Fall Started Perennial & Biennial Seeds

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I have wanted to start seeds in the fall and plant in the gardens early enough before first frost date. This way I will get blooms the following year.

When I research for seed germination information, it gives information of: 1. Sow weeks before first frost date (in spring) and 2. Sow at XX* temperature.

If seed is to be sown at 68 degrees suggested temperature, what if it's 90 degrees outside? Will the seed still germinate?

Does it matter how "warm" the environment is for seed to germinate?

Cross Timbers, MO(Zone 6a)

1. Your seeds will probably sprout, but might suffer from heat wilt.

2. When it's so hot you'll need to be vigilant to keep the soil moist.

3. Some of you seeds may need to go through stratification. Meaning they will have to go through freeze/thaw cycles to weaken the seed's shell so it can sprout.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

So, I guess what you are saying is the seeds will be okay as long as I keep them moist? I just think it would be easier than waiting and waiting for the soil temps to get to 68 degrees in the early spring.

I am not sowing any seeds that need stratification.

Thanks for your reply.

Cross Timbers, MO(Zone 6a)

Yes, however, if you have any seed that come some tender perennials and some annuals, the seed may not survive the winter if it gets too cold. And here in Missouri...you never know about that any more! I'd hate for you to sow all your seeds and only have a few come up next spring. Did you know that you can find the last frost date for your area here: http://davesgarden.com/guides/freeze-frost-dates/
Or you can find it in the black bar across the top, on the right of most DG pages.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Thanks itv. I had forgotten about the last frost date on Dave's Garden. I will check that out.
I am mostly wanting to get my seeds sown and in the ground before freezing. I may be too late. I am most interested in biennials.
BTW, where is Cross Timbers?

Cross Timbers, MO(Zone 6a)

25 Miles south of Warsaw, 80 miles north of Springfield on 65 hwy. Where is Jackson?

If they're biennials then they should be ok to plant now, as long as you keep the soil moist. One hot, dry day can wipe them all out.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

True on the moisture for the seeds. I will have to watch them.

Jackson is clear on the other side of the state. It's about 12 miles west of Cape Girardeau which is right on the Mississippi River. It's 100 miles south of St Louis. It's right along I 55.

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Year ago when I owned and operated a commercial greenhouse in Nebraska, I sowed seeds in late winter and early spring (veggies and annuals) then again in August (perennials) Never sowed directly since you have no control over them. Too many birds and squirrels looking for an easy meal. I sowed in seed trays with potting soil.

Perennials that were large enough to handle, were planted in my home built coldframe over the winter. Not for winter protection but from animals and to check hardiness. By spring, the plants were husky and ready to be potted up for sale. Most often they would bloom that summer.

1] My old method years ago. Now I do the Deno method in a moist paper towel.

Thumbnail by blomma
Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Thanks, Blomma for your expertise. I am trying some biennials and perennials this fall from seed. I hope to plant them out yet this fall. We shall see.

I have planted Siberian Wallflower, Dianthus, Iberis, Aubrieta, Aurinia saxatillis, & Digitalis.

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Has anyone here started some hardy hibiscus from seed?

I have just collected at least 100 seeds from my hardy hibiscus 'Summer Storm'. Has anyone grown hibiscus from seed? Will it come true. I do not know if this is a hybrid, or just a named variety gleaned from selected seed.

I am still going to start a few and see what happens. I would still gain from your experience, if you have grown this or a similar one from seed. Thank you.


Thumbnail by evelyn_inthegarden
Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Hi Evelyn,
Here's a few things I found when I researched Hibiscus seed germination:

According to Backyard Gardener, Hibiscus Seed needs 75 to 80 degree temps to germinate. They need scarification and soaking seeds in the beginning with hot water for 24 hours. Keep soaking untll they swell, then plant.

Another site says, Sow seeds immediately, viability is short and propagates best with fresh seed. "Stored seed may be coaxed into germination with temperature cycling and patience." Requires scarification-rub seeds between two sheets of sandpaper. Sow at 68 degrees and germinates within 3 months.

So, it sounds like soil temps. must be at least 68 degrees and 75 is probably even better. Also, I'm not sure fresh seeds need the soaking-I guess I would try some both ways. Hopefully, someone may have had experience with these seeds. You might want to make this a separate post. I get volunteer Hibiscus plants that come from seeds in my garden. I believe your Hibiscus species is: moscheutos and, of course, the cultivar is 'Summer Storm".
The above site says plant is sterile, or seed won't come true to parent plant.
Sounds challenging. Good luck.

Cross Timbers, MO(Zone 6a)

I have successfully started fresh Hibiscus seed shortly after they were ripe, the following fall. I filled ice cream buckets with regular potting mix, planted a seed about an inch deep and left them outside all winter, up against the north side of the house, made sure they stayed moist but not wet and the following spring, they all sprouted. I was truly surprised!

The ones I planted did come true to parent plant (I don't know what kind, dinner plate sized light pink blooms, turning white towards center with red eye, heart shaped leaves) though I am sure that not all Hibiscus will come true with all the hybridizing going on.

Good Luck!

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Read the thread you started on Hibiscus seeds. I go into detail there. I have hardy Hibiscus that I started from seed years ago. And, no, they don't come true from seed since they are hybrids. But very worth starting anyway.

Here is the link to your thread:


Here are the ones I am growing. Disco Belle and Southern Belle. Both are hardy even in my zone 4. Produce flowers 10" across. AWESOME!!!

This message was edited Sep 11, 2013 9:21 PM

Thumbnail by blomma
Cross Timbers, MO(Zone 6a)

I remember... Thanks to blomma. One of the ones I have is Southern Belle and it does come true to parent plant. Bloomed the first year the way I started them. I started with one, now I have 3 and I have sold at least ten 2 year old plants...in those little ice cream buckets.

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