom until the following year. Meanwhile, I had to care for them a whole summer so easier and less time-consuming to sow in late summer or fall.

Edited to add that I started Penstemon grandiflorus 'Esprit Mix' (Parks Seed Co.) on 2/17/09. They required stratification for 3 weeks. They were potted up, then potted in the garden early June. Surprisingly, they began blooming in August. Continued until frost.

This message was edited Feb 8, 2010 6:49 PM

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Here is the colors in the Pestemon seed mix. Beautiful! Blooms much larger than other varieties of Penstemons.

Thumbnail by blomma
Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

(Oh, I thought there were 365 days in a year...i know, picky, picky!)
It seems as though most perennials would be better to be sown in fall, and left out, if one does not have a greenhouse, then potted up in the spring or transplanted into beds. If I did sow them in summer, I would have to pay strict attention to the watering. if sown in late fall, I could sow them in flats, and have them winter over, then in spring pot them up, and grow them on 'til a good size before planting out the following fall or early spring. What is the general rule for perennials? I know those are the directions for biennials.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

BEAUTIFUL Pestemon Blomma!!

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)


There are some shastas that bloom the first year. I started a lot of shastas last spring that bloomed all summer.

Southeastern, NH(Zone 5b)

Just wanted to see if you got an answer. Looks like you already have good answers here.
My experience with growing perennials from seed that are said to bloom the first year is that they always disapoint me the first year - but they always do wonderfully the second year. The only exception I can think of off the top of my head is Verbena bonariensis, but that hasn't proven perennial for me so far. I grow it as an annual. I think the confusion about the amount of days to bloom you are having is because they are only counting the active growing days of the plant. That is how I always took it anyway.
When I say disapoint me I mean things like out of 36 plants one or two get a few flowers that are way smaller than how the plant blooms when mature. And the fact that they usually bloom in late summer or even sometimes take until the week of the first frost. I made a little record of my experiences with lots of the claimed 'first year flowering perennials'. So if you want more details on which I've tried I can look it up.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

OK, Meridith,

Yes we (I) would like the details....first year from seed? When did you start them and when did you transplant them to the garden??


Southeastern, NH(Zone 5b)

I grew Shasta Daisies in 08 and 09. I know I started them Mid March in 09, in hopes that I'd see some first year blooms from them, because I didn't the year before. I am not sure exactly when they got planted out but most likely sometime in June because that is when I do most of my planting. Due to the chance of frost up to the end of May. Neither year did I see even one flower from them. They were two different types. I have heard they flower the first year though so perhaps the variety you have is specially selected for first year flowering. However even if you get flowers they probably won't be as impressive as they will be there second year. So remember that before you give up and rip them out lol : ) Now I'm not sure how long your growing season is there but mine is only about 120 days the shortest and I would say a very good year I get 150-175 days. Maybe you can look up how long your average growing season is or figure it out by the average last spring frost and the average first fall frost. As you can see my growing season is just shy of the minimum 180 days they say on the package, however I did start them indoors in March so that added about 60 days to how long they were actively growing. Shasta Daisies are also quite tolerant of frost and kept green after the first few light frosts here. So lets see... my seedlings grew for about 200 or so days and I didn't see a flower on them. I can give you some experiences I've had with other plants as well. Just l.m.k if you want me to. : )
Oh and I have found a trick the seed companies use to claim perennials as first year flowering is the fact that if you grow them in june of this year then you will see flowers on them june the second year. A good example of this is if you look at the first year flowering perennials on T&M website and click on the growing info - a lot of times it says 'sow in fall for blooms the first year.' So really you can't start them in spring and get flowers - see how tricky they can be?

Norfolk, VA(Zone 8a)

I had leftover Shasta seeds from 2 years ago. I put 6 in a miost paper towel in a ziplock baggie to test the vitality. They all sprouted. I hate killing anything so I potted them in 4" pots. They grew all Summer on the light stand. (Everything else on the stand was summering outdoors.) By fall everyone was large multi-clumps, which were put out in the garden. I am sure they will be lovely this Spring. It's as easy as that to grow them!

Southeastern, NH(Zone 5b)

Yes that was my experience too, they were very easy and grew into large clumps before frost but they waited the winter to return and flower in June. : )

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Great! Anyone here have a "White Daisy Garden"? I just dismantled mine, since only a few of them grew at the same time.

