Sowing delphinium seed - is fresh seed best?

Wanganui, New Zealand

There are a few "myths"or "urban legends" concerning the growing of delphiniums. These mostly relate to germination methods and the types of climate they will thrive in. So - let's dispel a few

First up - Is fresh seed best?

It is true that delphinium seed generally remains viable for a relatively short time, especially if stored at room temperature or warmer. It may lose 50% in 12 months this way. But if the seed is stored dry and cold in the frig under 4 Deg C (40 F) most varieties will remain viable for a couple of years. This was illustrated well when we had our main seedlines germination tested independently after a year in refrigeration and they were all above 75% and mostly above 80%.

So, always store your delphinium seed in the frig.

Further, when delphinium seed is stored at a relative humidity of around 45% at minus 20DegC (normal freezer temperature) the seed will last many, many years. In this way correctly stored seed sown shortly after removal from storage will perform better than fresh seed sown after just a few months of harvesting.

So, buy your seed from companies that store it correctly - not from the shelf in a warm store

Some delphinium varieties need a cold period before they will germinate well and are best not sown fresh. This was highlighted when I almost trashed a large batch of fresh seed (several thousand dollars worth) because of low germination. I didn't trash it but instead tried again some months later. It then germinated beautifully. Phew!!!

We sell seed year round according to germination rates experienced rather than date of harvest. We have and confidence in all the seed we sell.

Is fresh seed best? I guess it depends.

There is much more information on our web site here :

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