Years ago, White Flower Farm advertised a "White Daisy Garden"...and at the time..."cannot ship to CA" was listed on most of the flowers in there. So that motivated me to do just that, and get all of those plants in there as well. I did get a succession of bloom, but not the first or second year, as the deer ate them down, and there were SO many weeds, I had to dig it all up each time, as I could not find the daisies for the weeds....boltonia, shastas of many varieties, different kinds of asters, and any plant that was a "white daisy", including erigeron! Eventually we got a deer fence, and I weeded assiduously for a couple of years in there. Still, there were white daisies, including some wild daisies a friend gave me from the MG's.

Has anyone here tried one??

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

I successfully grew shastas from seed last summer and had lots of blooms. I started them on February 1. Here is a picture from the moongarden that I planted. The shastas bloomed all summer long. I was very pleased, and am starting more this year.

This picture was taken July 25, 2009.

Thumbnail by pennefeather
Perham, MN(Zone 3b)

Just wanted to add a little something about "Alaska" cultivar: I grew this in central North Dakota and had no problems whatever getting plenty of plants germinated. And I planted lots of them out: too many to deadhead effectively. And I had toddlers at the time, which means you're busier than you thought, all the time. Result: daisies daisies everywhere. In the lawn, in the vegetables, *everywhere,* and tough as nails. Caveat emptor: Alaska daisies are gorgeous, vigorous, and reproduce readily. Heads up.

One thing about growing perennials from seed, is that you have to be patient. Put them in the garden and let other stuff entertain you for the summer. If you get a "preview" this year, count your blessings! Next year you will be so happy! I'm growing English delphiniums from seed this year, and have started them early enough that *maybe* I'll see what colors I get before frost. But maybe not. Still - if I'd done it last year, I'd be that much further along now. It'll be worth it...

Southeastern, NH(Zone 5b)

I forgot that DG has a frost date chart now, it's really cool, you put your zip in and it tells you your average growing season - if anyone isn't sure it is a great way to figure it out.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

And aren't they beautiful....all those daisies. I have the wild ox-eye daisies , too if anyone needs any. I will be growing the 'Crazy Daisy' this year. Anyone love 'em or hate 'em?

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Guess the instruction on the pkts as to days till germination is for direct sowing. Started 1/10 and still no sign of sprouts. I did plant some Alaska daisies I think! Yep, just looked at my recods..two jugs..I did no count any of my seeds as I sowed them, can't be bothered with that, so probably if they germinated will have a lot of HOS to plant.

McLean, VA(Zone 6b)

I bought some more seeds yesterday, and looked at a lot of different packages before purchasing the same ones as last year. Not all packages says that they bloom the first year. The brand that I have is from Aimers, and it does state that they bloom the first year. A couple of brands said that they bloom the second year

Southeastern, NH(Zone 5b)

I got a pack of the 'Alaska' type free with one of my seeds orders. Even though I've already started them two years in a row I was thinking about starting them just to see if they'll bloom the first year. : )

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Thank all of you who replied about Alaska shasta daisies..I must admit that I didn't read on the back of the pkg of seeds from Ferry-Morse Seed Co. After reading all of your replies, I dug out the empty seed pkt. and it clearly states that it blooms second year from sowing. Oh well, 2011 will be something to look forward to. I have an letter size envelope of seeds I pulled from my neighbor's daisies last year that have been there for many years, so I'm going to sow them this week in cups since I have no more jugs. Hopefully they will bloom for me this summer. There are a lot of interesting information learned from these gardening websites and some awfuly nice gardeners, always willing to pass along their knowledge and experience and that's a good thing!

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

I have sown the variety 'Crazy Daisy' and prefer it over the others. No flower are exactly the same.

If you purchase seeds of this one, only buy from a seed company. It is a hybrid and will not come true from open pollinated garden seeds. I bought from Park Seed Co.

Below is Crazy Daisy growing in my garden

Thumbnail by blomma
Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Closeup. By the way, care, culture and germination method is the same as for other in this genus.

Thumbnail by blomma
Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Even though my pkt. states that the seeds will bloom second season after sowing..the fact that I've WS them outdoors, could it be possible that I could get some blooms this year? My neighbor allowed me to pick seeds from her daisies last year, if I were to plant them now, do you think they might bloom? I have a white letter envelope full that I picked from her plants last Fall. I'm going to try them anyhow. What do I have to lose but some seeds?

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